Spitfire had near miss with Piper light aircraft during ‘victory roll‘ over Biggin Hill Airport when passenger spotted iconic WWII fighter plane ‘at the last second‘, air safety report finds
A Spitfire narrowly avoided a mid-air crash with a light aircraft during an aerobatic display, an official report has revealed.
The Second World War fighter was involved in a near-miss with a Piper PA-28 after performing a stunt near Biggin Hill Airport, south-east , on September 29.
It was ‘only by chance‘ one of the passengers on board the light aircraft spotted the ex-military plane ‘at the last second‘, a report by the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) found.
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The Piper PA-28 pilot assessed the risk of collision as ‘high‘, telling investigators the Spitfire was close enough to ‘fill the entire windscreen‘ and he could see ‘every rivet‘ as it flew past.
The Spitfire pilot was ‘content‘ his flight path would not cause a collision but the light aircraft pilot ‘could easily have inadvertently turned towards the Spitfire when in close proximity‘, the UKAB said.
The board concluded that the Spitfire pilot‘s actions were ‘ill advised‘ to the extent that ‘safety had been much reduced below the norm‘.