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:
Planefinder.net 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:
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.”
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”.