U.S. F-15 Fighter Jet Nearly Taken Out By A Balloon Over British Airspace

By Bill Galluccio

March 14, 2022

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Fighter Aircraft
Photo: Getty Images

The pilot of a U.S. F-15 fighter jet had to engage in evasive maneuvers to avoid a balloon while flying four miles above the ground over British airspace. An incident report compiled by the U.K. Airprox Board stated that the pilot was flying off the coast of East Yorkshire just before 10 a.m. on November 5, 2021, when they saw a balloon in their heads-up display.

The pilot "aggressively banked to the left" to avoid the rogue balloon and then made a call on the radio to warn other pilots in the vicinity about the balloon. According to the Daily Mailthe pilot came within 50 feet of the balloon.

The Board said that the risk of collision was "high" and gave the incident a rating of B, the second most serious rating on a scale from A-E.

"The Board considered that the pilot's overall account of the incident portrayed a situation where safety had been much reduced below the norm to the extent that safety had not been assured," the agency determined.

Officials did not say what type of balloon the pilot was forced to avoid.

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