Beds, Herts & Bucks

RAF Puma helicopter in near miss with drone over Maulden

A file picture of a Puma Mk2 Image copyright PA
Image caption The incident involved a Puma Mk2 helicopter

A drone narrowly missed hitting a Puma helicopter taking part in a training mission, a report found.

The helicopter was flying over Maulden, Bedfordshire, on 10 April, when it came within about 150ft (46m) of the drone.

The Airprox Board report found there was a "high risk of collision" and the "safety of the aircraft may have been compromised".

The drone operator had displayed "best practice" after stopping his descent to avoid the Puma, the report said.

Image caption The drone narrowly missed the helicopter over Maulden

The operator of the drone said he "estimated the time frame from hearing the helicopter to it being overhead was less than 10 seconds and it was travelling at a very fast speed".

The helicopter then flew underneath the drone, which had permission to fly in the area.

'Safety not assured'

The pilot of the Puma, which had been on a "sortie", was unaware of the drone's presence.

The Airprox board, which investigates near misses, said this meant "safety had not been assured".

Puma HC Mk2

Image caption The Puma Mk2 helicopter is used by RAF Benson and can travel at speeds of up to 167 knots
  • The Puma HC Mk2 has a crew of three - two pilots or pilot and navigator, plus a crewman - and up to 16 passengers
  • They are based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire
  • It entered service in 1971
  • It has a top speed of 167 knots

Source: Royal Air Force

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