How Close Were These Planes?

By Rob Last edited 148 months ago
How Close Were These Planes?

This photograph was taken in the skies over Upton Park just after 3 on Saturday afternoon.

It shows a DHL plane seemingly about to mount the back of a Japan Airlines jet, but the Civil Aviation Authority are having none of it, saying that no near miss has been reported and the photograph could be very misleading. Indeed, if the planes had stuck to their proper flightpaths (which the CAA says they did) then there would be more than two miles of sky between them in this photo.

A spokesman for DHL is quoted as saying:

In the picture, they look like they are close together but it doesn't mean they are. And in fact they were not.

If there had been any incident of them being close together, there are all sorts of systems which would have gone off, both in the plane itself and at air traffic control - but there wasn't any report of an incident.

Both planes later landed at Heathrow with no problem.

Last Updated 30 January 2006


Have you taken time to notice the difference is size. One of them may be a 737 whilst the over one is a long haul wide body. Consider parralax and other factors and you'll understand the planes are several miles apart.

This is especially true when considering the telephoto lens that was used to take this picture.


All we need to settle this is a photo taken from the opposite side. If Steven Seagal can be seen hanging from a ladder between the two planes then that would be pretty damning evidence.


Well, if some airplane spotter/geek can tell which airplane types they are, then it's easy to look up the sizes of the planes and compare the ratio to the one on the photo.
If the ratio is different on the photo it proves that the planes are not so close together.