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A terrified airline pilot ducked to avoid a UFO he feared was going to smash into his plane at 34,000ft.
The captain of the packed Airbus A320 spotted the silver object heading straight for the cockpit as his plane flew above Berkshire.
He was looking out of the left window a split second before the bizarre incident.
The Board established that there did not appear to be any conflicting traffic on radar and that no TCAS alerts or advisories had been issued. The involvement of a meteorological balloon was ruled out and it was calculated that a helium filled envelope would have to be of the order of 1m in diameter to reach FL340, hence ruling out commercially available toy balloons. Nevertheless, the A320 pilot was subject to a powerful impression of immediate danger, caused by his perception of an object closing rapidly on his aircraft. Although only supposition, members opined that this may have been due to a combination of a possible reflection from the low sun off one of the aircraft to the West, and of the pilot’s head movement as he looked forward. After some discussion it was decided that, although the reflection theory held some merit, the overall dearth of information relating to the event rendered a meaningful finding impossible.
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Would a "helium filled envelope" of 1m really be required to reach FL340?
I have to ask, is ducking part of the official manual on how to avoid oncoming objects when piloting a large aircraft?
Just goes to show that all the training in the world can't trump natural reactions.
For ease of reference, I'll paste the text of the Board's summary here :
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't we talking about two different radar systems here?
The Board established that there did not appear to be any conflicting traffic on radar and that no TCAS alerts or advisories had been issued.
Airbus has chosen the ACSS T3CAS traffic management computer as the standard surveillance avionics suite for the Airbus single-aisle narrowbody family of aircraft (A318, A319, A320 and A321). T3CAS combines–in a single LRU–key surveillance avionics, including traffic alert and collision avoidance system (Tcas)
When I get really tired and have to drive in areas that are not well lit I sometimes will see a person standing on the edge of the roadway. I have even moved over to make certain I do not hit them. About the time I get there I realize it is little more than a mirage. It is shortly after that I pull over and rest......
This pilot may have simply been tired. Or a UFO buzzed him.