An incident that occurred between an aircraft and an unidentified object in Newcastle’s airspace last November has been investigated by the UK Airprox Board. The report that was released details this occurrence.
At precisely 1 pm on the 16th of November, an RAF Atlas aircraft crew noticed a fast-moving object pass down their right side while they were soaring over Currock Hill in Tyne and Wear. This four-engine turboprop military transport plane had been traveling through the sky and came across this extraordinary sighting.
When the crew initially thought the object was a drone, it flew across their windows of the flight deck – only inches away from its wing tip.
While the crew was engaged in a training drill, they noticed an object of about two to three feet in diameter shaped like a doughnut. It featured a hollow center and had a dark hue.
The UK Airprox board concluded that the event took place at a high altitude, and based on the physical description of the object. “were such that they were unable to determine the nature of the unknown object”.
The board’s report also concluded that “providence had played a major part in the incident and/or a definite risk of collision had existed”.
The Board alerted that the incident had an immense potential for a collision, as there were moments where the two aircraft’s distance was only less than one foot.
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The board explained the events: “The Atlas pilot reports they had just completed instrument approach training at Newcastle and were climbing out to route towards Humberside.
“After the last approach, they had been cleared to climb ahead to FL90. During the climb, they received radar vectors from Newcastle ATC before being cleared on navigation to Humberside.
“During one of the radar vectors, in a left turn passing through about south at FL75, one of the crewmembers on the flight deck alerted the rest of the crew to a drone that was ahead and just to the right of the nose.
“Other crew members then saw the object as it passed quickly down the right-hand side. There was no time for the crew to react.
“The drone was assessed to have passed level with the flight deck windows and a few feet outside the wing tip.
“The drone was circular, had a hollow center (doughnut-shaped), was dark in color, and was approximately two to three ft in diameter. The incident was reported to Newcastle ATC. It was noted that, had the aircraft not been in a turn at the time, there would have been a very high chance of collision with the drone.”