Glasgow & West Scotland

Boeing 747 pilots blamed for near miss over Scotland

Two Boeing 747s came close to crashing over Scotland after the pilots failed to follow instructions for avoiding a collision, a report has found.

The near miss on happened about 40 miles north of Glasgow on 23 June.

A report by the UK Airprox Board found that all four pilots had mistakenly followed instructions meant for the other crew.

At one point, the aircraft were just 4.5 miles apart horizontally and only 100ft vertically.

The report noted that both planes were under the guidance of the National Air Traffic Control Centre at Prestwick.

One of the pilots requested to climb to the plane's cruising height for a transatlantic crossing and was given clearance.

Controllers at Prestwick noticed that this "resulted in a potential confliction" with the other Boeing 747 and "took timely action in issuing appropriate avoiding instructions" to both pilots.

The report noted: "Had the pilots complied with these instructions, simulation indicated that separation would not have been lost.

"It was apparent that both crews had taken each others' instructions, and the board found it hard to determine why this had occurred," the report stated.

"The board was surprised that all four pilots had misheard or misinterpreted the avoiding action instructions despite at least one of the crews reading them back correctly."

The report concluded: "The pilots of the aircraft on converging tracks flew into conflict because, although they acknowledged timely avoiding action, they did not follow it."

The board found that a contributory factor was that air traffic controllers "climbed the aircraft to the same level".

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