We've heard of near misses between drones and planes before, but now a passenger jet in the UK has come close to colliding with not one but two of the unmanned aerial vehicles, although on this occasion disaster was averted.
The incident involved an Airbus A320 approaching Heathrow Airport over east London last November, although a write-up of the near miss has only just been published, as BBC News reports. The UK Airprox Board (UKAB) said the drones had “compromised the safety of the aircraft”.
According to one of the pilots there would have been a “significant risk of collision” if the plane was taking a different approach path. The jet had reached 5,500 feet in its descent when two white, orb-shaped drones were spotted in the vicinity.
Watching the skies
The flying gadgets were estimated to have got as close as 500 meters (about 1,640 feet) to the jet, though the pilots kept them in “constant visual contact” as they came into land. Half an hour later another jet coming into Heathrow spotted one of the drones.
Based on the report the drones were a couple of meters wide and had four propellers on them, but that's all we know about the make and model. The people who were flying their drones where they shouldn't have been haven't been found.
If you're a drone owner its worth revisiting the regulations covering drone use, for your own safety and that of passengers taking to the skies in commercial jets – you absolutely cannot fly anywhere near airports. The Civil Aviation Authority rules for the UK are here, and the Federal Aviation Administration rules for the US are here.
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