Shock­ing near-miss as drone flies past air­bus

Heathrow-bound plane was just 20 me­tres from be­ing struck

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Amita Joshi amita.joshi@trin­i­tymir­

A PAS­SEN­GER plane head­ing for Heathrow Air­port nar­rowly avoided a dis­as­trous in­ci­dent af­ter nearly be­ing hit by a drone as it flew over the Shard.

The Air­bus A320 was in its fi­nal de­scent into the west Lon­don air­port with 165 peo­ple on board when it came near a drone on July 17.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased on the in­ci­dent, the air­craft was a mere 20 me­tres away from the re­mote con­trolled ob­ject as it flew by the 95-storey sky­scraper.

It states: “Al­though the in­ci­dent did not show on the NATS (Na­tional Air Traf­fic Ser­vices) radars, the Board noted that the pi­lot had es­ti­mated the sep­a­ra­tion to be 20m from the air­craft, at co-alti­tude, and that there had not been time to take any avoid­ing ac­tion.”

The re­port said pi­lots saw the drone hover over the right wing be­fore fly­ing near the sta­biliser next to the tail fin.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors at the UK Air­prox Board, which ex­am­ines near misses in Bri­tish airspace, said, July’s case near The Shard was “a very near miss”.

It is one of a se­ries of in­ci­dents that have caused are a grow­ing con­cern for pi­lots and avi­a­tion ex­perts.

A re­cent rise in nearmisses in­volv­ing drones has led to warn­ings that of­fend­ers could face up to six months im­pris­on­ment if they flew drones ir­re­spon­si­bly.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion was launched in April af­ter it was be­lieved a drone col­lided with a pas­sen­ger plane near Heathrow.

In Septem­ber 2015, a drone came within me­tres of col­lid­ing with a pas­sen­ger jet at Heathrow, and in Jan­uary that year a run­way had to be closed af­ter a drone was spot­ted fly­ing there.

CLOSE CALL: A drone came with­ing a few feet of an A320 Air­bus bound for Heathrow as it flew over the Shard

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