Plane nearly hit city's radio mast

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The Independent Online
AN AIRCRAFT carrying 48 passengers came close to a transmitter mast in a heavily populated part of a city centre after it flew wildly off course, according to a report published yesterday.

The Brymon Airways Dash-8 plane flew near the radio mast in the Northfield area of Aberdeen as it was coming in to land on 29 September last year.

The report into the incident, by the Air Accident Investigations Branch, found the plane was only 27 metres from the mast vertically but 650 metres away laterally.

According to witness reports, the plane also came close to hitting Stockethill Court, a 15-storey tower block. The approach was so low that leaves of the trees in the playground of nearby Cornhill Primary School were rustled in the aircraft's slipstream. The AAIB report found that the 51-year-old pilot made a series of errors. The course he set for landing was 90 degrees off what it should have been, it said.

He had to abandon his first attempt at landing and as he attempted a "go around" to land again, he got his height/speed ratio muddled before the plane levelled at the height agreed with air traffic controllers and landed safely.

The report said the captain, who has since resigned, intended to attempt a manual approach, but re-engaged the autopilot during the first descent. He ended up well away from where he should have been, but was unaware why.