Pilot describes moment an Airbus with up to 220 people on board came dangerously close to crashing into ‘UFO’ as it came in to land
A passenger jet came within 300ft of colliding with an unidentified flying object, an official probe has heard.
Despite an investigation, the UK Airprox Board – which examines reports of near misses – could not explain the ‘blue and yellow’ object which passed under the Airbus 320.
The incident happened on December 2 last year over Baillieston, 13 miles east of Glasgow Airport, at around 3500ft.
The shocked pilot reported the collision risk as ‘high’.
The A320 was descending into Glasgow in clear conditions with the sun behind, when both the plane’s pilots saw an object around 100 yards away.
The board’s report said: ‘The object passed directly beneath before either of the crew had time to take avoiding action or had “really registered it”, although they both agreed that it appeared blue and yellow (or silver) in colour and was “quite large” with a small frontal area.
‘The controller stated he was not talking to anyone else in that area and nothing was seen on radar.’
In its report, the board dismissed a variety of possible explanations.
It said: ‘In the absence of a primary radar return, it was unlikely that the untraced aircraft was a fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft or man-carrying balloon.
‘It was considered that a meteorological balloon would be radar-significant and unlikely to be released in the area.
This is a transcript of what the A320 pilot told the control tower:
A320: ‘Glasgow Approach [A320 C/S]’
Air Traffic Control: ‘[A320 C/S] pass your message’
A320: ‘Er yeah we just had something pass underneath us quite close and nothing on TCAS have you got anything on in our area’
Control: ‘Er negative er we’ve got nothing on er radar and we’re n-not talking to any traffic either’
A320: ‘Er not quite sure what it was but it definitely er quite large and it’s blue and yellow’
Control: ‘OK that’s understood er do you have a an estimate for the height’
A320: ‘Maybe er yeah we were probably about erm four hundred to five hundred feet above it so it’s probably about three and a half thousand feet.
‘…we seemed to only miss it by a couple of hundred feet it went directly beneath us … wherever we were when we called it in it was within about ten seconds
‘… couldn’t tell what direction it was going but it went right underneath us”’
Control: ‘do you suspect it might have been a glider or something like that’
A320: ‘well maybe a microlight … it just looked too big for a balloon.”