Near miss UAP & commercial aircraft - Western Australia (2014)

ManInBlack

Active Member
This is an interesting case because it has been investigated by the Australian Government (Australian Transport Safety Bureau). The case was closed even though it was a serious incident, this is unusual.

What we know:

- The incident occurred on the 19/03/2014
- 0913 Western Standard Time (WST)
- The location of the incident was near Perth Airport, NNE 23 km Latitude: 31° 44.62' S Longitude: 116° 02.60' E
- 3,700 ft above mean sea level (AMSL)
- Object was cylindrical in shape and grey in colour


Summary of the near miss below, with link to official paperwork:

On 19 March 2014, at about 0913 Western Standard Time (WST), a De Havilland DHC-8, registered VH-XFX, was on approach to Perth Airport from Kambalda, Western Australia. When about 23 km north-northeast of Perth, at about 3,800 ft above mean sea level (AMSL), the crew sighted a bright strobe light directly in front of the aircraft.

The light appeared to track towards the aircraft and the crew realised that the light was on an unknown object, possibly an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The pilot took evasive action turning towards the west to avoid a collision with the object. The object passed about 20 m horizontally and 100 ft vertically from the aircraft.

The pilot reported that the object was cylindrical in shape and grey in colour. It was at about 3,700 ft AMSL and in controlled airspace. The crew did not receive a traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) alert. The airspace below 3,500 ft AMSL was military restricted airspace.

The ATSB was advised that the Australian Defence Force was not operating UAVs and was not aware of any UAV operations in the area at the time of the incident. The ATSB was not able to confirm the details of the object or identify any UAV operator in the area at that time.


https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2014/aair/ao-2014-052
 
Last edited:
*Additional information*

Inserted the LAT and LONG co-ordinates, the red icon is the where the plane had the near miss overhead (see below). This is not far from Perth city.


1685251142249.png


1685251100516.png
 
*Addtional information*

Found the registration of the plane (see below)

The aircraft registration database was last refreshed from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) on 23/May/2023

Operated by SKIPPERS AVIATION PTY LTD https://skippers.com.au/

https://www.regosearch.com/aircraft/au/XFX

At the time of the incident the visibility was clear. See below the weather from the main Perth weather station.

1685252029775.png



Source: https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/australia/perth/historic?month=3&year=2014
 

Attachments

  • 1685252018056.png
    1685252018056.png
    573.3 KB · Views: 76
Last edited:
*Additional information*

The pilot, male, age 26 utterly ruled out the possibility of the object being a weather balloon

* The object was travelling in the opposite direction to him, not merely hovering or floating
* He and the co-pilot registered “complete shock”
* Air Services Australia confirmed that no other flight crew reported seeing the object (via ground radio when he landed)
* When he thought the object might collide with his plane, he sought a heading change from ATC, but this was denied. He therefore changed course himself
* The object was still going “up,” as well as travelling horizontally when it passed his aircraft
* He estimated it was only 100m from his aircraft at most, he said it could have been as close as 30m
* It had the ratio dimension wise of a cigarette, i.e. long and thin
* He said it was green in colour, military green actually, even though the ATSB report cites the colour as grey
* The strobe light on front had a flash frequency of a second interval at most. It was whitish in colour, and not red, or blue, or any other colour
* The total duration of the event did not exceed 15 seconds
* A very rough estimate of the speed of the aircraft at the time was perhaps 450km/hr, despite being on a landing approach
* No other aircraft crew reported seeing anything. There was no radar image of the object. ASA staff saw nothing on radar
* It definitely went past the aircraft on the left hand side
* The pilot undertook a voluntary drug, urine test upon landing
* He has no idea what it was, and didn’t want it to happen again
*There were 53 passengers on board at the time

Source: https://soperth.com.au/entertainmen...l-pilots-report-strange-objects-over-city-685

'...military sources have ruled out the possibility of a drone or a missile test from known military sites like Pearce Air Base. An assertion that is backed by the ATSA's report from the 2014 incident...'

Source: https://www.watoday.com.au/national...n-object-in-perths-skies-20150205-1373zm.html

Note that the description recorded by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau was that it was grey even thought the pilot stated it was green.
 
Last edited:
Summary of the near miss below, with link to official paperwork:

On 19 March 2014, at about 0913 Western Standard Time (WST), a De Havilland DHC-8, registered VH-XFX, was on approach to Perth Airport from Kambalda, Western Australia. When about 23 km north-northeast of Perth, at about 3,800 ft above mean sea level (AMSL), the crew sighted a bright strobe light directly in front of the aircraft.

The light appeared to track towards the aircraft and the crew realised that the light was on an unknown object, possibly an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The pilot took evasive action turning towards the west to avoid a collision with the object. The object passed about 20 m horizontally and 100 ft vertically from the aircraft.

The pilot reported that the object was cylindrical in shape and grey in colour. It was at about 3,700 ft AMSL and in controlled airspace. The crew did not receive a traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) alert. The airspace below 3,500 ft AMSL was military restricted airspace.

The ATSB was advised that the Australian Defence Force was not operating UAVs and was not aware of any UAV operations in the area at the time of the incident. The ATSB was not able to confirm the details of the object or identify any UAV operator in the area at that time.


https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2014/aair/ao-2014-052
The summary is actually a direct quote from the ATSB report, and should have been formatted as such. Use this button:
Screenshot_20230311-061134_Samsung Internet.jpg

on the forum editor to get this:
External Quote:
UAVs are increasingly available to recreational operators and their operation outside of the regulations may pose a significant risk to aviation safety.

SmartSelect_20230528-082941_Samsung Notes.jpg
That being said, the ATSB identified it as a drone. I don't see any evidence calling that in question.
 
Thanks! One thing missing from this report so far is an estimate of size. This would affect the apparent distance and apparent speed of the object.

If the pilot drastically misjudged the size of the object it may have been closer or further away, and the true velocity could then change significantly. It may even have been more-or-less stationary and the apparent movement a result of parallax.
 
The summary is actually a direct quote from the ATSB report, and should have been formatted as such. Use this button:View attachment 59523
on the forum editor to get this:
External Quote:
UAVs are increasingly available to recreational operators and their operation outside of the regulations may pose a significant risk to aviation safety.

View attachment 59522
That being said, the ATSB identified it as a drone. I don't see any evidence calling that in question.

The ATSB was not able to confirm the details of the object or identify any UAV operator in the area at that time, so it is still confirmed 'unknown'.
 
and we wouldn't expect them to be able to do that

still, at this point we know this observation can't be evidence for anything else. It's irrelevant for the theme of this subforum.
The specific claim of evidence is that it is a UAV, I don't think it was. I'm not here to debate broader theories?
 
The specific claim of evidence is that it is a UAV, I don't think it was. I'm not here to debate broader theories?
I don't understand why you think it wasn't a UAV (drone). What facts speak against it?

Metabunk aims to discuss claims of evidence for abnormal phenomena.
In the "UFOs and aliens" subforum, I'd expect a thread starter claim to show evidence for a UFO or alien. But you've only cited evidence for near miss being a drone.


This is an interesting case because it has been investigated by the Australian Government (Australian Transport Safety Bureau). The case was closed even though it was a serious incident, this is unusual.
Nobody was injured or killed, there wasn't any damage, and the pilot reacted appropriately. From an air traffic safety perspective, the incident wasn't serious at all. Also, there wasn't anything left to investigate. It's absolutely to be expected for the case to be closed.
 
The case was closed even though it was a serious incident, this is unusual.
is it unusual?
from page 4 of the ATSB report
The object of a safety investigation is to identify and reduce safety-related risk. ATSB investigations determine and communicate the safety factors related to the transport safety matter being investigated. It is not a function of the ATSB to apportion blame or determine liability. At the same time, an investigation report must include factual material of sufficient weight to support the analysis and findings. At all times the ATSB endeavours to balance the use of material that could imply adverse comment with the need to properly explain what happened, and why, in a fair and unbiased manner.

About this report
Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, a limited-scope, fact-gathering investigation was conducted in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.
 
This sounds somewhat similar to the aircraft reported by the AA crew over New Mexico back in February 2021.
 
Yes, it does. Here's Metabunk's thread about that sighting.
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/a-cruise-missile-type-of-thing-spotted-by-aa2292.11626/
Unresolved, but likely a small private jet crossing at a higher level.
Interesting...this object was seen within 100m according to the information above. It wouldn't be a cruise missile over high traffic airspace. If it is a drone it would have to be something more commercial at that height and it's likely it would have been picked up by air traffic at 3500ft.
 
Interesting...this object was seen within 100m according to the information above.
But this distance can only have been an estimate by the pilot, and since he does not give a size then the distance must also be unknown.

If the object were 10 metres long it would need to be moving very quickly in the opposite direction to the plane; if it were 2 metres long it would be moving much more slowly, and if it were just one metre long (a small drone or balloon) it could conceivably been stationary and all the movement would be a result of the plane's movement.

Small, cylindrical balloons are seen quite often and mistaken for flying craft. Here's one
tic-tac-nimitz-jpg.30750
 
Last edited:
But this distance can only have been an estimate by the pilot, and since he does not give a size then the distance must also be unknown.

If the object were 10 metres long it would need to be moving very quickly in the opposite direction to the plane; if it were 2 metres long it would be moving much more slowly, and if it were just one metre long (a small drone or balloon) it could conceivably been stationary and all the movement would be a result of the plane's movement.

Small, cylindrical balloons are seen quite often and mistaken for flying craft. Here's one
tic-tac-nimitz-jpg.30750
Please read above '* The strobe light on front had a flash frequency of a second interval at most. It was whitish in colour, and not red, or blue, or any other colour'

A ballon like that does not have lights. A drone is a possibility but I have not seen a cylindrical non-commercial drone before.
 
Please read above '* The strobe light on front had a flash frequency of a second interval at most. It was whitish in colour, and not red, or blue, or any other colour'

A ballon like that does not have lights. A drone is a possibility but I have not seen a cylindrical non-commercial drone before.
A reflective flap of foil, twisting in the breeze, can shoot a ray of sun towards the observer at regular intervals, giving the impression of a white strobe.
 
A reflective flap of foil, twisting in the breeze, can shoot a ray of sun towards the observer at regular intervals, giving the impression of a white strobe.
In the update above, directly from the pilot '...it was green in colour, military green actually, even though the ATSB report cites the colour as grey...' (see above)

Military green is not reflective.
 
Which sighting are we discussing? Are we crossing the streams a little?

A balloon could be mostly one colour with small areas / flaps / patches of another, or some of the paint can come off leaving reflective sections.
 
In the update above, directly from the pilot '...it was green in colour, military green actually, even though the ATSB report cites the colour as grey...' (see above)
After several months, I was advised that he had permission to speak to the pilot, and did so on 2 and 3 July 2014.​
[...]
He said it was green in colour, military green actually, even though the ATSB report cites the colour as grey

Note that this interview occurred 15 weeks after the event; the ATSB would have interviewed the pilot shortly after the event.
 
Back
Top