There is a story emerging out of Glasgow, Scotland today regarding a near miss incident involving an Airbus A320 passenger plane and a UFO.
The airline jet with 220 passengers aboard was on approach to Glasgow airport over Baillieston when it encountered a UFO at 3,500 feet.
Here is the report from STV Glasgow:
Passenger plane involved in near miss with UFO near Glasgow airport
A passenger plane was involved in a near miss an unidentified flying object, two pilots have reported.
The blue and yellow UFO came within 300ft of the Airbus 320 on December 2 above Baillieston as the plane approached Glasgow Airport.
The UK Airprox Board – which investigates near misses in the skies – heard the incident had taken place at around 3500ft. Both pilots on the flight reported seeing the UFO “loom ahead”.
The board head the object passed directly beneath the plane before either of the crew had time to take avoiding action or had “really registered it” although they were both agreed that it appeared blue and yellow or silver in colour with a small frontal area but that it was “bigger than a balloon”.
The estimated miss-distance was 300ft.
An air traffic controller said that he was not talking to anyone else in that area and that nothing was seen on radar at the time.
The board said: “The pilot of an A320, inbound to Glasgow, gave a contemporaneous account of his ac’s encounter with an untraced object at 3500ft.
“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 concluded: “Members were of the opinion that, in the absence of a primary radar return, it was unlikely that the untraced ac was a fixed-wing or rotary-wing ac or man-carrying balloon.
“It was considered that a meteorological balloon would be radar significant and unlikely to be released in the area of the Airprox.
“A glider could not be discounted but it was felt unlikely that one would be operating in that area, both due to the constrained airspace and the lack of thermal activity due to the low temperature.
“Similarly, The Board considered that a hang-glider or para-motor would be radar significant and that conditions precluded them, as they did para-gliders or parascenders. Members were unable to reach a conclusion as to a likely candidate.”
To give you an idea as to the size of an A320, here is a quick look at the aircraft via the Airbus website:
Airbus launched its single-aisle product line with the A320, which continues to set industry standards for comfort and operating economy on short- to medium-haul routes. Typically seating 150 passengers in a two-class cabin – or up to 180 in a high-density layout for low-cost and charter flights – the A320 is in widespread service around the globe on services that vary from short commuter sectors in Europe, Asia and elsewhere to trans-continental flights across the United States.
The A320’s advanced technology includes the extensive use of weight-saving composites, an optimised wing that is 20 per cent is more efficient than previous designs, a centralised fault display for easier troubleshooting and lower maintenance costs, along with Airbus’ fly-by-wire flight controls.
Advantages of the fly-by-wire controls – which were pioneered on the A320 – are many. They provide total flight envelope and airframe structural protection for improved safety and reduced pilot workload, along improved flight smoothness and stability, and fewer mechanical parts.
For a full rundown of this amazing aircraft, head on over to Airbus.com.
I know what you’re going to say: How do you fit 220 people on a jet that holds a maximum of 180? I suppose it’s some sort of magic! Actually, it may be due to misinformation or this particular A320 has seats in the lavatories. I’m going to check into that discrepancy and see if I can come up with an answer.
Getting back to the business at hand, according to the report, there was no radar identification of the UFO. Does this mean it has to be some sort of alien spacecraft? Of course not, but air traffic control is not infallible. In fact, Glasgow just happens to be the location of the worlds largest wind farm. Wind farms are notorious for interfering with radar, often creating a false positive for aircraft. Could this inadvertently affect how radar operators in the Glasgow tower adjust their stations?
The diagram below shows the flight path of the airliner and the UFO (Identified as CPA1256):
Now, to get an idea of what was happening live, here’s the exchange between the tower and the aircraft:
A320: ‘Glasgow Approach [A320 C/S]’
Air Traffic Control: ‘[A320 C/S] pass your message’
A320: ‘Er yeah we just had something pass underneath us quite close and nothing on TCAS have you got anything on in our area’
Control: ‘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 and it’s blue and yellow’
Control: ‘OK that’s understood er do you have a an estimate for the height’
A320: ‘Maybe er 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.
‘…we seemed to only miss it by a couple of hundred feet it went directly beneath us … wherever we were when we called it in it was within about ten seconds
‘… couldn’t tell what direction it was going but it went right underneath us”’
Control: ‘do you suspect it might have been a glider or something like that’
A320: ‘well maybe a microlight … it just looked too big for a balloon.”
Seems all were pretty shocked and confused. In a situation like this, things happen so fast that you have to consider the human factor. In fact, according to a dailymail article, the crew even seemed to be guessing at the color.
The A320 crew had not been able to assimilate any information regarding the form of the untraced aircraft in the fleeting glimpse they had, reporting only a likely colour.
So, no form, and a mere guess at the color? This is a mystery indeed! If I were to take a crack at it, the one thing that is often missed by air traffic control is a radio controlled plane. Some of the more sophisticated RC jets can fly at phenomenal speeds and altitudes. For all we know, some whack job terrorist may have been utilizing an RC aircraft to purposely cause a collision.
This may just go in the books as another head scratcher, but I’m sure our readers will have plenty to say and who knows, we may solve the whole thing right here.
My main sources for this article were STV Glasgow and the Dailymail.
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