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F-15 Strike Eagle from RAF Lakenheath involved in near miss with Hawk jet over the Vale of York

F-15 preparing to take off from RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Denise Bradley

F-15 preparing to take off from RAF Lakenheath. Picture: Denise Bradley

An F-15 Strike Eagle from RAF Lakenheath was involved in a near miss with another jet over the Vale of York, a report has revealed.

An F-15 Strike Eagle from RAF Lakenheath was involved in a near miss with another jet over the Vale of York, a report has revealed.

One of the pilots of a two-seater Hawk aircraft filed an Airprox after the incident.

He assessed the risk of collision as ‘high’ and at one point the Hawk and the F-15 - which was flying as part of a pair - were said to be 800ft away from each other.

The F-15 pilot believed there was no risk of the jets colliding in the incident at 10.38am on November 14 last year.

The report states the Hawk pilot had been told there was a single F-15 in the area before take-off and when an update was requested he had been told it had departed.

As the two-seater jet climbed to 15,000ft, the rear seat non-handling pilot noticed one F-15 when he looked left and told the handling pilot. But when he looked forward he “instantly saw an F-15 head-on” and the plane had to perform a manoeuvre.

In assessing the effectiveness of the safety barriers associated with the incident, the UK Airprox Board listed key factors, including:

• Air Traffic Control and Resolution was only “partially effective” because traffic information was passed late to both pilots.

• See and avoid was assessed as partly effective because the F-15 pilot saw the hawk but “he did not avoid it sufficiently” and the Hawk pilot did not see the F-15 until last minute.

The investigation concluded that the incident was caused by the F-15 pilot flying close enough to the Hawk to “cause its crew concern”.

Lieutenant Elias Small, 48th Fighter Wing public affairs officer at RAF Lakenheath, said: “We recognise the pilot’s concerns and understand the need to operate safely and within UK airspace regulations.

“48th Fighter Wing pilots and aircrew train every day to sharpen their skills, and we will continue emphasise flight safety as part of our training program in order to avoid events like this in the future.”

Contributing factors were given as a lack of timely and accurate traffic information and inaction by the F-15 pilot on receipt of traffic information. The report concluded the incident was assessed as a category B with “safety much reduced blow the norm”.

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