TWO passenger planes reportedly came within 25 seconds of a direct collision just 12 miles from the Australian city of Adelaide.
The Qantas planes were travelling between Perth and Sydney when the lower of the two was given permission to climb to a higher altitude. This put the aircraft on a collision course which was only averted when the onboard computer advised the upper plane to take action.
Richard Woodward, vice-president of the Australian and International Pilots’ Association, told Sydney newspaper The Age: “The computer warning system is time-based, but typically it’s about 25 seconds head-on. It’ll go “climb now” or “descend now”, and that’s a resolution advisory. They got one of those, so I assume they were within 25 seconds of each other.”
Woodward described the computerised warnings as “the last line of defence”, and said that the pilots would not have had time to avert a crash without the beacon.
Qantas said in a statement: “Our pilots followed standard operating procedures in re-establishing the required separation distance following the alert from the onboard notification system. There was no impact to passengers.”