30 APRIL 2018
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Concern over drones straying into flight paths intensified last week after it was revealed an aircraft carrying 160 passengers narrowly missed being struck as it took off from Heathrow.
The incident on the morning of 11 January was classified by the UK Airprox Board as Category A – “serious risk of a collision” – after the pilot of the Airbus A319 said he had no time to take evasive action as the drone passed within 20ft of the aircraft.
The board said the incident, at 4,800ft and more than 10 times the legal maximum height for operating a drone, involved a medium-size unmanned model.
It added: "The board considered the pilot's estimate of separation, allied to his overall account of the incident and his inability to avoid the drone, portrayed a situation where providence had played a major part in the incident and/or a definite risk of collision existed.”
The pilots' union BALPA has been demanding action over the use of drones near airports following a rise in near misses, and says it also wants to see better education for drone users and offenders to be prosecuted.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Terry Marsden, North Lincolnshire
Drones flying at that height should be fitted with transponders so that they can be seen on Secondary Radar