A Spitfire almost crashed into a light aircraft after doing a mid-air stunt near a London airport, a report has revealed.
The near miss happened near Biggin Hill Airport on 29 September last year, the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) report said.
The pilot of the Piper PA-28 said he narrowly avoided the Second World War fighter, which was close enough to “fill the entire windscreen”.
The Spitfire pilot said his plane was not closer than about 400ft.
He told the UKAB investigation that he “had had the PA28 continuously in sight and he had passed behind it”.
However, the Piper pilot described the risk of collision as “high”, telling investigators that he could see “every rivet” of the Spitfire as it flew past.
‘Flown into conflict’
It was “only by chance” that one of the back seat passengers managed to see the Spitfire “at the last second”, he told the UKAB.
The UKAB report, published on Sunday, conceded it was not possible to “definitively decide whether the Spitfire pilot had flown in front or behind”.
It concluded that the Spitfire pilot’s actions were “ill advised” to the extent that “safety had been much reduced below the norm”.
UKAB board members “agreed that, despite the discrepancies between reported circumstances”, they were certain that the Spitfire pilot “had flown into conflict with the PA28”.