Two Boeing 747 jumbo jets were involved in an alarming near miss over Scotland earlier this year.

Boeing 747 Aircrafts

The two aircraft, each with two pilots, were carrying up to 1,000 passengers in total and were flying at the same flight level and on converging routes.

According to a report released by the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) the June 23 incident occurred when, instead of taking avoiding action as instructed, both crews did the exact opposite turning their aircraft to within 100ft of each other vertically and 3 nautical miles horizontally – well under the minimum safe separation of 5 nautical miles.

Both were about to begin their transatlantic crossings.

BA Flight BA87

British Airways flight BA87 (callsign BAW87) was headed for Vancouver Internation (YVR) from London Heathrow (LHR).

Lufthansa Flight LH418

Lufthansa flight LH418 (callsign DLH418) was bound for Washington Dulles (IAD) from Frankfurt Main (FRA).

Here on Plane Finder we tracked the two aircraft as shown in the screenshot below:

BA Flight BA87
Plane Finder Screenshot 23rd June 2013 12:55 UTC playback links:

Tracking Playback for BA87

Plane Finder: BAW87 on the 23rd June 2013

Tracking Playback for LH418

Plane Finder: DLH418 on the 23rd June 2013

Please note that the playback data on our website is shown in 5-minute intervals


The two aircraft involved, British Airway registration G-BNLM and Lufthansa B-ABYC, are also shown below:

BA747 G-BNLM – image © Colin Charman –


D-ABYC – image © David Pygott –

Flight Paths over Scotland

The UKAB report states that “It was apparent that both crews had taken each others’ instructions, and the Board found it hard to determine why this had occurred; unfortunately no Human Factor report was available from either crew. 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.”

Radar flight path data from Airprox
Radar data from Airprox report 2013054

In the UKAB image above aircraft B747 (1) is British Airways BA87 and B747 (2) is the Lufthansa flight LH418.

The report concludes that the cause of the near miss was that “The pilots of ac [aircraft] on converging tracks flew into conflict because, although they acknowledged timely avoiding action, they did not follow it”.

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