• March 5, 2015


Courtesy of a report on BBC Wales’s website we see that the RAF Hawk trainer is making the news.


Long time follows of CL News (and our even earlier web news site from the 1990s) will recall that as part of our military monitoring programme from the late 1970s we charted the rather erratic safety record of the Hawk trainer which operated extensively over N Wales the Isle of Man, Southern Scotland and Cornwall.

Indeed on one of the first instances we raised safety concerns about operations over the Isle of Man on the day our concerns were being considered a Hawk crashed into Clagh Ouyr (N. Man) sadly both crew members died. The accident was inexplicable as the aircraft was well off course at the time.

Over the next two decades we followed the aircrafts record as the attrition rate spiralled and indeed by the turn of the century it was running at over 25%.

We also called for safety upgrades to be carried out in line with recommendations of crash investigators however the MOD consistently rejected such calls.

Paradoxically just weeks after one such call by the League the RAF’s fleet of Hawk T1 aircraft was grounded for a time.

Following the BBC Wales report we thought we would run a check on the incidents mentioned. We waded through the reports by the Airprox board that’s the body that investigates near-misses between both civil and military aircraft.

It is not an easy task their site and the reports are far from user friendly and there’s a discouragement right at the start with a ‘warning’ about copyright. The board is publicly funded being sponsored by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Military Aviation Authority. Its remit is to promote aviation safety and you would think that part of that remit should be communicating to the public (in a swift and user friendly fashion) just how safe our skies are.

The 2014 figures show that a fair number of incidents involve military aircraft and in the case of (some variants) the Hawk they still are not fitted with airborne collision avoidance systems! Again this is a modification we pressed for after an aircraft crashed some years ago near the village of Shap in Cumbria

In addition to the events reported by BBC Wales in their recent report we found Hawk incidents in Cornwall and up in the NE of England towards the Scottish borders.

There were also incidents involving RAF Tornado, Typhoon and USAF F15 aircraft and one can only assume as tensions with Russia increase the military traffic in the already congested skies over England and the Celtic countries will continue.

The final interesting thing about the BBC Wales report is that of course the events referenced occurred six months ago – cynics might say the MOD are using the Airprox system to kick these near miss incidents into the long grass. We are not cynics but in this instance we would agree with them!

Link to the airprox board site:


J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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