‘Near miss plane photo’ in DAILY MAIL
Photo taken by Chris Hine featured in the Mail and on Mail Online
Chris Hine contacted Featureworld with an extraordinary photo he captured on his phone of two passenger jets appearing to come perilously close as they prepared to land
The aircraft, both carrying hundreds of travellers, seem to cross paths so near that at one point they are virtually on top of one another.
The astonishing photo was captured by Chris, 70, as he sat in his garden in Byfleet, Surrey and I placed it with the Daily Mail.
The retired engineer said: ‘I often sit and watch planes as they circle and queue to land at Heathrow.
‘But these two planes caught my attention as they were flying much closer than usual.
‘I was so surprised I grabbed my camera and put it on zoom to get a better look. Although they were at quite a high altitude I could easily make out the red one was Virgin Atlantic A340 while the other was a British Airways 787 Dreamliner.
‘After doing one circuit they circled again and this time they crossed paths virtually one on top of the other.
‘It was only a matter of a few seconds before they parted but it was a heart in the mouth moment. Bearing in mind both aircraft have the same wing span of about 60 metres, it looked a very close separation.’
The Virgin Airbus, can carry up to 311 passengers while the Dreamliner carries up to 214. Both aircraft are mostly used on transatlantic routes.
Said Mr Hine, who took the photos on 15th August at 3pm: ‘The aircraft were so close I would imagine the passengers would have been aware. I was staggered when I checked my camera and found I had captured the shot of both planes stacked on top of one another.
‘When you think both planes would have been travelling at around 288mph it does make you wonder how safe our crowded skies are.’
UK Aviation Consultant John Hutchinson said: ‘Although these aircraft do look extremely close in what appears to be a holding pattern there is still likely to have been the required 1000 feet between them. Planes are fitted with excellent alerting systems which ensure they never get too near to one another as well as being closely monitored by Air Traffic Control. It is therefore extremely unlikely that at any point there was any danger of any collision.’
The Government has said it is committed to building a third runway at Heathrow. But it faces ferocious resistance by environmental groups and local residents who are concerned about crowded skies.
A ‘near-miss’, known as a loss of separation in the aviation industry, is rare. A report in 2014 found that there were some 150 losses of separation in European air space. In 2016 there were some 10.1million flights.
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