I flew in to a UK airfield on Saturday…calling up five minutes or so out. An air/ground Radio service. We passed the standard messages and then there was silence on the radio – no other traffic. As I approached the overhead I called again and then a few seconds later suddenly a Robin with angled wings flew massively fast towards me from my one o’clock. (He then passed on my right – close, but not massively close, but at the same height) The closing speed was incredible. (I was flying at about 130 knots, and I guess the other plane was too.) I have the recordings and he had not spoken to the ground station and was happily flying through their ATZ without speaking to them..or announcing his presence to me or others in the circuit. (In fact it was just me in the circuit.) The other plane, having heard me call up on a standard overhead join announced as being from the south, would have known that if he continued on his route north to south through the ATZ he’d be approaching me head-on.
I called “traffic!” on the radio for no reason I can think of – just panic I think. The look on my face in the video and the subsequent swearing says it all. The other plane replied “We saw you coming” without ending the message with his call sign. (All caught on my video) But I don’t believe him for one second because seeing him approach and pass me on the video at say 250kts, it’s clear to me that he was not visible to me until about 2 seconds away and the same must be true of my plane to him – invisible. (5 seconds away at 250 kts is 700 yards away by my calculation. It’s not very easy to recognise a stationary plane head on at 700 yards on the ground. Something 700 yards away moving really quickly towards you, against a white cloud background, is almost completely invisible)
I phoned the airfield today. The CFI told me that their fleet doesn’t include any angled wings Robins (just some of the older Robins with straight metal wings). He was completely unimpressed by the other chap’s airmanship flying through their ATZ unannounced.
So, what happens if I report this to the Airprox Board? They’ll investigate. Speak to the other pilot if they can trace him (probably can) but then they do nothing. So what is the point? Anyone have a view?
Perhaps I should just make a few bob on YouTube by posting the video and waiting for the first thousand views…
(BTW, sadly my PowerFlarm can be seen issuing an alarm in the video, but only about half a second before the closest approach. The approach speed is simply too fast for the machine to recognise the threat until too late. This because the other plane had no ADS-B Out, or Flarm, just a transponder that doesn’t of course give a direction signal to the PowerFlarm collision avoidance device.)
Sadly I can’t find a picture showing a bank angle, but these two presentations appear the opposite of each other when turning.
Today I flew a NP IAP by hand, in the dark, to see how well it works just on the lower one. It does take quite a while to get used to it.
Automatically generate highly optimised IFR routes in the Eurocontrol system.