Image credit: Jim Smillie/Wikimedia Commons
A plane was dangerously close to colliding with an unidentified flying object on December 2, 2012 over Glasgow, Scotland.
According to the Daily Mail, the Airbus 320 was flying at an altitude of 3,500 feet over the Glasgow suburb of Baillieston as the plane made its approach to Scotland’s Glasgow International Airport. The plane’s pilots describe the UFO as “blue and yellow (or silver) in colour with a small frontal area,” and it was bigger than a balloon. Pilots report the object narrowly missed hitting the plane as it passed three-hundred feet below. The pilots assessed the risk of collision as “High.”
The UK Airprox Board (UKAB), a group that investigates reports of near-collisions, conducted an extensive investigation of the incident. In March 2013, UKAB released its assessment of the case. First, the radio communication between the plane and the tower at Glasgow airport was disclosed in the report. The conversation went as follows:
Plane: “Glasgow Approach [A320 C/S]”
Tower: “[A320 C/S] pass your message”
Plane: “Er yeah we just had something pass underneath us quite close [1255:30] and nothing on TCAS have you got anything on in our area”
Tower: “Er negative er we’ve got nothing on er radar and we’re n- not talking to any traffic either”
Plane: “Er not quite sure what it was but it definitely er quite large [1255:40] and it’s blue and yellow”
Tower: “OK that’s understood er do you have a an estimate for the height”
Plane: “Maybe er [1255:50] yeah we were probably about erm four hundred to five hundred feet above it so it’s probably about three and a half thousand feet.”
Once on the ground, the conversation continued:
Plane: “. . . we seemed to only miss it by a couple of hundred feet it went directly beneath us . . . wherever we were when we called it in it was within about ten seconds . . . couldn’t tell what direction it was going but it went right underneath us”
Tower: “Do you suspect it might have been a glider or something like that”
Plane: “Well maybe a microlight . . . it just looked too big for a balloon.”
The UFO was not detected on radar, and the Board ruled out weather balloons, fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft, or man-carrying balloons. The Board was unable to identify the object, and classified the near-collision as a category D degree of risk–the Board’s second to highest level of risk.