F-15 and Sentinel R1 in near collision over Lincoln

A Sentinel spy plane was on a “collision course” with two F15 jets in the skies over Lincoln, a report has revealed.

The Sentinel R1, based at RAF Waddington and used for covert surveillance, was on a training flight from the base when it found itself on a collision course with the two jets. The report said all three aircraft were forced to take action to avoid each other. It also suggested in the report that air traffic controllers’ high workload meant they were perhaps not as alert to the danger as they should have been as it unfolded over 30 seconds.

The report added that “Given the time gap, best controlling practice suggests that the opportunity existed for a more timely warning to be given. It is possible that this missed opportunity may be grounded in reduced levels of psycho-physiological alertness caused by workload history, however, it is not possible to sustain this hypothesis.”

The F15s eventually passed 1,600ft overhead after the Sentinel pilot dropped his altitude and both jets began to climb.

The report told how the lead F15 pilot first spotted the risk.

“He realised that they were on a collision course and saw that the traffic was continuing to climb up towards their formation,” the report said. “He saw that the Sentinel was not stopping its climb and he directed the pair to climb to avoid it.”

“Class G airspace is effectively ‘free’ airspace where anyone, civilian or military, can operate and where ‘see and avoid’ is the primary means of collision avoidance with or without a radar service”, said MoD spokesman.

Source: Lincolnshire

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