A Flybe aircraft was “most fortunate” not to have collided with a paraglider near Carrick, according to a report published yesterday.
The UK Airprox Board report stated that the paraglider had entered the air space without clearance and the risk of collision with the plane which was on the approach to Belfast City Airport was described as “high”.
The report indicated that the paraglider had been seen moving within “100 ft to 200 ft” of the aircraft during an incident which occurred at 6.30 pm, on August 13, last year.
A crew member first thought that it was a drone, but as it got closer, a multi-coloured canopy could be seen.
It was suggested that the paraglider may have been crossing Belfast Lough from Carrick to Bangor.
No “para” activity had been reported or expected by Air Traffic Control and there was “no trace” of the paraglider on the controller’s radar.
The paramotor pilot has not been traced.
The UK Airprox Board has stated that paragliders must not operate in “such proximity to other aircraft as to create a collision hazard”.
Timo Anderson, Flybe’s chief operating officer, said: “We note the findings contained in the Airprox Report relating to an incident which occurred on 13th August 2018 when an unidentified paramotor infringed controlled airspace and came into close proximity with Flybe flight BE486 on its approach to Belfast City Airport. We concur the recommendations made in the report.
“Safety is always Flybe’s number one priority and we employ a rigorous approach to ensuring the very highest standards are met and maintained at all times to ensure the safety of our passengers and crew.”
The plane had been flying to Belfast from Manchester.