Glasgow passenger plane misses drone by three seconds

Pilots warn collision with airliner could be ‘catastrophic’

Drone in the sky
Worries are growing over the threat that drones pose to jets 
(Image credit: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

A passenger plane taking off from Glasgow Airport missed colliding with a remote-controlled drone by just three seconds, it has emerged - the latest report of a near-miss in the UK in recent months.

“As it got closer [the pilot] could see it was a drone; it was black and had an object or device attached below. In the space of about three seconds they had narrowly missed it, there was no time to take avoiding action,” according to a newly released report by airspace watchdog the UK Airprox Board. The incident, involving a Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft, occurred in September.

A separate report released last month revealed that drones were also flown close to passenger planes at Edinburgh Airport in two separate incidents only three days apart, The Scottish Sun reports. Meanwhile, London’s Gatwick Airport had to close its runway in July because a drone was flying nearby, forcing five incoming planes to be rerouted.

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According to data reported by Which? magazine in October, the UK Airprox Board has received more than 80 reports of drones flying too close to aircraft so far this year.

The Department for Transport is reviewing drone safety, The Times reports. Last month the Government announced that drone users will be required to register and sit safety awareness tests, says the Daily Express, but the time frame for implementing the new safety measures is unclear.

“Pilots believe a collision with an airliner could be catastrophic and that the impact of a drone strike on a light plane or helicopter would almost certainly bring it down,” The Times says.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association has called for no-fly zones and geofencing around airports. It is also warning that incidents may increase as more people receive drones as Christmas presents.

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