Doofus Of The Day #1,037

Today’s award goes to the organizers of and participants in a gliding competition in England.

Glider pilots have been told to register their flights after a near miss with two F-15 fighter jets.

The British Gliding Association has now advised its members to issue special notices to other aviators when flying in large groups such as competitions.

It comes after a pair of of the US Air Force planes, flying at 380mph, came within a split second of smashing into a glider, a report has revealed.

One of the US pilots estimated that the gilder had flown just 100ft beneath them and just 330ft ahead.

. . .

The United States Air Force criticised the glider pilot, saying: “The wisdom of operating just to the south of the extended centreline of the main instrument runway of one of the busiest fighter bases in the UK must be questioned.”

UKAB members rated it as a Category B incident, where “safety had been much reduced below the norm”.

The report also questioned how the glider pilot assessed the collision risk as low, saying it had “caused some members to wonder whether he had a particularly robust approach to the risks of fast- jets flying so close by.”

UKAB noted that the gliding competition organisers had not put out an official ‘Notice to Airmen’, known to aviators as a NOTAM warning, about unusual air activity, because they believed it was unnecessary due to all of the pilots being local.

There’s more at the link.

“A particularly robust approach to the risks of fast- jets” . . . love that British understatement!  You’re in a plastic-and-carbon-fiber cockleshell, without an engine, sailing along in silence, and suddenly your peace and quiet is shattered by two steel-and-electronic monsters, each weighing well over 50,000 pounds, screaming past almost within touching distance at several hundred miles per hour.  That’d cure anyone’s constipation for sure – on both sides of the contact!



  1. Mayhaps the reason they were flying in the airspace WAS to congest the airspace. Don't underestimate the hatred AND stupidity of anti-warmongers.

  2. CDH:

    IIRC, sailplanes have a very weak radar return. Not much metal onboard. Might be an aluminum wheel for the single tire gear, and possibly a metal body for any avionics carried, if any. They could have metalized paint to help radar, but that's extra weight and expensive. Basically a ghost.

  3. Dave, there is a fair amount of steel in a jet. They try to reduce weight with titanium forgings and some exotic metals. Most of the aluminum is in the skins and less critical parts of the plane. There is a lot of stress on the airframe in a jet. On the other hand, a single-engine plane is mostly aluminum because it is basically a glider with an engine. Worked in both types of factories.

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