Lakenheath F-15 in ‘wrong turn’ near miss with helicopter

A USAF F-15C Eagle takes off from RAF Lakenheath'Picture USAF/SSgt Emerson Nunez

A USAF fighter from RAF Lakenheath had a near miss with an RAF helicopter after making a wrong turn.

A report from the UK Airprox Board says the pilot of an F-15C made a navigational error when he turned into the Llanberis Pass in Wales, which is reserved for helicopter training.

An RAF Griffin helicopter'Picture: Sgt Jack Pritchard, RAF PR

The USAF Europe told the board: “It has long been recognized by the [48th Fighter] Wing that the Llanberis Pass is not to be entered by fixed wing aircraft. In this case, the crew mistook the Llanberis Pass for the adjacent Nant Ffrancon Pass.”

The crew of an RAF Griffin helicopter on a training mission in Llanberis Pass in July were alerted by their systems to another aircraft about a mile away. They saw the fast approaching jet and took evasive action, as did the fighter pilot.

The board suggests the UK Military Low Flying Handbook should be changed from ‘fixed wing aircraft should not enter the Llanberis Pass’ to ‘shall not’ to avoid confusion.

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