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UK Airprox Board reports two high risk airliner near misses with drones
27 February 2016
Airbus A319 G-EUOC on approach (photo: H.Ranter/ASN)

File photo of Airbus A319 G-EUOC on approach (photo: H.Ranter/ASN)

The United Kingdom Airprox Board (UKAB) recently published information on six near miss incidents between aircraft and drones. Two of them were considered high risk incidents.

On 30 September 2015, an Airbus A319 was approaching runway 9L at London-Heathrow Airport and passing 500ft when the flight crew saw a small ‘drone helicopter’ hovering very close to the centre-line. It passed about 25-30 yards (23-27 m) left of the cockpit and 20-30 feet (6-9 m) above, it was not possible to take avoiding action. The airplane, flight BA361, registration G-EUOC, continued the approach and landed safely.
The drone was within the Heathrow CTR Class D airspace above 400 feet and without permission. The drone operator could not be found.

On 2 October, 2015, a Dornier 328 was departing from Manchester Airport runway 05L, on it’s way to Norwich. On passing 3000 feet, the First Officer, who was Pilot Flying, exclaimed that a drone had just missed the aircraft. He had seen it in front and slightly left of the nose; it was red and white and it passed down the left-hand side of the aircraft, slightly high. Although the miss distance was hard to judge, it was very close, less than 50 feet (15 m), and must have passed over the port propeller. The incident was reported to Manchester ATC and the aircraft inspected on landing, although there was no damage. The aircraft involved was G-BZOG, operating Flybe flight BE6876.