British Airways A320 identified as LHR drone near-miss aircraft

151547The aircraft that came close to hitting an unidentified drone as it landed at London Heathrow airport has been confirmed as a British Airways Airbus A320 carrying 105 people on board.

The pilot of the Airbus A320 pilot alerted aviation safety authorities of a helicopter-style drone 700 feet above the ground on its approach to the runway at 14.16 GMT on 22 July.

Investigators were unable to identify the drone, which did not appear on air traffic control radar and disappeared without a trace

Flight tracking service Flightradar24 has examined what details were known of the flight for Air Traffic Management and has identified it as an Airbus A320-232 with a G-EUYM registration flown by the British flag carrier from Frankfurt, operating as BA905.

UAVIDA spokesman for the British civil aviation authority said its Airprox Board never releases details of the aircraft involved and that the most that will be disclosed in the report when it is published on Friday will be the type of aircraft.

Details given in its 2014 Airprox catalogue of near misses which is accessible on its website show the geographical co-ordinates and timings of the incident which it gave an “A” rating, meaning a “serious risk of collision”. A spokesman for British Airways has confirmed that its aircraft was indeed involved in the drone incident on that day and said its  “highly trained pilots landed the aircraft safely and subsequently reported the sighting”.

G-EUYM-British-Airways-Airbus-A320-200_PlanespottersNet_281760It is not the first time incidents involving drones have caused potentially catastrophic situations.

So concerned is the United States Federal Aviation Administration over safety issues posed by drones that it released a report in November (FAA_drone_data) that compiles data on 2014 drone incidents.

Although not comprehensive since some drone incidents are reported to local law enforcement agencies, or not at all, several incidents offer a chilling account of the proliferation of potentially catastrophic incidents as drone technology become more popular.

On September 8, the report outlines how the pilots of three separate aircraft operating at La Guardia airport in New York reported “a very close call” with a drone in the final miles of their descent at around 1,900 feet

Read More: Existing drone tech poses lethal risk: EASA

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