Saturday, August 11, 2007

Near miss

I forgot to mention in the Venezuela post that I think my plane had a near-miss on the way back. We had just crossed the French coast, and I was looking out of the window down to Nantes when a white flash caught my eye. Coming from the north, flying on a path perpendicular to ours, was an Easyjet plane. It was very close and slightly higher than us: I know that it is difficult to estimate distances in the air, but it was easily inside a kilometre. It flew past, presumably missing our tail by a few hundred metres but close enough that I heard its engines. This all happened in a couple of seconds. When we landed, my colleague (who was sitting a couple of rows in front of me, also at a window seat) confirmed my observations. He flies a lot, and said that it was easily (pardon the pun) the closest that he has seen a plane in the air, and that he was worried for a brief second.

So there we are. I reckon that we were a second or two from disaster. The distances were surely well within the minimum allowed; I also thought that there were automated systems that would alter the paths of the planes if this happened. Our flight path did not seem to alter, and I don't think that a lot of people noticed (it was early in the morning, so many windows were closed). It seems incredible that, with planes being so small and the skies being so big, you can get anywhere near another plane; it also reminded me that, whilst plane travel is very safe, you are still a passenger in a 500mph bullet.


Blogger Nev 360 said...

Green, such tales do not help me get over my fear of flying you know.

12:32 am  
Blogger swishfish said...

It certainly made me a bit twitchy until we landed...

11:00 am  

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