Luck Prevented Collisions with Drones in UK

Sep 18, 2017 - 1:45 PM

The UK’s latest Airprox Board report on close encounters between drones and manned aircraft cites 11 such events in London airspace, three of which involved a “definite risk” of collision. These three events occurred last June, and the Board concluded that because the pilots did not have time to make avoidance maneuvers, “providence” played a major role in preventing the collisions.

In one incident, the captain of a Dassault Falcon 900 said he was at 1,300 feet on the instrument (ILS) approach at 2.5 nautical miles from Farnborough Airport when the first officer saw a drone passing about 100 feet to the right of the aircraft. The pilot described the drone as gold-colored and about 18 inches in diameter.

In the second incident, the first officer of an Airbus A320 on an ILS approach to Gatwick saw an object in his peripheral vision just above and to the right of the aircraft. He looked out of the side window to see a flat black drone pass the right side of the aircraft, slightly above their level, within 50 feet of the wingtip. In the third encounter, an A321 pilot reported passing within 100 feet under a small black drone. He noted that there was no time to react to its presence.