When the AW169 airambulance was travelling at about 1100 feet above the sea level about 7 miles to the east of Sevenoaks in Kent, United Kingdom, it was an uneventful day and the skies were clear. It was on its way to help an accident victim in the Herne Bay area in Kent. That’s when the crew spotted a Spitfire aircraft coming towards it at high speed. At first, the airambulance pilot had expected the fighter jet to change its course, but when it did not, things started getting serious. Thankfully, they simply passed each other, although the gap between the two aerial vehicles was just about 400 yards – a very scary and unsafe situation.
The Proximity was a Definite Safety Risk
Shedding light on the incident, the UK Airprox Board said that a gap of 400 yards was certainly a grave safety risk and categorized the incident a ‘B’, which is the second highest possible collision risk. The co-pilot, it was felt, had steered the airambulance away at the right moment. The airambulance company said that its pilots are faced with similar circumstances, although not regularly, and they were well prepared for it. Airambulance flights often get into situations like these as they fly uncontrolled airspace owing to emergency calls for help.
Here is What the Airambulance and Spitfire Pilots had to Say
The Spitfire pilot said that he found nothing unusual about his flight. In fact, he said that he considered the distance acceptable – perhaps because of the easy maneuverability of the fighter jet. The pilot of the airambulance, however, did not share the same opinion of the proximity. He revealed that the safety alarm of the airambulance was giving out warning messages at the time. Also, contrary to what the airambulance crew reported, the fighter jet pilot denied indulging in any aerobatic maneuvers.