A balloon came so close to a helicopter over Portsoy in Aberdeenshire that there was a risk of collision, an official probe has found.
The UK Airprox Board, which investigates near misses, said the object could not be traced.
But the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter had to take immediate avoiding action “in order to miss the balloon.”
“The S92 pilot reports in the cruise to Aberdeen at 2000ft. As they coasted in at Portsoy the (second pilot) spotted a large helium balloon with suspended weight directly ahead and avoiding action was taken immediately in order to miss the balloon. Once passed the object the crew returned back on track and reported the incident to air traffic control,” said the report.
“The Aberdeen controller did not submit a report but stated in subsequent correspondence that the S92 pilot did not declare an Airprox with the controller, but did advise him of the balloon for awareness.
“The balloon could not be traced to the release of a meteorological balloon in the vicinity.
“Being an un-tethered and unmanned balloon, the board agreed that it was not under direct control and that the incident was therefore best described as a conflict…….
“The board considered that the pilot’s account of the incident and his ability to avoid the object portrayed a situation where safety had been much reduced below the norm to the extent that safety had not been assured.”
The incident on May 31 was rated category B where safety was not assured.
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