Plane came within 300 feet of parachutists in near-miss over Chatteris aerodrome, report finds

The plan came within 300 feet of parachutists, before turning to the right to avoid a collision.

The plan came within 300 feet of parachutists, before turning to the right to avoid a collision. - Credit: Archant

A light aircraft was seconds away from colliding with a group of eight parachutists over Chatteris, an investigation has found.

The two-seater Cessna 152 plane came within 300 feet (91 metres) of the parachutists at the Chatteris aerodrome on May 15.

An investigation into the near-miss by the UK Airprox Board (UKAB), said that the plane’s pilot admitted he “misappreciated his position” over the aerodrome and that “the execution of the flight was not perfect.”

The UKAB reported that the pilot was “in the middle” of the parachutists, who were 2,000ft up, before spotting them and turning to the right to avoid a collision.

The Chatteris parachuting site chief instructor said that one parachutist was “fairly close” to the aircraft, estimating a separation of just 300 feet.


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It had “simply been providence” that had prevented a collision, concluded the UKAB, who deemed that the risk of collision during the incident was “high.”

The board also said that the pilot’s reactions during the incident “only marginally” reduced the risk of a collision, and deemed he must have “inadvertently flown” over the site or was “unaware of its existence.”

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The UK Airprox Board conducts investigations into near-miss incidents in the interests of air safety.

The identities of individuals and companies in their reports are hidden to “encourage open and honest reporting,” according to the UKAB’s website.

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