Beds, Herts & Bucks

Drone 'narrowly avoids' plane collision over Hertfordshire

A drone "narrowly avoided" colliding with an airbus at 6,000 feet over Hertfordshire, a report has revealed.

The A320 pilot reported seeing a white quadcopter drone "flash past" the aircraft while travelling south of Brookmans Park last August.

No avoiding action was possible due to the lack of available time, a UK Airprox Board report said.

It concluded a "collision had only been narrowly avoided and chance had played a major part".

Air traffic control said the A320 pilot reported that "something had just gone over the top of him" at about 18:45 BST on 15 August 2016 while flying north of Potters Bar.

'Over the top'

The controller said another aircraft had just crossed above but the pilot said the object was red and white in colour, had red and blue stripes on two of the rotor arms and was under a metre in size.

All drone operators are required to observe Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016 articles which require a person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft to only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied the flight can safely be made ,and not to recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.

They must also maintain "direct, unaided visual contact" with the aircraft that's sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft.

Airprox board members agreed the drone had been operated at an altitude that was beyond direct unaided line-of-sight, which was not permitted under current regulations without explicit Civil Aviation Authority permission, and that it had therefore been flown into conflict with the A320.

The drone operator could not be traced.

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