Shocking near-miss as drone flies past airbus
Heathrow-bound plane was just 20 metres from being struck
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