Air collision near Eastbourne avoided thanks to pilot

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Media captionMicrolight pilot Tom Harding said the CitationJet was flying too fast

Two aircraft only just missed colliding with each other over East Sussex because one of the pilots took evasive action, it has emerged.

Footage shows a microlight and a CitationJet missing each other by just a few hundred feet near Eastbourne at 13:49 GMT on 7 March.

Tom Harding, who was teaching a student in the microlight at the time, said the other plane was flying too fast.

An Airprox Board report found there had been a "serious risk of collision".

Mr Harding, a flight instructor with Flight Sport Aviation, said the Citation had been flying at a speed of 240 knots (276mph).

On spotting the other aircraft, he was able to "execute a steep turn to the right".

'Couldn't believe it'

Student pilot Tom McNicholas recalled: "It was extremely close to us.

"You could make out the whole jet... I just couldn't believe that we got that close."

The Airprox Board said "providence had played a major part", and assessed the risk as Category A.

It said members were perplexed that the jet's onboard collision avoidance system had not triggered an alert.

They also questioned whether it would have been better had both pilots been talking to a radar controller.

Mr Harding has been commended for his robust lookout and appropriate evasive response.

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