They were on their final approach to Scotland’s Glasgow airport when an unidentified object passed within 300 feet of the Airbus A320 passenger jet. “Er yeah we just had something pass underneath us quite close [1255:30] and nothing on TCAS have you got anything on in our area” said the pilot to Glasgow tower, reports the BBC.
The TCAS’ of which the pilot mentions is the A320’s Traffic Collision Avoidance System, which communicates with other aircraft, several times per second, alerting two aircraft that are dangerously close to each other. The system was silent as the A320 was preparing to land, in clear conditions, at an altitude of about 4,000 feet. It was then that the pilot and non-flying pilot saw an object about 300 feet (100 meters) ahead.
Described as “blue and yellow or silver in color with a small frontal area, but ‘bigger than a balloon,’ the object moved quickly and came so close to the A320 that the pilot filed a near-miss report with authorities.Glasgow air traffic control said that while there were no other objects in the area of the A320 at the time, they did have an “unidentified track history” 1.3 nautical miles east of the A320’s position 28 seconds earlier.
Not likely another aircraft, glider, hang-glider, para-motor, para-glider, hot-air balloon or helicopter – all of which would have shown up on radar. The object is still unidentified.
Here is animation of the event, as it unfolded: