Shropshire Star

40ft from disaster: Spitfire and Chinook in near miss before 2018 Cosford Air Show

This is the frightening moment a Spitfire came within feet of smashing into a Chinook helicopter at RAF Cosford - the day before this year's air show attended by 60,000 people.

Last updated
The Spitfire and the Chinook helicopter came within 40ft of colliding.

The pilot of the huge helicopter shouted 'Vacate immediately' when he saw the Second World War fighter plane hurtling towards them, according to a report into the near miss.

The two aircraft were within just 40ft away from a collision in the incident on June 9.

The Chinook pilot, who was hovering at 25ft following a practice flight for the show, steered his helicopter out of danger as the Spitfire thundered past.

Joint Helicopter Command chiefs praised the Chinook’s crew for their ‘swift and calm reaction’ which ‘certainly prevented a potentially disastrous’ collision.

The report, by the UK Airprox Board, which investigates aviation near misses, says the experienced Spitfire pilot had made ‘dangerous assumptions’ and had ‘reduced situational awareness’.

Radio transcripts show that an air traffic controller gave permission for the Spitfire to land, but warned about the helicopter above the runway.

The Spitfire pilot claimed he only saw the helicopter as he approached.


The controller also said he had expected the Spitfire to approach at a minimum height of 500ft – the lowest level for approaches under military regulations – but investigators found that air-show organisers had not given documents to pilots to make that rule clear.

The Spitfire pilot said he had flown at the air show for 14 years at the same low level without ever being ‘questioned or criticised’.

The near miss was rated as a Category B incident where ‘safety had been much reduced below the norm’.

The Spitfire was a PR MK XI model owned by pilot Peter Teichman.

Built in 1944, it features in his Hangar 11 collection of vintage warplanes kept at North Weald in Essex.

Mr Teichman did not respond to the Shropshire Star's requests for a comment, and a representative would not divulge if he was flying the aircraft.

The plane – one of about 20,300 Spitfires made in different models – was used during the Second World War for reconnaissance, assessing the damage inflicted by Allied bombing.

RAF Cosford has been approached for comment.