Passenger jet nearly collided with drone near Heathrow airport, says report

29 June 2015 (Last Updated June 29th, 2015 18:30)

An Airbus A320 jet had a near-miss with an unmanned flying object believed to be a drone, while preparing to land at London’s Heathrow airport, a report by the UK Airprox Board has revealed.

An Airbus A320 jet had a near-miss with an unmanned flying object believed to be a drone, while preparing to land at London's Heathrow airport, a report by the UK Airprox Board has revealed.

The incident that occurred in March was the second such to be reported in less than a year at the Heathrow airport and has raised concerns among aviation authorities. It is the fourth such incident to have occurred at a UK airport.

The reported object is said to have flown within 50ft of the 150-seater aircraft 1,700ft when the latter was descending to land.

"It was clear that the A320 pilot had been concerned by its proximity and the consequent safety of his aircraft."

The pilot termed the object as 'some kind of balloon or drone, small drone type object'.

The London Evening Standard quoted the report as saying: "The pilot commented that it appeared to be propeller-driven and so this indicated that it was more possibly a small unmanned object.

"It was clear that the A320 pilot had been concerned by its proximity and the consequent safety of his aircraft."

The report said that the radar replay did not indicate the presence of such object nor were there any such sightings again.

"It has not been possible to identify whether the object was a balloon or a drone," the report added.

The previous incident had occurred in July 2014 when a drone came within 20ft of hitting an Airbus A320 around 700ft above the ground.

Drones are restricted to be flown within 150m of built-up areas or over crowds of more than 1,000 people or within 50m of vehicles that are not controlled by the user.

The Times quoted the CAA as saying: "Users have to take responsibility for their actions, and that includes taking measures to avoid collisions. Failure to do so could have serious consequences. Anyone breaching the safety rules can be prosecuted."