Lincolnshire

Confusion led to Lincolnshire Tornado near miss

Confusion over a booking on a Lincolnshire bombing range came close to causing a mid-air collision, a report has said.

The incident involving two Tornado GR4s at Holbeach last December was examined by the Civil Aviation Authority.

It described it as Category A - a "most serious incident".

The planes came within 300ft (90m) of each other, the board heard, but it decided to take no action as a review of procedures was already under way.

'High workload'

The report said there was uncertainty about when the planes had booked their time over the range, with one entering as the other left.

The two aircraft did not see each other until the last moment and neither had time to take evasive action, it found.

Aviation writer Jim Ferguson said a close study of the report showed it had been a dangerous incident.

"The miss distance is given as somewhere around 0.2 nautical miles and the speed of one is estimated at 330 knots, which is about 350 miles an hour.

"So it was terribly close indeed."

An RAF spokesperson said: "The system used for booking time on Air Weapons Ranges was not at fault in this incident.

"Our pilots are constantly reminded of the need to maintain an effective lookout, especially during periods of high workload".

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