Reports of Drone Hitting BA Plane Dismissed By Minister

Flight landing at Heathrow ‘likely’ to have hit ‘floating debris’

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Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has told MPs that the incident above Richmond Park earlier this month in which a plane was hit on its approach to Heathrow was not a drone strike.

The plane was an Airbus A320 similar to above

Police had originally believed that the Airbus A320 had been hit by a drone and appealed for witnesses. Their investigation had been launched after the pilot of the reported impact with an unknown object. Air accident investigators now say that, although they could not rule out a drone 100% there was no evidence to support this explanation.

The plane was hit at about 1,700ft (580m) over the area of Richmond Park. Police had asked the public to look out for drone debris in the park but it is believed that none was found.

According to the BBC there were 40 drone near misses in 2015 and just nine the year before. They say that many pilots feel it is a matter of time before a drone hits a plane.

It is now believed to be most likely that the plane, which was carrying 132 passengers and five crew and landed safely, was hit by floating debris. The plane was inspected by BA engineers and no damage found to the aircraft.

The Civil Aviation Authority points out that anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations. These rules are designed to keep all airspace users safe and anyone who ignores them, particularly in relation to flying close to an airport, can face severe penalties including imprisonment.

April 30, 2016

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