Drone Almost Collides With Commercial Aircraft at Heathrow Airport

Crashing into another object is a major concern many pilots worry about when flying.  With the advancement in drone tech, they now have something new to worry about.  At some point, their aircraft could hit a drone being flown by an operator who is clueless about the risks and potential damage that their drone could cause. The operator may just be having fun when the crash happens, but the damage could be very extensive to the aircraft and even be deadly.

A recent report from the UK Airprox Board- which is the country’s air safety agency – stated that a drone flew very close to an Airbus 319 flight. The plane was ascending from Heathrow Airport on January 7th  and almost got hit by the drone. This was a really close call and it got the board so worried that they gave the a highest-risk rating.

The report states that the Airbus 319 was about 4,800 feet when a medium-sized white drone flew straight in front of the aircraft, approximately 20 feet away.  The UK Airprox Board noted that the pilot had little time to react. They board failed to mention the name of the airline, stating only that it was a commercial flight. However, the Metro reported that the flight had about 160 passengers on board at the time of the incident.

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has different rules when it comes to where drones can fly. They insist that drones must fly in the line of sight of the operator at all times. This way, the operator can make sure that their drone does not crash into any object or structure; particularly other aircraft. The regulation also stipulates that drones that weigh over 7 kg. (about 15.4 lbs.) should not fly over 400 feet.  This is not the first time that Heathrow has reported drones coming close to planes.

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