A plane full of passengers traveling from Mallorca to Manchester was seconds away from a mid-air crash

The Ryanair plane came within seconds of colliding with a private plane and barely managed to maneuver when the pilots spotted the other plane from the cockpit. REUTERS/Nacho Twelve (NACHO TWELVE/)

A Ryanair plane packed with British tourists returning to Manchester nearly collided in mid-flight.

The pilot of the flight from Mallorca and bound for the United Kingdom he was forced to drastically deviate from his route when he saw a private plane approaching his path.

The Boeing 737 had just taken off from Palma airport when it was about to collide and, according to radar tracking, came within 30 meters of the other plane.

Commercial aircraft are supposed to maintain strict vertical and horizontal separation while in the same airspace.

The minimum vertical separation is 304 meters, while the horizontal distance they must maintain is between 4,800 and 8,400 meters.

Initial investigation has revealed that the Ryanair plane was less than 1,600 meters from the plane horizontally and only 30.48 meters vertically.

The commercial plane had just taken off, was traveling at 240 km/h and was accelerating rapidly, and the paths of the two planes were converging, so it is believed that the two planes could have been just 20 seconds away from colliding.

The Ryanair crew turned away from the other private jet, a Cirrus SF50, only after spotting it from the cockpit, instead of being alerted by air traffic control or one of the on-board warning systems, as it should have been.

The private plane was a Cirrus SF50, similar to the SR20 seen in the photo.
The private plane was a Cirrus SF50, similar to the SR20 seen in the photo.

Passengers on the May 28 flight are believed to have been unaware of the accident and both planes proceeded safely to their destination.

Those responsible for Spanish aviation have opened an investigation into the incident.

“The Palma to Manchester combat crew took immediate action upon identifying a converging light type aircraft and as a result the aircraft remained well clear and the flight continued towards Manchester”An airline spokesman said.

“The event is still being investigated, and we remain in contact with the respective competent authorities in support of the associated processes,” he added.

The near miss took place in Palma de Mallorca when the Boeing 737, full of vacationers, had been cleared to take off and was climbing the main runway.

The Cirrus plane, with a Spanish registration, had taken off from the nearby Son Bonet airfield and was climbing to more than 304 meters, according to air traffic control records and radar readings.

Pilots are trained to always turn right when they fear being too close to another plane.

A Ryanair source told British media: “The captain and the first officer did exactly what they are trained to do. They were attentive to the situation and did everything according to their training.”

FILE PHOTO.  A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 aircraft takes off from Palma de Mallorca airport, Spain.  REUTERS/Paul Hanna
FILE PHOTO. A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 aircraft takes off from Palma de Mallorca airport, Spain. REUTERS/Paul Hanna (Paul Hanna/)

The investigation will examine the instructions given to the two plane captains and the blame is likely to fall on Spanish air traffic controllers.

It will not be the first time that Spanish controllers have been blamed for an accident with Ryanair.

Two years ago, controllers at Malaga airport were blamed for putting two Ryanair planes on a collision course on the same runway.

The two planes, loaded with more than 350 tourists, came within 500 meters of each other when one landed and the other took off.

An investigation into the accident found that an air traffic controller at Malaga airport it failed to warn the plane leaving the runway that another plane was about to land just as it was speeding down the runway.

A report from the General Directorate of Civil Aviation blamed the air traffic controllers at the Costa del Sol airport – one of the busiest in Spain – for the error.

The report notes that it is the latest in a series of incidents in which planes come too close when landing and taking off.

Following the investigation, new security measures were applied at Malaga airport to prevent similar incidents.

The incident report made it clear that the Ryanair crew was not to blame.

“The investigation has determined that the incident occurred because an aircraft was cleared to land on a runway that was occupied by another aircraft in the process of taking off, without respecting the regulatory distance,” the report said.

“It is considered that a factor that contributed to the incident was the poor planning of the air traffic controller, who took advantage of a gap between two landings to authorize the takeoff. Given the immediate danger posed by the loss of regulatory separation, it is considered that the absence of decision-making (to cancel the takeoff, for example) by the air traffic controller was also a factor.he concluded.


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