PLANE CRAZY

Se­cu­rity fears as drone flies into air­port airspace

Solihull News - - NEWS - SANJEETA BAINS sanjeeta. bains@ reach­plc. com

A DRONE flew into Birm­ing­ham Air­port’s airspace, spark­ing an alert.

The air­port con­firmed the in­ci­dent and said air traf­fic con­trollers were in­formed.

Pas­sen­ger safety was not at risk, the flight hub said. It was un­der­stood to have hap­pened at around 2.30pm on Monday but no other de­tails were avail­able. An air­port spokesper­son said: “Birm­ing­ham Air­port’s Air Traf­fic Con­trollers were alerted to a drone in its airspace on Monday af­ter­noon.

“There was no safety or op­er­a­tional is­sues as a re­sult. The air­port is work­ing with the CAA and lo­cal part­ners, in­clud­ing the po­lice, to tighten up drone us­age around air­ports in line with new laws com­ing into place.”

In Septem­ber 2016, an air­liner had a near- miss with a drone just 500ft above a pri­mary school as it came in to land at Birm­ing­ham Air­port.

The DH8 tur­bo­prop air­craft was on its fi­nal ap­proach when the pi­lot spot­ted the de­vice, a re­port by UK Air­prox Board ( UKAB) said.

The pi­lot re­ported that the drone was hov­er­ing above a pri­mary school at the same al­ti­tude as his plane as he was com­ing in to land. The air­craft con­tin­ued on its flight path to the air­port as its sep­a­ra­tion with the drone was es­ti­mated to be around 500 me­tres.

West Mid­lands Po­lice was in­formed of the in­ci­dent but could not lo­cate the drone or its op­er­a­tor. Con­tact was also made with the school to alert them about the pres­ence of the drone.

The air­line in­volved was not named in the re­port.

The near- miss doc­u­ment con­cluded: “The drone op­er­a­tor, by op­er­at­ing at that po­si­tion and al­ti­tude on the ap­proach path to Birm­ing­ham Air­port, had flown the drone into con­flict and had en­dan­gered the DH8 and its pas­sen­gers.”

The Bri­tish Air­line Pi­lots As­so­ci­a­tion wants the Depart­ment for Transport and the Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity ( CAA) to back re­search into the pos­si­ble con­se­quences of a drone hit­ting a pas­sen­ger jet.

For­mer RAF and Bri­tish Air­ways pi­lot Steve Lan­dells has warned that a drone hit­ting an air­liner could re­sult in an un­con­trolled en­gine fail­ure or a smashed cock­pit wind­screen.

CAA rules state that drones must not be flown above 400ft or near air­ports or air­fields.

Birm­ing­ham Air­port’s air traf­fic con­trollers were alerted to a drone on Monday

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