Recent blog readers may recall previous posts (click here and here) about the 19 March 2014, near miss, between a Skippers Aviation aircraft (VH-XFX click here for details of this aircraft) and an "unknown," near Perth International airport. A little research found that this is not the first such event at this location.
As part of the response to a Freedom of Information request to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) I received the details of a 1998 incident.
At 1515hrs on 8 November 1998, an aircraft was 28kms NW of Perth Aerodrome, Western Australia. The pilot reported an unidentified flying object, bright red/orange in colour, 30 metres below his plane, travelling very fast, as the aircraft passed 9,000 feet. The object was estimated to be approximately 2 metres across. The pilot said he believed that the object may have been a model aircraft.
The "West Australian" newspaper, of Saturday, 18 April 2009, page 7 ran the headline "Toy plane crashes into jet."
The story was that a radio controlled model aircraft had collided with a jet, either a Virgin Blue or a Qantas aircraft. Two young men had been observed operating the model, some 500 metres from the runway threshold.
A more detailed account appeared on page nine of the Tuesday, 21 April 2009, issue of the "West Australian."
At 0800hrs on Friday 17 April 2009, a model aircraft "...came within seconds of colliding with the 160 seat 737 aircraft..." "Enthusiasts from Australian and New Zealand have tracked down the man they believe responsible...and have given his details and the video to WA police." The model plane was 88cm long, with a 1 metre wingspan, and weighed 850g. The video taken by the operator of the model is still available to view, on Youtube (click here.)
Compare the above two incidents, both of which appear to have involved model aircraft, with the 19 March 2014 event.
In 2014, the "unknown" was described by the pilot as:
* Cylindrical in shape - no wings, propellors, etc. were reported
* Grey in colour
* Had what appeared to be a "strobe light" on it.
In addition, the "unknown":
* did not appear on primary radar
* did not trigger the aircraft's TCAS (click here for details about TCAS.)
The ATSB was unable to locate a UAV operator who might have been operating a UAV in the area at the time.
For a very detailed look at what the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has to say about what it refers to as "Remotely Piloted Aircraft" (or UAV) click here. It makes for very interesting reading.
In summary, this 2014 near miss between an aircraft and an "unknown," in my opinion, remains a UAP (unidentified aerial phenomenon), the subject of interest of this blog.