A near-miss between a microlight aircraft and two RAF Hercules C130 planes over an airfield near Bath has been investigated by the UK Airprox Board.
The report concluded that the microlight did not show on the radar of the military planes on 10th January, because it was too small.
The incident, at 3.20pm, happened over the Brown Shutters Farm airfield, a few miles south of Bath, just off the A36.
Another pilot, who saw the near-miss from the ground, told the investigatory board that it had been ‘bloody close’.
The Airprox Board agreed that the Hercules pilots had not adequately avoided the pattern of air traffic at Brown Shutters Farm and had flown into direct conflict with the Pegasus Quantum 15 microlight.
After taking off and climbing to 200ft, the Pegasus pilot saw two C130 Hercules aircraft coming towards him in formation from his right, and quickly realised they hadn’t seen him. He had to make a steep ‘avoidance’ turn, and then landed.
The pilot who said the near-miss was ‘bloody close’ added that he believed the second Hercules aircraft had climbed to avoid the microlight, and that they overflew the airfield at between 250-300ft.
The two C130s had been on a low-level training mission at the time of the incident, and told investigators the microlight was too small to appear on their radar.
The Airprox Board said that safety had been much reduced below the norm, and classed the incident as category B, the second most serious type.
The board recommended that HQ Air Command should ‘review the education of military pilots with regard to their responsibilities in respect of the avoidance of minor airfields’.