Thursday, August 02, 2012

Near mid-air collision brings changes at RAF Brize Norton

RAF Brize Norton has made changes to its air traffic control policy after a near-miss between a civilian plane and a helicopter. 

An A300 Airbus and a Chinook helicopter came within just 496ft of each other after the plane took off from the Carterton airbase last November. The Airbus pilot assumed the military phrase “climb out 2,200ft” referred to a runway length reduction rather than the maximum height it could safely fly.

Both aircraft were seen to merge on RAF Brize Norton’s radar.

In the future, the base will use civilian terminology to avoid being “misinterpreted” and will ask pilots to confirm their departure information.

The A300 Airbus, with a crew of three, was carrying out a freight-only return to Istanbul in Turkey when the incident happened.

The 44-year-old pilot had not travelled to RAF Brize Norton before but had 7,334 hours of flying experience.

Four service personnel were crewing the Chinook.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch, part of the Department for Transport, carried out a report into the near-miss, which was published in July.

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