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I was on a Jet2 flight LS257 which left Leeds Bradford (LBA) at 06.30 on Sunday the 11th of September 2016.

Approximately one hour and ten minutes into the flight we passed very close to a Ryanair jet going in the opposite direction. I know that distances can be deceptive but this was much nearer than any time I have ever seen in the past. I often watch for other planes and have seen them countless times at varying heights and going in all directions but this was extremely close in my opinion.

Is there a way to check how close the two aircraft were?

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    $\begingroup$ RVSM can have 2 airplanes pass, one directly over the other, only 1,000 feet (300m) apart. That can look very close, but its controlled and completely safe. Also, there is no formal definition or classification for a "near miss", that is a vernacular term. $\endgroup$ – abelenky Sep 20 '16 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ And to put what @abelenky said into perspective, the distance would be about 4 to 6 plane lengths or 5 to 7 wingspans apart. $\endgroup$ – SMS von der Tann Sep 20 '16 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ It's possible that the pilot saw it as a non-event because of how close you can get in RVSM airspace and just didn't commit it to memory. I wouldn't take him saying he didn't notice it or "it was miles away" as a conspiracy, it was probably routine. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Sep 20 '16 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ And finally, your question is, "Did he deny it so that I wouldn't worry about it?", which is not a question we can answer. $\endgroup$ – abelenky Sep 20 '16 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ Related $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Sep 20 '16 at 21:01
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I've finally identified the flight you most likely saw out of the window. There was an oddity with Fligtradar24 where the data was missing for the flight, but I've straightened out that mystery.

First for the Flightradar24 oddity: You were on B757 registration G-LSAE on from LBA to PMI. The previous flight that aircraft had taken was LS444/EXS4CX from HER to LBA. For some reason when your flight left LBA it was still showing on FR24 as LS444/EXS4CX. After it crossed into France over Le Havre it changed to showing as LS831/EXS81WF which is usually a flight from MAN to PMI. I can't explain this, but the registration, time and route matches exactly with the routing shown for LS257 on FlightAware, so this is your aircraft.

Now for the flight you saw: There were only two RyanAir flights that you crossed paths with that might have been close enough to see. FR6462/RYR88FJ passed about 15-20 miles from you. But at 6:39 UTC over Lunay, a RyanAir B737, flight FR9052/RYR43EZ passed very close. I'm sure this is the aircraft you saw. According to the data, your aircraft was at 35,000 feet on a heading of 164° feet and the RyanAir was at 36,000 feet on a 12° heading. So, although the lateral separation was very close, the standard vertical separation of 1,000 feet was maintained.

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Access to flightradar24 historic data might help playback the flight and see the other traffic.

However, if the separation with the Ryanair was of concern, there would have been an investigation into the matter.

According to the AAIB: 0 reports occurred between 10 September 2016 and 12 September 2016.

It may have seemed close, but it wasn't dangerously close. There's nothing to fear.

This NATS video illustrates how tightly packed air traffic is. It's safe.

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  • $\begingroup$ Oddly enough, flightradar24 is missing the data for that specific flight. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Sep 21 '16 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah. It's got that flight on every other date but 9/11 says "data unavailable." Flightaware has it, but I can't use theirs to find distances. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Sep 21 '16 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, now that I say that, flightaware has the altitude/speed data, but they don't show the flight path either $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Sep 21 '16 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ @TomMcW tin foil hat moment :D $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Sep 21 '16 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed. I wonder if maybe their ADS-B was down. Sometimes flightradar24 can't see mode S transponders, but the altitude/speed data would still be xmitted. Not sure how flightaware gets their tracking data in the UK $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Sep 21 '16 at 19:44

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