Drone hits plane at Heathrow
UK police are investigating claims that a drone has collided with a commercial jet at the country’s biggest airport.
The Metropolitan police say that they were contacted on Sunday afternoon by the pilot of flight BA727 from Geneva to London. It’s claimed that the Airbus A320, which was carrying 132 passengers and five crew at the time, was struck by a drone as it approached Heathrow airport.
The unnamed pilot safely landed the plane at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, and the Airbus A320 has since been examined and cleared for takeoff.
No arrests have been made in connection with the incident, but BA has said (via the BBC) that it is giving the police “every assistance with their investigation”.
If confirmed, this would be the first incident of a commercial plane hitting a drone in the UK – although there have been plenty of near-misses.
Read more: Flying a drone: Everything you need to know
The incident will only add weight to calls for an investigation into the potential effects of a drone colliding with and aircraft. As The Guardian points out, one recent UK Airprox Board report found that there had been 23 near-misses between drones and aircraft from April to October 2015.
While there’s obviously a massive size difference at play here, there’s thought to be a very real possibility of drone components entering and stopping an aircraft’s engine, or penetrating a cockpit windscreen.
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