ANNE NINE SECONDS FROM JET DISASTER; pounds 50m RAF fighter crosses path.Byline: JANE KERR, Royal Reporter
PRINCESS Anne came within nine seconds of disaster in a near miss with the RAF's new 1,500mph fighter jet yesterday.
Her royal plane and the pounds 50million Typhoon typhoon: see hurricane. were just 3.3 miles apart at 28,000ft when air traffic controllers spotted them on a collision path.
They ordered 54-year-old Anne's pilot to change course immediately.
Last night a full investigation was ordered into how the RAF plane, currently on trials, violated the royal jet's airspace. Anne's HS125 had taken off from RAF Lyneham RAF Lyneham (IATA: LYE, ICAO: EGDL) is a Royal Air Force station in Wiltshire, England. It is the home of all the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft of the Royal Air Force. The station is also home to No.38 Expeditionary Air Wing. , Wilts.
It was over Morecambe Bay Morecambe Bay, shallow inlet of the Irish Sea, 16 mi (26 km) long and 10 mi (16.1 km) wide, separating Furness peninsula from the mainland, NW England. It receives the Kent and Lune rivers. Shrimp are caught there, and its extensive tidal flats are cockling grounds. , Lancs, on the way to Scotland when the near miss happened at 10am.
A National Air Traffic Service spokesman said: "The controller observed the Typhoon turn to cross ahead of the royal flight and immediately told the royal flight to take avoiding action." A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "An investigation has been launched but it would be inappropriate to comment further."
A Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace (bŭk`ĭng-əm), residence of British sovereigns from 1837, in Westminster metropolitan borough, London, England, adjacent to St. James's Park. source said: "The Princess Royal was informed immediately after the incident by her pilot. It wasn't desperately close. She simply continued with her engagements." The Typhoon, from British Aerospace's base in Warton, Lancs, had apparently strayed into a "purple" buffer zone, which protects all royal flights.
It is standard industry practice for controllers to keep passenger aircraft 1,000ft apart vertically, with a five-mile horizontal gap.
Seven months ago, Prince Charles's plane, heading for Spain, was involved in near miss with an Air Lingus airbus over Newbury, Berks.
DANGER: Anne's jet had to alter course; THREAT: The RAF's new Typhoon fighter