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Lakenheath F-15's in Airprox with parachutists.

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Lakenheath F-15's in Airprox with parachutists.

Old 12th Sep 2019, 11:14
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Lakenheath F-15's in Airprox with parachutists.

Link from the BBC. Airprox report linked in the text.

Cheers
TO

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-49664560
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Old 12th Sep 2019, 12:44
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Col Will Marshall, 48th Fighter Wing commander, said UK airspace was "incredibly complex and often congested"
Looks like a lame excuse...
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Old 12th Sep 2019, 13:58
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Apparently report states that the parachutists

Could have opened their chutes to slow their decent.
get real air prox
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Old 12th Sep 2019, 15:53
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Originally Posted by Fly Aiprt View Post
Looks like a lame excuse...
And some US airspace is THE most incredibly complex and most congested on the planet.

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Old 13th Sep 2019, 07:06
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I was once underflown by a flight of F16s while I was below 800 feet on finals to Marathon, in the Florida Keys. Air traffic acknowledged their presence only after I had reported them.

As an Vet I have worked with the US Military on many occasions and they are the only people who have ever frightened me.
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Old 13th Sep 2019, 07:21
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I could be wrong, but...

There appears to be a subtext, from the posts so far, that the USAF crews were clowns and should have known better.

I will stick my hand up as a fellow FJ aviator and say it looks like an honest mistake in what really is very cluttered airspace.

They were under IFR and receiving a service so, despite local knowledge, I think they can be excused for the error. I think ATC, despite mitigating circumstances, are equally culpable.

We donít always have to jumpy on Johnny Foreigner and make out we are so much better than them. Besides, have any British crews ever gone overseas and made mistakes due to inadequate local knowledge?

I suggest this Airprox is a timely wake up call and not really a major story. No harm, no foul.

BV
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Old 13th Sep 2019, 09:50
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For full report see: https://www.airproxboard.org.uk/uplo...%202019077.pdf

Not quite as bad as one of our RAFC QFIs who, in his brief time on Buccs, was startled to see an object dropping out of the sky in front of his formation. "F... me, what's that?" he thought - whereupon said object sprouted a parachute and revealed itself to be a Land Rover, shortly followed by various other bits of pongo kit on parachutes!
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Old 13th Sep 2019, 09:58
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I applaud the proactive attitude of the folk at Chatteris, informing those other units around them of their activities. Such a shame others do not follow the same procedures.
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Old 13th Sep 2019, 10:44
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The "incredibly complex" statement needs to be seen and understood in the context of international airspace regulations and practices. Taking the UK-blinkers off for a moment you have to question the wisdom of what has become routine and why the Board failed to mention some basic fundamentals - and yes, I have been a Board member.

Class G airspace is defined by ICAO. Fundamentally it is uncontrolled airspace, with shared usage, no requirement for ATC or, when flown VFR, no requirement for a radio to even be fitted. The 'see and avoid' principle reigns supreme with encouragement to use an ATC traffic service where available and appropriate. The F-15 crews met or exceeded all requirements.

The "incredibly complex and congested" part of UK airspace is that you can be happily flying at medium level in open airspace and have groups of people ballistically descending through your flightpath. These people-shaped objects are quite heavy, are sometimes strapped together, have no radios, transponder, TCAS, lights or any meaningful ability to alter their flight path.

The Board, correctly in my view, has formally acknowledged that the pilots were unlikely to see ballistic people and take avoiding action. This is quite a change from Boards that I have sat on who often opined that see-and-avoid was possible and that aircraft should therefore give-way to parachutists.

So the big in-your-face question mark is the regulatory wisdom of allowing uncontrolled objects/people to ballistically descend through unprotected airspace. The tone of the Airprox Board is that aircrew should avoid such areas. Well, guess what, aircrew do just that when the activity is surrounded by protected airspace. But this activity was not taking place within protected / restricted airspace.

Buried in the AIP somewhere is a statement to the effect that the mere listing of a drop zone does not imply any right to a parachutist to use that DZ. Military Free Fall parachuting takes the view that NOTAM'ed restricted airspace or operations in dedicated danger areas are more appropriate methods of achieving safe separation. Civilian parachuting cloaks itself in the hope that pilots will avoid bits of otherwise open airspace that may or may not have parachutists zipping through it.

Nothing here is new. Over 20 years ago I was part of a pair recovering to Marham, operating intermittent IMC at around FL110 under Radar Advisory when we nearly hit 2 men, one of which was dressed as a clown. What is new is that there has been a massive growth in sports parachuting in the UK, operating in Class G airspace, yet unable to comply with the rules of the air. Covering the UK charts with an overlapping blanket of advisories and potential aviation activity information provides no meaningful measure of safety.

This soap-box is slippy, so stepping off now.

Last edited by Just This Once...; 13th Sep 2019 at 11:13.
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Old 13th Sep 2019, 11:09
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I'd love to see the video, it must be out there somewhere....
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Old 13th Sep 2019, 17:49
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In reply to Justthisonce, active sites GA/parachuting/gliding are marked as such on aviation maps, generally the military avoid them because A) they are aware and logistically it makes no sense for introduce potential conflict and B) A FJ doing 300 knots in non-advisory, Vfr mode is unlikely to visually acquire a thermalling glider as it transitions from head-on to side in the turn in time to take avoiding action.
I've been on both sides of the coin having unwittingly flown through Sibson whilst it was active, my bad, I assumed that the low cloudbase and wind would have precluded parachuting. I got a call from a third party, rang Sibson and apologised, no harm, no foul but my bad.
I've also just come off the winch at 800ft at the Mynd and found myself in albeit brief formation with 4 or 5 hawks, again call to Valley, error acknowledged and very apologetic. Suspect this was a Navex that went slightly astray, all I saw was Hawks suddenly going vertical and disappearing into cloud. Winch operator was more concerned than I as he saw them briefly and thought they were below me, i.e. potential tow cable conflict.

I'm not disagreeing that UK airspace is busy but F-15's have enough autonomous guidance that this should have alerted the pilots (assuming their software is correctly updated). As a GA pilot, I wouldn't dream of pottering down the mach loop because of the potential conflict.
I've got to disagree with the board's decision, yes they couldn't have seen them and be expected to take avoiding action, however prevention is better than cure and they should not have been in that airspace period. IMO, there is enough non-restricted airspace that the FJ's could have avoided this without compromising their mission.
We've had enough mid-air's where it was just wrong place, wrong time without multiplying the factors by flying through known active sites.
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Old 13th Sep 2019, 22:27
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'' should not have been in that airspace period"
- That will be the Class G airspace you speak of. Please see above.

These parachutists are leaping through airspace that is not reserved for their personal use. The aviation charts are littered with advisory information about potential activity and in the southern part of the UK at typical FJ speeds you are never more than a minute or so from one or more of them.

I have dangled under silk, operated GA, gliders, FJ and ME aircraft (plus rotary in the test world) and sat on the Airprox Board. I remain uncomfortable that there are no effective barriers to prevent an aircraft at medium level striking people committed to a ballistic path. If the next incident happens to be an collision with say a 737, can we really sit back and say we didn't foresee the risk?


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Old 14th Sep 2019, 09:45
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Accepted that class G airspace isn't exclusive, however I still believe it would have been prudent to avoid that area.

I accept that operating an FJ at 300kts in relatively congested airspace creates it's own problems, I agree with your last statement entirely, there is a clear risk and I see no easy way of mitigating that without impacting GA.

I would say that Class G airspace is a lottery with no winners, it's ridiculous that I could be thermalling, potentially in cloud with no transponder and sharing the same airspace with a FJ doing 500ft a second. I was constantly on the radio on Mynd frequency advising my (approx.) location and height so that other gliders know it's a stuffed cloud and I always believed that was sufficient, I was reassured listening to other gliders advising that they were in the same thermal albeit at a different height, if I got uncomfortable I advised that I was taking a constant heading at x altitude, got visual again and looked for another opportunity, it wasn't worth the risk.

That doesn't work with FJ's, it isn't worth the risk because as you say it will happen because the odds are lowering as sport aviation is on the increase.
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Old 14th Sep 2019, 10:15
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Originally Posted by Momoe View Post
Accepted that class G airspace isn't exclusive, however I still believe it would have been prudent to avoid that area.

I accept that operating an FJ at 300kts in relatively congested airspace creates it's own problems, I agree with your last statement entirely, there is a clear risk and I see no easy way of mitigating that without impacting GA.

I would say that Class G airspace is a lottery with no winners, it's ridiculous that I could be thermalling, potentially in cloud with no transponder and sharing the same airspace with a FJ doing 500ft a second. I was constantly on the radio on Mynd frequency advising my (approx.) location and height so that other gliders know it's a stuffed cloud and I always believed that was sufficient, I was reassured listening to other gliders advising that they were in the same thermal albeit at a different height, if I got uncomfortable I advised that I was taking a constant heading at x altitude, got visual again and looked for another opportunity, it wasn't worth the risk.

That doesn't work with FJ's, it isn't worth the risk because as you say it will happen because the odds are lowering as sport aviation is on the increase.
​​​​​​ Not sure how many FJ fly around as slow as 300kts. We certainly didn't, unless we were on the tanker or climbing.

Agree with everything JTO says. Far too many think they can do what and when they like with no care about other users. In the military we practice Airmanship - there are too many out there who seem to be unaware of this concept. Similarly, 100+ gliders flooding an area, on one occasion recently with no notice when they changed their competition route just before launch and didn't bother updating anyone. I'm not sure these sites would be all that impressed with a few dozen aircraft from elsewhere hanging around in their overhead effectively denying them or anyone else access to the airspace.

If you regularly para drop somewhere, why not apply to obtain exclusive airspace rather than it remain open but one is advised not to fly there, which is nonsense to me.
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Old 14th Sep 2019, 13:16
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Originally Posted by just another jocky View Post
​​​​​​ In the military we practice Airmanship - there are too many out there who seem to be unaware of this concept.
Just not the kind of airmanship that involves not flying through parachute and gliding sites that are clearly marked on the map? Copy.

​​​​​​
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Old 14th Sep 2019, 14:46
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Originally Posted by Ewan Whosearmy View Post
Just not the kind of airmanship that involves not flying through parachute and gliding sites that are clearly marked on the map? Copy.

​​​​​​
I make no excuses for foreign forces.

​​​​​​Copy?!? Where are you from?
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Old 14th Sep 2019, 14:51
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Originally Posted by just another jocky View Post
I make no excuses for foreign forces.

​​​​​​Copy?!? Where are you from?
Oh, so you mean in the *British* military? No other aviation community in the world knows what airmanship is, or practices it?

Forget about what I sound like or where I'm from.Try listening to yourself for a minute or two.
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Old 14th Sep 2019, 15:13
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Originally Posted by Ewan Whosearmy View Post
Just not the kind of airmanship that involves not flying through parachute and gliding sites that are clearly marked on the map? Copy.

​​​​​​
If everyone tries to apply airmanship there's less likely to be an accident when someone makes a mistake. If you're safety strategy is to rely on someone else's airmanship you've only got one layer of cheese and you don't have any control over it.
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Old 14th Sep 2019, 16:34
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I seem to remember a Hawk vs Paraglider near miss that happened fairly recently?
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Old 14th Sep 2019, 19:03
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Originally Posted by Ewan Whosearmy View Post
Oh, so you mean in the *British* military? No other aviation community in the world knows what airmanship is, or practices it?

Forget about what I sound like or where I'm from.Try listening to yourself for a minute or two.
All I said was..... The rest is you.
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