I've read about many near-collisions between gliders and airliners, but did such a collision ever happen in mid-air, actually?

  • $\begingroup$ I would imagine it happened a considerable number of times during WWII given that the skies were packed with towed gliders. $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Sep 12, 2020 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ Packed with towed gliders, yes, but not also with what we'd call airliners. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2021 at 18:37

2 Answers 2


Yes. (I found this by Aaron Holmes's hint that he searched only English sources.)

On 1999 Feb 12 at 3:40 pm, a Grob G103 sailplane F-CGXB (possibly "in wave flight") collided with an Airbus A 320 F-GJVG at 8600 feet, near Montpellier, France. Both landed safely with minor damage. There were no casualties.

Summary: https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/24140

Accident report, excerpted below: http://www.bea.aero/docspa/1999/f-xb990212/pdf/f-xb990212.pdf

L'Airbus A 320 à destination de l'aérodrome de Montpellier Méditerranée est autorisé à descendre vers le niveau de vol 80. Dans le même temps, en vol local autour de l'aérodrome de Saint Martin de Londres, le planeur G 103 évolue vers 8 600 pieds dans une ascendance au-dessus de la montagne de la Seranne. Pendant la descente, l'équipage de l'A 320 aperçoit le G 103 et effectue une manœuvre d'évitement par la droite. Le bord d'attaque de l'aile gauche de l'A 320 et l'extrémité supérieure gauche de l'empennage du G 103 se heurtent. Les deux appareils se posent sur leur aérodrome de destination.

L'extrémité arrière gauche de l'empennage du G 103 est arrachée.
Le bord d'attaque du bec n°4 de l'aile gauche de l'A 320 est enfoncé et déchiré.

English translation:

The Airbus A320, with destination of Montpellier-Méditerranée Airport, was authorised to descend to flight level 80. At the same time, in local flight around Saint-Martin-de-Londres airport, the G103 glider rose to 8600 feet in a climb above the Séranne massif. During the A320's descent, its crew spotted the G103 and executed an evasive maneuver to the right. The leading edge of the left wing of the A320 and the upper left extremity of the empennage of the G103 collided. Both craft landed at their destinations.

The rear left end of the G103's empennage was torn off. The leading edge of slat #4 of the A320's left wing was dented and torn.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Bien joue', M. Goudeseune. Very well discovered! $\endgroup$ Sep 10, 2020 at 4:58
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I have attempted an English translation of the excerpt you quoted (edit approval pending.) Feel free to modify it or roll it back if you think I've totally botched it. $\endgroup$ Sep 10, 2020 at 13:38
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ wave flight HAZARDS! whoa! williamssoaring.com/pilot-info-wave.html they should add "smack in to an Airbus" $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    Sep 10, 2020 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Fattie, well, most of that document before the hazards section deals with mitigating that very hazard, that is getting clearance into the class A airspace where large jets normally fly. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Sep 11, 2020 at 7:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Just wow. How must it feel to touch a flying Airbus? And the turbulence behind it? Bigger planes have succumbed to that. $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2020 at 9:01

On 28 August 2006, a collision occurred between a business jet and a glider near Reno, Nevada, at approximately 16 000 feet. See here for details.

To partially quote from the aviation-safety.net summary at the link above:

The Hawker 800XP departed Carlsbad (CLD) on a flight to Reno (RNO). Descending for Reno, the flight crew was cleared by air traffic control from 16,000 feet to 11,000 feet. Just prior to commencing the descent [...] [T]he Hawker jet impacted the right wing of the glider near the outboard wing joint, shearing off part of the wing. The glider entered a flat spin and the pilot bailed out. [...]

In the collision, the nose section of the Hawker received substantial damage [...] The crew [continued to ..] Carson City, and elected to land there. As the flight neared Carson City the flight crew noted that the right engine shut down as a result of the impact.

The NTSB published accident report number LAX06FA277A. The business aircraft registration was N879QS.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ SE discourages link-only answers in case the link stops working (as it has in this case). $\endgroup$
    – wilkgr
    Oct 3, 2020 at 11:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .