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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber SteveDude's Avatar
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    Default London Aircraft Near Miss...

    The Weekend before last, when I was working, this photograph was taken over West Ham Football Club Stadium during a Match in East London....for ease of translation substitute WHUFC Stadium for Yankee Stadium and you have an idea of the local geography/demography.

    The CAA have denied it was a near miss, stating that the effect of the photograph was exaggerated and the planes were 2.5 miles apart!!! WTF??? I am no expert on ATC or photography, and I admit a zoom lens can cause some distortion. but 2.5 miles??? There isn't that much difference in size between a 737 & 777...

    I know some London Ambulance Paramedics who were at the game and saw this...they said it looked very close from the ground without distortion from the camera.

    London has been blessed, with 4 International & 1 European Airports serving the Capital and as the Gateway between Europe and the US, Heathrow the largest is the busiest airport in the world, the Thames gateway (along the river leading into London) is apparently the most congested airspace in the World.

    We have managed to avoid an aircrash in London since 1973...God knows how and near misses are aregualr story over here.... have we just come close to a reapeat of what happened over Brooklyn in 1960?

    BBC Link
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  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    2.5 km, maaaayyyybe.

    2.5 miles, my *****!

    I would love to get the real story from the pilot over a beer.
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  3. #3
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    There are so many systems to avoid situations like that, I find it hard to believe they were really that close. The TCAS systems on both planes would be going bonkers. It would be screaming at one of them to climb and one of them to decend. The air traffic control center would be getting the same warnings. The controller would be annoucing a traffic alert to both planes. You really need to try hard to have a mid-air collision.

    The triple seven is only 50' wider and 25' longer, and 6' taller the Airbus. I see the same thing you all do, the photo makes it look like they are on top of eachother. However, knowing what little i know about air traffic control, I have to believe the camera is a lot more deceiving than it looks like.


    A300
    Wing span: 147ft 1in
    Length: 177ft 5in)
    Height 54ft 6.5in
    Wing area 2798.7sq ft



    777
    Wing span: 199ft 11in
    Length: 209ft 1in
    Height: 60ft 9in
    Wing area: 4605sq ft

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  4. #4
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    I am not a photographer, but from the Snopes article (http://www.snopes.com/photos/airplane/closedhl.asp) on this picture, check out this link (http://www.photozone.de/3Technology/...alCompress.htm) on focal length and perspective. Given the picture was taken at a soccer match, it is quite possible the photographer had a telephoto lens, which if I understand the description correctly, could cause the bakground object appear compressed and much closer to the foreground object.

    Just a guess...

  5. #5
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    First off, it is one more reason not to fly. I hate flying.....


    That being said, nmfire - there have been numerous incidents of mid-air and on the ground collisions despite the best systems and computers involved. It will only get more and more complex and more likely to occur with increased air travel and an increased number of private aircraft filling the skies. Despite the technology, it will only offer so much protection.
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  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber SteveDude's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback Gents...Crossfire, looking at the second link you posted shows the difference a lens could make. And as someone who does some photography (very amatuer..no technical knowledge) I have noticed that with differing Lens.

    And in no way am I saying htat the planes were as close as they look...I have an issue with the 2.5 miles stated by the CAA. I think less than 1000ft though?

    As I said earlier (Correction; Heathrow is the thrid busiest airport for passenger traffic) its the London Airspace that is busiest in the World with all the trans atlantic stuff funnelling by us. Anyway, aircraft are a very regular occurence by is in London...9/11 was the eeriest day I can remember becuase the sky was so quiet... So we are all well used to this, but for Londoners to notice this and a photographer to record it, it must have been something?

    NM Fire, thanks for the info on the aircraft & ATC, Da Sharkie...my sentiments entirely, I have no idea how we have gone 33 years without a major incident.
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  7. #7
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaSharkie
    First off, it is one more reason not to fly. I hate flying.....


    That being said, nmfire - there have been numerous incidents of mid-air and on the ground collisions despite the best systems and computers involved. It will only get more and more complex and more likely to occur with increased air travel and an increased number of private aircraft filling the skies. Despite the technology, it will only offer so much protection.
    Of course, however I bet if you look at the number of incidents that have been avoided, it would illustrate my point. These aren't small private aircraft either. You aren't going to find a TCAS system in a little cessna, but I'd bet both of those aircraft have the best systems in existance and are under control of an air traffic control center. So there are two flight crews with eyes, an ATC controller, a TCAS on each plane, and collision warning on the ATC radar. You really need to try to screw it up. Plus, if they were really that close, the spectators would have seen at least one of them make some kind of evasive maneuver upon visual contact.

    I just have a hard time believing that both flight crews, the entire air traffic control center staff, and three anti-collision systems failed to notice what that picture portrays.

    The lens distorting depth explanation is MUCH more believable to me.
    http://www.photozone.de/3Technology/...alCompress.htm
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  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Not totally.

    I am a photo buff too, and while depth compression is certainly to blame for the planes looking like they are about to collide, it is still not different enough to believe there is 2.5 miles between them. Look at the example given in the photozone link.

    1. As the lens is zoomed, the size of the foreground object increases dramatically in relation to the background objects. When fully zoomed, the light post is massive in relation to the church.

    2. The planes in the pic are very far away to begin with, so the scale distortion will not be as dramatic, but regardless, since the closer plane in the picture looks almost the right scale to the further plane, It doesn't seem to jive that they are 2.5 miles apart.

    It very well could be that the planes are in fact that far apart, as I am no expert by any means. But if I was a betting man, I would put the distance in the hundreds of meters, or thousands of feet, instead of tens of thousands of feet.
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  9. #9
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    I doubt 2.5 miles as well. But I am quite confident they are nowhere near as close as the picture portrays and are probably a very safe distance apart. Probably several thousand feet.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    BULL$hit!!!

    Someone played with paintshop on this one. If you look at both versions of the pic, they should actually be touching. Look at the shadowing and lighting as well, doesn't match. Photography is a hobby of mine as well...

    I will convey some info I learned being former Chief of the ARFF dept. at our local airport.

    Air traffic systems always have a set of rules that mandate the minimum separation distances between aircraft. These distances vary widely depending on the system being used for navigation and/or surveillance. For example, a fast-turning, short range airport radar allows for three miles in-trail separation between two aircraft, (this means that aircraft in this controlled area cannot be any closer than 3 miles horizontally and 1000ft vertically)

    Altitude, as determined by barometric altimeters, is a preferred method of separation, since aircraft that maintain different altitudes cannot collide no matter what their route. The usual minimum is 1000 feet of vertical separation, though this is increased to as much as 5000 feet at very high altitudes.

    Standard phraseology is also set forth to reduce confusion and possible errors. Flight crews are usually required to repeat back control instructions given by the controller to further reduce errors in communication.

    Also large commercial aircraft are equiped with what is called TACAN-Tactical Air Navigation Aid. This broadcasts bearing, altitude, air speed, and distance between NAVAIDS to air traffic control (ATC) and other aircraft. (this is how they tracked the flights on Sept. 11, 2001) This TACAN will alert ATC if that aircraft gets within the minimum of 3 miles of another. It will also broadcast this info to any other aircraft that is equiped with TACAN in that 3 miles.

    So.......being 2.5 miles away from each other is a violation or what they ATC guys call a "deal." A "deal" is anytime 2 aircraft get to close. Plus now newer aircraft are being equiped with a not so expensive "situational radar" which is just basically a low frequency, low intensity radar wave that lets you know you are within that minimum distance between planes. The only draw back is that it lets you know if ANYTHING is within that minimum distance. It works like the back up alarm on newer cars for things that are close to the car so you don't back into it. Basically a system to say "hey dummy, change your altitude or bearing so you don't something."

    Mid-air collisions are rare because of the regulations and safety features. If a pilot did not make a course correction before even being able to read the writing on the side of it, chances are he/she was not at the controls or was incapacitated. It hardly ever gets this close.

    So, confused yet??

    Here is a link to read more if you want.

    http://www.downport.com/bard/bard/gail/gail0005.html
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  11. #11
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    Hey guys.I've been an Air Traffic Controller for 15 years with Tower experience currently an Area Controller in Gander Newfoundland, CANADA. We transition Trans-Atlantic traffic to and from Canadian domestic airspace.

    What you're all saying is very true and accurate....`deals` suck ***...separation standards are varied and dependant on a number of complicated guidelines....for example did anyone know that aircraft approaching on parallel runways in certain parts of some countries only have to be 750' laterally apart? Dependant on aircraft capabilities, Nav/Comm equipment of the agency in use...blah...blah....Check this pic out, these aircraft are separated and safe...



    ...Because of the lack of details about what Altitude the aircraft are at...what angle the camera is at....what zoom....both companies deny that there was any issues, I don't think it was a near miss...

    My opinion though.
    Last edited by lightsandsound; 02-07-2006 at 12:28 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Well if its not a near miss, its a near-hit!
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  13. #13
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    Well yeah...that goes without saying...I'll give you that.....but it's definately not a near miss.
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    Are those planes holding hands?

  15. #15
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    The pic was taken at San Fransisco....there's a good chance they're holding hands......If they're guys.
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  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber SteveDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey
    BULL$hit!!!

    Someone played with paintshop on this one. If you look at both versions of the pic, they should actually be touching. Look at the shadowing and lighting as well, doesn't match. Photography is a hobby of mine as well...

    I will convey some info I learned being former Chief of the ARFF dept. at our local airport.

    Air traffic systems always have a set of rules that mandate the minimum separation distances between aircraft. These distances vary widely depending on the system being used for navigation and/or surveillance. For example, a fast-turning, short range airport radar allows for three miles in-trail separation between two aircraft, (this means that aircraft in this controlled area cannot be any closer than 3 miles horizontally and 1000ft vertically)

    Altitude, as determined by barometric altimeters, is a preferred method of separation, since aircraft that maintain different altitudes cannot collide no matter what their route. The usual minimum is 1000 feet of vertical separation, though this is increased to as much as 5000 feet at very high altitudes.

    Standard phraseology is also set forth to reduce confusion and possible errors. Flight crews are usually required to repeat back control instructions given by the controller to further reduce errors in communication.

    Also large commercial aircraft are equiped with what is called TACAN-Tactical Air Navigation Aid. This broadcasts bearing, altitude, air speed, and distance between NAVAIDS to air traffic control (ATC) and other aircraft. (this is how they tracked the flights on Sept. 11, 2001) This TACAN will alert ATC if that aircraft gets within the minimum of 3 miles of another. It will also broadcast this info to any other aircraft that is equiped with TACAN in that 3 miles.

    So.......being 2.5 miles away from each other is a violation or what they ATC guys call a "deal." A "deal" is anytime 2 aircraft get to close. Plus now newer aircraft are being equiped with a not so expensive "situational radar" which is just basically a low frequency, low intensity radar wave that lets you know you are within that minimum distance between planes. The only draw back is that it lets you know if ANYTHING is within that minimum distance. It works like the back up alarm on newer cars for things that are close to the car so you don't back into it. Basically a system to say "hey dummy, change your altitude or bearing so you don't something."

    Mid-air collisions are rare because of the regulations and safety features. If a pilot did not make a course correction before even being able to read the writing on the side of it, chances are he/she was not at the controls or was incapacitated. It hardly ever gets this close.

    So, confused yet??

    Here is a link to read more if you want.

    http://www.downport.com/bard/bard/gail/gail0005.html

    Dickey,
    I don't doubt what you have said at all here and you obviously have a clear knowledge of ATC. But the photo was not Bullsh1t made on the PC by some geek.

    It was a press Photogprapher who took the photo at a Premiership Football Match with a crowd of 30,000. There were numerous people who saw this including 2 Paramedics who I have spoken to about it, who were nowhere near the Press pen so could not have spoken to the photographer.

    Although it may not have been a near miss by aviation standards, there were a lot of people around who saw it and thought it was very close....like I said earlier, these are people who live their lives under the busiest flight corridor in the World so lots of aircraft flying around our skies are common.
    Last edited by SteveDude; 02-07-2006 at 01:45 PM.
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  17. #17
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    it looks fake to me. not saying it is, but it sure does look fake. both of em do.

  18. #18
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by permaprobie
    Well if its not a near miss, its a near-hit!

    Bingo. Another one of thoese funny phrases in the English Language. If you "nearly missed" something, it means just that, you nearly missed it, but didnt.

    Reminds me of when we were flying up to the Pierce factory for our new quint a couple years ago. About an hour into the flight, Im looking out the window and what do I see? Another plane comming at us just off the right wing. It passed underneath us, at what looked like 50 yards, max. To this day I dont belive that was supposed to happen. Talk about your "pucker factor".
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