Tornado GR4 from RAF Marham conducting a low-level training sortie in Wales
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Map Error To Blame For Tornado Near-Miss

A report into a near-miss between a microlight and a RAF Tornado has concluded a mapping error was in part to blame. The 'Category A'...

Tornado GR4 from RAF Marham conducting a low-level training sortie in Wales
A report into a near-miss between a microlight and a RAF Tornado has concluded a mapping error was in part to blame.
 
The 'Category A' incident, meaning "a serious risk of collision has existed", took place last October on the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire border.
 
The Tornado was flying at low level at about 483mph when it passed 300ft beneath the "startled" microlight pilot. During the course of the investigation it emerged that the site of the civilian airfield the microlight pilot was flying from was wrongly marked on military maps - by half a mile.
 
 
However the pilot of the all-weather attack aircraft was also criticised for leaving little room for manoeuvre on his flight path and failing to spot the smaller aircraft as he passed 500ft above the ground.
 
The near-miss only emerged after the microlight pilot flagged the incident to the authorities.
 
The report stated: "The Tornado pilot would probably have been better placed to have remained at height until further north due to the myriad of small airfields and avoidances in that particular area.
"Essentially, the Tornado pilot was threading the gap very finely between these airfields and, although his planned routing would have taken him clear of Headon airfield had it been marked on the charts correctly, he had left very little margin for error and would have been wiser to have allowed himself much more room to manoeuvre."
The investigating board said they were "heartened" to hear "military charts were being amended to place Headon in the correct position, and a full quality assurance review of all other entries were being undertaken".
 
It also recommended the use of transponders - which can communicate with other aircraft - to light aircraft pilots, after it emerged the microlight was not equipped with such a device.
 
Airprox said: "The board quickly agreed that it was a non-sighting by the Tornado pilot and effectively a non-sighting by the microlight pilot that had led to the incident.
"Given the likely high closure rate, and the fact that the microlight pilot assessed that the Tornado flew just 300ft or so beneath him, when assessing the risk the board thought that chance had played a major part and that this was a Category A event."
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