A drone came within metres of colliding with a jet above the Houses of Parliament.
The incident occurred on 13 September last year as the aircraft, carrying 76 passengers, was travelling at 2000ft and a speed of around 185mph as it approached to land at London City Airport.
According to the UK Airprox Board, the pilot spotted the drone and described the risk of collision as “high”, saying was pure luck that they didn’t crash into each other.
The pilot of Embraer 170 estimated that the drone came within 20 metres of the hitting the aircraft, as it passed down the left hand side of the plane.
The report into the near-miss categorised the incident as category A, the most serious level due to the high probability of collision.
The UK Airprox Board report stated: “It was initially reported to ATC [Air Traffic Control] as a balloon, but as it passed it became apparent that it was a silver drone with a ‘balloon-like’ centre and 4 small rotors on each corner.”
The operator of the drone, who was flying it without permission, was not traced but was slammed by the safety board for posing a “flight safety risk”.
The report also stated that a further five near miss incidents involving drones between August and September last year.
A spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority commented: “Drone users have to understand that when taking to the skies they are potentially flying close to one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world – a complex system that brings together all manner of aircraft including passenger aeroplanes, military jets, helicopters, gliders and light aircraft.
“The rules for flying drones are designed to keep all airspace users safe and anyone flouting these rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment.”
UK Construction Online recently reported on the dangers of improper use of drones and the need for effective risk management. You can read our special report here.