"Apparent" near miss photgraphed over London.

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A DHL A300 and a JAL 773 were snapped over London yesterday, apparently almost colliding. My view is that it's another of the those telephoto lenses telling lies, what do you think... ?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4660644.stm

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Profile picture for user tenthije

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They are indeed rather close, and the telephoto lense effect makes it all the more interesting!

The 777-300 (yes it is a '300) is 50% longer then the A300. In the picture however the length seems to be only 30ish percent longer. Even less when accounting for the fact the we see the DHL jet at a angle instead of perfectly side-on. Had the A300 been perfectly side-on it would be perhaps 25% longer. So the 777 was higher.

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Having looked at the image close up ( zoomed in ) it would seem the Japan 777 is higher than the A310, Its very hard to say if this is a near miss. Every day you see trails of high flying aircraft crossing our skies and sometimes it appears that one or two aircraft seem to get very close to each other, The photo looks to be a near miss, but my guess is that the A310 is a good 1,000ft below. I would be interested to see what distance the planes would look if the JAL777 was an A310, then you would be able to see if there is any difference in size of each aircraft, that would then determine if they really are that close. I may be wrong, anyone else !!!!! ????

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Is it an A300 or A310 ?

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I think its an A300 but could be wrong. I would say that there is at least 1000 FT seperation between them. Also would be interested to know if the DHL a/c has TCAS in use ? Guess the JAL a/c will as standard.

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To my knowledge DHL only has A300s, most of them operated by Belgian subsidiary EAT.

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Also would be interested to know if the DHL a/c has TCAS in use ? Guess the JAL a/c will as standard.

You'd have thought after that 757/Tu-154 collision they'd have it installed 'to the max' ? I'm in no doubt however in this case, the TCAS system would not have activated as this is a simple optical illusion...

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TCAS is mandatory in Europe so yes DHL would have that too.

In the 757/154 collision both planes had TCAS as well. The accident was caused (in part) because of a difference in culture. In EU/US the TCAS takes priority over everything. In the former CIS the TCAS can be ignored when local ATC tells you to do so.

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There's a nice quote in a book that I've got which covers this phenomena (slightly rewritten to avoid the heavy mob descending upon me!):

With no background, differing cloud and lighting conditions, and only approximate knowledge of the size of the aircraft captured, it can be hard to determine distances.

Anyway, I imagine that even if there was an ATC failure and a TCAS failure, they would have been visible to each other.

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It says the photo was taken above Upton Park so would suggest that this occurred during vectors to final. Normal approach holding for arrivals from the east is Lambourne and that is a lot further out. I should imagine that seperation here is 1000ft as is regularly experienced in the London TMA. A total non event in my mind.

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You'd have thought after that 757/Tu-154 collision they'd have it installed 'to the max' ? I'm in no doubt however in this case, the TCAS system would not have activated as this is a simple optical illusion...

I think the TCAS would have been shouting at them, they look well within the 35-45 seconds to go to penetrate each other's collision area and would be called TA or Traffic Advisory at this point, (TCAS I & II systems), also proximate traffic on TCAS systems is traffic within 6nm & 1200ft, again this "looks" within those constraints, if they were within 20-30 seconds of the collision area this is called RA or Resolution Advisory. But as we have all said, it's probably an illusion, but who can be really sure? ;)

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One thing they could do is interview both pilots of each flight .
Just a few weeks ago, Sky 1 (tv channal) aired a documentry on what would happen if 2 aircraft collided over london

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One thing they could do is interview both pilots of each flight .
Just a few weeks ago, Sky 1 (tv channal) aired a documentry on what would happen if 2 aircraft collided over london

Not to be insensitive, but what was the outcome of the programme, as I find that some of these 'documentaries' that are shown on tv to be a tad unrealistic, imo?

When I first saw it, I thought it was a fake photo because there was no clouds, but saying that, there was hardly any clouds near me yesterday! :o

Personally I think that people are starting to jump on the band wagon a bit here...it all started when the 747 with faulty engine was allowed to fly over London, which is a major issue, but I am sure that all pilots, whether it be a passenger and/or cargo a/c are fully trained to deal with situations like this.

Is it me or is there not a 'no-fly zone' over Central London anyway?

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Deano - T2CAS as used on any RVSM approved aircraft nowadays no longer uses 1200ft as it would be going off all the time with the reduced vertical seperation used nowadays. I can't remember the exact figure but 960ft rings a bell.

Cloud9 - You wouldn't get into or out of (depending on wind direction) of LHR if central London were a no fly zone. The Houses of Parliment come within half a mile of the 27 approach and the turn on to final is usually over the Millenium Dome. Tower bridge, therefore The City lie almost directly under this line. A 747 with an engine shut down is a non event, just like this so called near miss.

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Having watched the Concorde in flight DVD they had a TCAS warning on an aircraft which was at 1100 ft above and 8 miles away. This crossed Concorde's intended path, but it was never a problem. There may have been a TCAS warning with these two a/c, but once noted that it was not a dangerous situation it would have been noted and monitored, but not acted upon.

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The NATS view

A photographer's snap of two aircraft in the Lambourne stack over east London on Saturday was published in the Sunday Mirror, Daily Mail and Daily Express.

In the picture, the two aircraft look very close, but in fact, the larger of the two aircraft is 1,000 feet above the smaller one. After the NATS Press Office was contacted by the newspaper, Terminal Control’s radar records were replayed to pinpoint the moment.

The photograph was taken at 15.03 on Saturday, in unusually clear weather conditions. The two aircraft were both inbound to Heathrow, the Airbus A300 at 9,000 feet and the (much larger) Japan Air Lines Boeing 777 at 10,000 feet.

A NATS spokesman told reporters “There was no incident yesterday afternoon. These aircraft were in the stack waiting to land at Heathrow and remained safely separated at all times. Distances from the ground can be extremely deceptive, especially in the kind of weather conditions we had this weekend.”

A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman insisted that there had not been a near miss, and told the newspapers that the picture was an optical illusion: “You really can’t tell from the ground how close the planes are.”

Moggy

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i'd say it's an optical illusion. Why would the DHL be turning towards the JAL?

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Thanks for finding that Moggy. Now hopefully this one can be put to bed. I do really get riled by these armchair experts that think the world is about to end when 2 aircraft are within 2 degrees of latitude of each other.

LBA - There probably wouldn't have been anymore than a solid white diamond to indicate the other aircraft. Had there been an excessive rate of descent (or conversely climb) a TA may have been activated. This would be accompanied by the aural "Traffic, traffic" and the display would show a solid yellow circle. This only considered a caution. A TA would be classed as a warning.