German pilot investigated in near-miss incident

12th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

12 July 2005, LONDON - Britain's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is investigating a near-miss incident involving a German plane carrying holiday makers which veered off its flight path, threatening a collision with a British charter airliner, in an apparent attempt by the German pilot to take a photograph of the British aircraft.

12 July 2005

LONDON - Britain's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is investigating a near-miss incident involving a German plane carrying holiday makers which veered off its flight path, threatening a collision with a British charter airliner, in an apparent attempt by the German pilot to take a photograph of the British aircraft.

The German Boeing 767, operated by Condor Airlines, had diverted off its authorised path, forcing the captain of a Thomas Cook Boeing 757 to take avoidance action, it was reported Tuesday.

It was thought that the Condor captain had veered off his designated route to get a photo of a Condor colleague piloting his last operational flight.

But the Condor captain, with 234 passengers on board, had mistaken the Thomas Cook plane, carrying 187 passengers, for his friend's aircraft which was, in fact, 160 kilometres ahead.

The Condor captain and another pilot on the German plane have now been suspended while the investigation continues into the incident which happened at 9,000 metres off the coast of Canada on June 24.

The Condor, flying from Frankfurt to Toronto, broke the strict aircraft separation rules by flying so close to the Thomas Cook airliner, whose pilot reported the incident to Canadian air traffic controllers and to Britain's Civil Aviation Authority.

The Thomas Cook plane was flying from London to Toronto.

A Thomas Cook spokeswoman said Tuesday: "Our crew were flying on an agreed track when all of a sudden they got a warning on their TCAS collision avoidance system that another aircraft had entered their airspace."

"The captain carried out a textbook-style manoeuvre, taking the Thomas Cook aircraft out of danger and on to a higher flight path.

Investigations continue by CAA and Gander Oceanic air traffic control as to why the Condor Boeing 767 entered the Thomas Cook airline's flight path without authorisation.

A Condor spokesman said he could not comment on the suggestion that the pilot wished to take a picture of a colleague in another Condor plane.

The spokesman added: "Two pilots have been suspended. The plane left its allowed airspace and was closer than normal to another aircraft."

"There were TCAS anti-collision systems in both planes and the Condor aircraft descended when TCAS gave a warning. At no time was there concrete danger of a collision."

DPA

Subject: German news

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