Authority warn over drone near-misses
Hobby aircrafts found flying close to airports
SAFETY warnings have been issued after a number of cases of aircraft nearly hitting unmanned drones in Heathrow.
The Civil Aviation Authority said an Airbus A320’s wing passed 6m (20ft) below one of the hobby aircrafts which had been hovering at the airport.
The CAA recorded six other incidents between May 2014 and March 2015 at airports around the UK involving near misses between drones and planes.
The CAA has launched a new drone awareness initiative in order to target the increasing number of recreational drone users in the UK.
Director of policy Tim Johnson said: “We want to embrace and enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology, but we must ensure that this is done safely, with all airspace users in mind.
“It is imperative that people observe the rules when operating a drone.
“Drone users must understand that when taking to the skies they are entering one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world – a complex system that brings together all manner of aircraft including passenger aeroplanes, military jets, helicopters, gliders, light aircraft and now drones.
“When doing so, they must be aware of the rules and regulations for flying drones that are designed to keep all air users safe.”
On July 22, 2014 a plane making its way in to land at Heathrow Airport had a near-miss when it almost collided with a controllable drone.
The Airbus A320 was on its final approach when the pilot spotted a small black object fly over the aircraft’s wing, around 20ft away. Thankfully, the plane landed safely and air traffic control was informed.
The incident happened at 700ft and efforts to trace the drone operator were not successful.
The near-miss was classed as category A – the most serious classification where a risk of collision was high.
A Heathrow spokesman said: “The unauthorised use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in proximity to an airfield is both irresponsible and illegal.
“Heathrow’s top priority is the safety of our passengers and staff. Any violation of airspace rules is fully prosecuted.”