NEWS

Drone In 'Near-Miss' With Passenger Plane Over The Shard In London

'Chance had played a major part.'

17/11/2016 11:32 | Updated 21 November 2016

A potentially major air disaster was “narrowly avoided” over London when an Airbus travelling near The Shard had a “very near-miss” with a drone. 

The A320, which was thought to have had around 165 passengers on board, was making its final approach to Heathrow when the incident occurred. 

A UK Airprox Board report said the drone, which was black and about 20 inches wide, was spotted out of the right flight deck window at about 12.45pm on July 18.

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
A Airbus 320 had a 'narrow miss' with a drone near The Shard

“Members agreed that this incident appeared to be a very near-miss and that the drone operator should not have been flying in that location at that altitude,” the UKAB report said. 

The airbus, which was flying at an altitude of 4,900ft at around 200mph, was said to have “narrowly avoided” the drone.

The crew said the drone had “probably” passed above the right wing and the horizontal stabiliser, which is on the tail of the plane.

The UKAB report said accounts of the incident suggested that the collision had only been “narrowly avoided and chance had played a major part”.

The UKAB deemed the incident to be in the most serious category of risk classifying it as Category A.

The drone operator has not been located. 

According to The Sun the incident was the third drone near miss within consecutive days near Heathrow.

Mike Blake / Reuters
The drone was black and said to have been about 20 inches wide

On 17 July an Airbus A319 pilot saw a large drone pass around 100 yards away which appeared to be filming planes arriving at the airport. And the day before an A320 pilot saw a drone fly within 50ft of his wing tip as he was coming in to land

The day before that, an A320 pilot saw a drone fly within 50ft of his wing tip as he was coming in to land and investigators said it endangered the jet and the people aboard.

In April an investigation was launched after a British Airways pilot reported that his aircraft was struck by a drone as it prepared to land at Heathrow Airport. 

The plane, flight BA727, was struck around 12.50pm after flying from Geneva, but managed to land safely at Heathrow Terminal 5. 

In the UK aviation laws ban drones from flying above 400ft.

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