A report by the UK AIRPROX Board has concluded that a passenger aircraft preparing to land at Glasgow Airport, Scotland, had a near miss encounter with a UFO. The pilot and co-pilot of the Airbus 320 observed the ‘ufo’ pass some 300 feet beneath the aircraft and calculated the risk of collision as high. The incident which happened on December 2nd 2012, was reported to aviation authorities by the pilot thereby triggering an AIRPROX investigation. The Airbus was descending at 4,000 feet when the ufo, described as ‘Blue and yellow in colour with a small frontal area’ loomed ahead. The pilot dismissed the idea of it being a balloon.
The investigation was unable to determine what the Airbus encountered, but was able to reject the idea that it was any readily identifiable flying object as they would all have been discernible on radar with the possible exception of a glider (although they discount the idea of it being a glider as thermal currents were not conducive to gliding and no glider was known to be flying in the area).
A transcript of the Pilot talking to Air Traffic Control has been released;
A320: “Glasgow Approach [A320 C/S]”
EGPF: “[A320 C/S] pass your message”
A320: “Er yeah we just had something pass underneath us quite close [1255:30] and nothing on TCAS have you got anything on in our area”
EGPF: “Er negative er we’ve got nothing on er radar and we’re n- not talking to any traffic either”
A320: “Er not quite sure what it was but it definitely er quite large [1255:40] and it’s blue and yellow”
EGPF: “OK that’s understood er do you have a an estimate for the height”
A320: “Maybe er [1255:50] yeah we were probably about erm four hundred to five hundred feet above it so it’s probably about three and a half thousand feet.”
Search action was initiated but nothing could be found or traced.
The Airprox report concluded: “Investigation of the available surveillance sources was unable to trace any activity matching that described by the A320 pilot. Additionally there was no other information to indicate the presence or otherwise of activity in the area.”
The report said the Airprox board had been of the opinion that the object was unlikely to have been a fixed wing aircraft, helicopter or hot air balloon, given that it had not shown up on radar.
It was also thought that a meteorological balloon would be radar significant and unlikely to be released in the area.
A glider could not be discounted, the report said, but it was unlikely that one would be operating in the area because of the constrained airspace and the lack of thermal activity because of the low temperature.
Similarly, the board believed that a hang-glider or para-motor would be radar significant and that conditions precluded them, as they did para-gliders or parascenders.
The report stated: “Members were unable to reach a conclusion as to a likely candidate for the conflicting aircraft and it was therefore felt that the board had insufficient information to determine a Cause or Risk”.