A PILOT who was stung by a wasp while flying over a Herefordshire airfield compromised safety by getting too close to another aircraft, an investigation has found.

The UK Airprox Board, which aims to enhance air safety, investigated a Eurofox plane and MTO Sport Gyroplane flying in close proximity to each other while trying to land at Shobdon Airfield, near Leominster.

The Eurofox, which was towing gliders for Herefordshire Gliding Club, was in close proximity to the Gyroplane as they both opted to go-around.


A report into the incident said the Gyroplane pilot saw the Eurofox late and the Eurofox pilot was distracted and therefore flew "closer than ideal" to the Gyroplane – causing the pilot concerns.

The Eurofox was going around to avoid a helicopter coming into land, and the Gyroplane because the pilot did not have landing clearance and was unsure where the Eurofox was.

But the situation was complicated when the Eurofox pilot was stung by a wasp, Airprox's report into the incident said.

"This was, of course, a little distracting, particularly because they couldn’t brush it off their arm at first and when they did, it left its sting behind," the report said.

"It was quite painful and their arm began to throb."


As the pilot turned onto the final approach to land, they became aware of the Gyroplane ahead of them. The report said it was slightly below and to their right.

But it was "not so close that they considered there was any immediate risk of collision as their speeds were quite similar and they were both flying the runway track".

The pilot wasn't aware the Gyroplane was was carrying out a go-around, and it was possible they missed a call from the flight information service officer because of being distracted.

To avoid a crash, the pilot rapidly climbed around 500ft to 1,000ft.


Looking into the incident, the board said that as the pilot was stung by a wasp, it would have been better to "rest and re-focus" rather than continue when distracted.

"With the benefit of hindsight, the Eurofox pilot perhaps should have gone around at that point, but that in continuing they flew close enough to cause the Gyroplane pilot concern," they said.

The pilots of both aircraft, which later landed safely, had different views over the risk of collision, with the Gyroplane saying it was medium and the Eurofox pilot said none.

The air flight information service officers report confirmed said that “in talking to both pilots afterwards, they stated that neither had seen the other until they went around”

The Airprox board agreed that there had been no risk of collision during the incident at around midday on September 20, 2021, but safety had been degraded. A risk rating of C was given, the third of five.

It means that there was aircraft proximity, but no risk of collision existed or risk was averted.