An investigation has found that a drone came within 20-metres of colliding with a passenger jet on approach to land at Heathrow, according to the BBC.
The operator of the drone, who was never identified by the UK Airprox Board’s investigation, had been flying it at around 11,000-feet when it passed over the plane’s right wing – the First Officer and Pilot were subsequently interviewed about the incident once on the ground.
Flying in restricted airspace, near airports or a number of other places is likely to land drone operators in trouble, and in this instance, a clear flouting of rules that govern the maximum altitude operators are allowed to fly drones at; 400-feet is the limit, but you also have to keep the drone within your line of sight.
The incident on approach to Heathrow is the latest in an increasing line of near-misses between drones and commercial aircraft. Last month, The Guardian reported that there had been four near misses in one month alone this year – three of those were on planes bound for, or leaving, Heathrow, while one was departing from Liverpool airport.
The UK’s aviation authorities have been ramping up activity ahead of Christmas to raise awareness about the legalities of flying drones, and have in recent weeks simplified the ‘dronecode’ to make it easier to understand and remember for new drone operators.
There’s also a handy app called Drone Assist, launched by the National Air Traffic Control Service (NATS), that helps keep you out of trouble, and lets you share good spots to fly with other users.
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