Near Miss Over London
Status: Optical Illusion
Barry Bland snapped a photograph of two airplanes apparently narrowly avoiding colliding in the sky over London. However, Civil Aviation Authorities are dismissing the photograph as an optical illusion, pointing out that none of their safety systems indicated that the two planes were close to each other. The BBC reports
British Air Line Pilots Association chairman Captain Mervyn Granshaw described it as a "fluke photograph". He explained how visual factors conspire to make the planes could look closer together, but safety measures meant they could not be in such proximity. While the lower plane was a A300, a smaller freight plane, the one behind was a JAL A330 - a larger, passenger plane. The difference in size, angle of the photograph and the distance it was taken from - the ground to two planes at high altitude - would exaggerate the effect, he said.
I'm inclined to agree that it's just an optical illusion, since I've seen these kinds of "near miss" photos before. (For instance, there's this phony near miss over San Francisco
.) The lack of visual reference points in the sky can really play tricks on your eyes. (Thanks to Charlie Wright for the link.)
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