Saturday 3 December 2016

Plane carrying 132 passengers struck by drone as it came in to land at Heathrow Airport

David Wilcock

Published 17/04/2016 | 20:26

A British Airways Airbus A320 plane similar to the one that was struck by what is believed to be a drone as it came in to land at Heathrow Airport, police have said. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
A British Airways Airbus A320 plane similar to the one that was struck by what is believed to be a drone as it came in to land at Heathrow Airport, police have said. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

A British Airways flight was struck by what is believed to be a drone as it came in to land at Heathrow Airport, police said.

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Flight BA727 from Geneva in Switzerland was hit as it came into the London hub this afternoon with 132 passengers and five crew on board.

BA said the Airbus A320 was examined by engineers and cleared to take off for its next flight following the incident.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said "a pilot on an inbound flight into Heathrow Airport from Geneva reported to police that he believed a drone had struck the aircraft" at around 12.50pm.

She said: "The flight landed at Heathrow Terminal Five safely. It transpired that an object, believed to be a drone, had struck the front of the aircraft."

No one has been arrested and aviation police based at Heathrow are investigating, she added.

A BA spokesman said: "Our aircraft landed safely, was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight."

The strike is the latest in a string of incidents involving drones and aircraft in UK airspace.

A report last month by the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) found there were 23 near misses between drones and aircraft in the six months between April and October last year.

They included one on September 22, when a Boeing 777 that had just taken off reported that a drone narrowly passed down the right hand side of the airliner.

Investigators concluded that the drone was at the same height and within 25 metres of the jet.

A report was made to police but the drone operator was not traced.

Days later, on September 30, a drone was flown within a few metres of an Airbus A319 landing at Heathrow. The pilot told the UKAB the drone may have been just 20 feet (six metres) above and 25 yards (23 metres) to the left when it passed by the aircraft.

The jet was flying at an altitude of 500 feet and was on the final approach to the west London airport when the drone was spotted.

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