Near miss with weather balloon

A plane carrying oil and gas personnel into Scatsta had to alter course to avoid a large weather balloon, according to a report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch.
The incident happened around 11.30am on 21st January as the pilot of the Saab 2000 was making the descent into Scatsta. The plane was around five miles west of Lerwick when the crew noticed the pale-coloured Met Office balloon, which did not show up on the radar, around five miles away.
The pilot decided to take a turn of 20 degrees to avoid the weather balloon, which passed down their
right-hand side at a distance of 400m. He assessed the risk of collision as “high”. The wind was gusting at 25 knots at the time.
Weather balloons are launched twice daily from Lerwick Met Office, at 11.15am and 11.15pm.
Before launch the balloons are the size of a person and expands as they gain height: before bursting they can be as big as a house.


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