Passenger jet in 'near miss' over Doncaster

A passenger jet had to take emergency evasive action to avoid a small aeroplane over Doncaster.

Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 8:42 am

Investigators who looked into the ‘near miss’ on September 14 last year, praised an alert air traffic controller at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, who told the pilot of the Boeing 737 passenger jet to change course over near Hatfield, to make sure there was no collsion.

They discovered a small DR1050 aeroplane, which had taken off from Sandtoft, had a radio that was not working and did not communicate with the control tower at Doncaster.

A report by the UK Airprox Board, which investigates ‘near misses’, revealed the 737 crew said they could not see the other aircraft as it was slow moving and below the horizon. The 737 pilot did not know how close they came as the turn they were told to make put them ‘belly up’.

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A Boeing 737

The DR1050 pilot was unaware of the ‘near miss’, but said earlier that day he had problems getting through to Sandtoft on his radio. When he took off from Sandtoft again in the afternoon, he could not get his radio working, so thought he should stay low and get out of the way quickly. He said he didn’t see any other planes nearby.

The report stated: “Members (of the Airprox Board) first discussed the Doncaster controller’s actions and commended him for his proactive control of the B737. Once he became aware of the DR1050 pilot’s track, and despite this being a frustrating situation, he applied timely avoiding action to ensure any risk of collision was averted. The controller also went to considerable effort to ensure neighbouring units traced the DR1050 to its destination.

“Turning to the DR1050 pilot, members felt that he had not paid sufficient attention to planning his return flight, not least knowing that he had a potential radio problem.

“In the event, the DR1050 pilot flew into Class D airspace without clearance.

“The board agreed that although there had been no risk of collision, the airspace infringement itself constituted a situation where normal operating procedures had not been complied with and so a risk rating of Category C was considered appropriate, safety had been reduced below the norm.”