Highlands, UK ML - A hero Tornado pilot going 500mph ‘back-flipped’ his fighter jet at 250ft above the ground to avoid an inevitably fatal crash with a glider, it was revealed today.

The daredevil’s lightning reflexes allowed him to force his own plane downwards and miss the other aircraft by ‘a quarter of a second’ - or 100ft, an air investigation has found.

His RAF jet was tearing through a valley in the Highlands on a training exercise when he saw the tiny glider coming towards him.

To avoid collision at terrifying speed the fighter pilot ‘bunted’, an aerobatic move where a plane is forced into an inverted loop and speeds away upside down.

If he had decided to fly above the glider instead, the Tornado’s jet engine would have sent the light aircraft spiralling downwards into the ground.

He had been travelling along the route of the River Spey near the Highland Wildlife Park and a report into the near miss described the risk of collision as ‘high’.

The glider pilot said the risk of collision was ‘high’, a UK Airprox Board report said.

The Tornado pilot, based at RAF Lossiemouth, was returning to base when he spotted the glider about 500m away.

The report says: ‘The glider pilot pulled up, gaining about 50ft in altitude as the Tornado passed under and adjacent to him coming within an estimated 100ft vertically.’ ‘No other crew member in the formation saw the glider.’

The incident took place near the village of Kincraig, as the fighter pilots avoided the Highland Wildlife Park.

The RAF pilot said the glider may have been obscured by the canopy arch of his plane. he glider, which has the registration number G-EEZO, was four hours and 16 minutes into a flight lasting six hours and 42 minutes from the Scottish gliding centre in Portmoak, Kinross.

Its civilian pilot was flying a single-seat, high performance DG-808C motor glider.