A Spitfire involved in an airprox with an air ambulance helicopter may have been a replica, according to the latest report from the UK Airprox Board (UKAB). It happened over Portsmouth Harbour on the UK’s south coast last July.
The incident was classed as a Category B airprox, the second most serious type, because the two aircraft were within 150m of each other, and the helicopter, an AgustaWestland AW139, had to tighten a turn a to avoid the Spitfire.
The reason why the UKAB thinks the Spitfire may have been a replica was because it was not picked up by NATS radar although the helicopter was, suggesting the Spitfire had limited reflective radar cross-section. It meant the pilot of the Spitfire could not be traced although there are known to be several Spitfire replicas flying in the area.
The AW139 pilot reported that he was over Portsmouth Harbour when a crew member spotted the Spitfire heading towards them from the north, on a collision course. The AW139 pilot turned steeply to the right but the Spitfire appeared to turn towards him. The AW139 pilot then tightened his turn and descended. The Spitfire was last seen heading south-east.
The latest report from the UKAB can be read on the UKAB website (link below). Three of the four Category A airprox reports (the most serious) involved drones and the fourth a paramotor.
Interactive Airprox Map
An interactive map of UK Airprox locations is available online. It has been created by Chris Fox, a member of the Airprox Board. It can be found here