British Airways flight avoided mid-air disaster in September

November 14th, 2007 - 8:38 am ICT by admin  
According to the Daily Mail, the Johannesburg-bound flight from Heathrow was suddenly forced to climb to avoid an Argentinian passenger jet.

Aviation insiders said the planes had allegedly been put on to the same flight path by French air traffic controllers.

The jumbo was carrying 292 passengers and 18 crew. The danger was so great that the BA 747’s automated collision avoidance system was triggered, prompting the pilot to take emergency action high over Marseilles.

The system triggers an audible alarm, with a loud and insistent instruction to “climb, climb, climb”.

The BA captain took immediate evasive action to climb steeply and bank right to avoid the other plane, an Aerolineas Argentinas 747, near the Mediterranean.

Once the emergency was over, the captain went into the cabin to calm passengers.

The incident happened on September 29, but has only now come to light.

On Tuesday, BA was reluctant to go into detail about the near-miss, short of confirming that it had happened. Insiders said it had been “hushed up”.

A long-haul aircraft such as a Boeing 747 would typically fly at around 37,000ft. Aircraft usually have to be five miles apart horizontally and with a 1,000ft difference in altitude to reduce the risk of a mid-air smash.

A reduction in either distance will trigger what aviation officials call a “loss of separation” - known to ordinary fliers as “a near miss”.

Aerolineas Argentinas confirmed it had a record of “an incident” involving an Airbus A340 travelling from Rome to Buenos Aires. (ANI)

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