The Flybe plane was approaching George Best Belfast Airport at 2,000ft when the safety of the aircraft “may have been compromised”

By Bradley Jolly

Dozens of Flybe passengers had a close shave when a plane came within a split second of crashing at 195mph, a report revealed today.

The Embraer 170 was 100ft away from ploughing into a paraglider eight miles east of George Best Belfast Airport.

Belfast Live says the report by the UK Airprox Board blamed the paramotor for “flying into conflict” with the twin-engined jet.

Flybe flight BE486 landed safely after the incident at around 7.30pm on August 13 last year.

UK Airprox Board, which investigates near misses in UK airspace, said the paramotor pilot could not be traced despite “intensive” efforts.

It called for the Civil Aviation Authority to review its licensing requirements for paramotor pilots as a result of the near miss.

The British Hand Gliding and Paragliding Association told investigators that it was “most fortunate that a collision did not occur”.

The report said: “Extensive enquiries with BHPA schools, clubs and paramotor rated pilots in Northern Ireland regarding whether any paramotor (or paraglider) pilots were operating in that area on the 13th August, have drawn a complete blank.

“However, the BHPA would like to add that a number of non- BHPA paramotor pilots operate in Northern Ireland who may not have had the benefit of any formal training in airmanship, air law or airspace restrictions.”

Timo Anderson, Flybe’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We note the findings contained in the Airprox Report relating to an incident which occurred on 13th August 2018 when an unidentified paramotor infringed controlled airspace and came into close proximity with Flybe flight BE486 on its approach to Belfast City Airport.

“We concur with the recommendations made in the report.

“Safety is always Flybe’s number one priority and we employ a rigorous approach to ensuring the very highest standards are met and maintained at all times to ensure the safety of our passengers and crew.”