Drone involved in a near-miss with passenger jet at 6,000 feet

Drone involved in a near-miss with passenger jet at 6,000 feet

A drone nearly hit a passenger jet (Stock image)

Friday, February 24, 2017

A drone was involved in a near-miss with a passenger jet which was preparing to land on a flooded runway, a report has revealed.

The UK Airprox Board (UKAB) said the drone passed the side of an East Midlands Airport-bound Boeing 737 on October 1 at the same height and about 30 metres from the wing.

The workload in the cockpit was already high and the captain had his "head down" working out the calculations for a contaminated runway landing amid severe weather.

When he looked up, he spotted the drone at the same time as the first officer, who was flying the plane, but there was "no time to take avoiding action."

Although police were informed the drone operator could not be traced. This near-miss was assessed to be in the most serious risk category as a collision was only "narrowly avoided", the UKAB said.

The drone was red and black, measured 50cm-100cm and was being flown at an altitude of almost 6,000ft. However Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules say drones must not be flown above 400ft or near airports or airfields.

The British Airline Pilots' Association wants the Department for Transport and the CAA to support research into the outcome of a drone hitting an airliner.

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