How Safe Are Our Skies?

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

A fairly well aired story in Scotland in late May related to a near miss involving two military (RAF) Tornado aircraft close to the Lossiemouth airbase in November last year the incident was put down to an inexperienced air traffic controller (see link STV report).

As the report indicates the matter was considered by the Airprox Board. This is a body (independent apparently) set up with funding from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Military Aviation Authority (MAA).

The Celtic League recently posed some questions to relevant UK government agencies about the Board and its functions.

In the meantime we looked at its reports (all 235 of them!) on incidents last year 2014.

The Celtic League has had concerns about military air activity over the Celtic countries ever since our military monitoring campaign kicked-off in the mid 1970s, so we knew which areas had a potential for danger. The main areas (LOW FLYING AREAS – LFA) affected in the Celtic Countries are:

LFA 16 (Southern Scotland)
LFA 14 (Highlands and NE Scotland)
LFA 7 (Wales)
LFA 19 (N. Ireland)
LFA 3 (Cornwall)

In addition LFAs 17 and 12 covering Northern England can pose hazards for civil air routes to and from the Celtic countries as can military test flight traffic connected to the BAE aircraft manufacturer at Warton in Lancashire (on the Fylde coast) who test new military aircraft over the Irish Sea areas.

Just as we thought a number of incidents involving (various degrees) of close encounter occurred in the south of Scotland and Mid Wales areas. There were also events in the West Country connected to naval aviation activity at Yeovilton (Somerset).

In all we indentified 16/18 Airprox incidents worth looking at in greater detail, but perhaps the most worrying was close encounter involving a civil airliner en route to Scotland and three ‘Foreign’ military F-15s (probably USAF).

The Airpox report can be found here.

These reports are quite detailed but you can see from this one that there was the potential for a serious incident involving a civil airliner.

The Celtic League are currently looking at other reports covering (as indicated) events in Wales and Scotland involving military aircraft and we may in due course press the MOD to see what steps are being taken to improve safety.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

06/06/15

(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)

ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.

The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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