The UK Airprox Board has announced a drone had a near miss with a Virgin Atlantic passenger jet earlier this year was at ‘the most serious risk of collision.’
The incident happened over Clapham in London as the jet headed towards Heathrow Airport.
Following the near miss, which happened in June, the CAA has confirmed that the event was the closest ever recorded over UK airspace.
The UKAB report detailed how the “drone-like object was seen to pass just below the right wing, avoiding impact with the engine by an estimated 10ft.”
The report said: “The drone was being flown beyond VLOS limits and on an airfield approach path, such that it was endangering other aircraft at that altitude and position.
“The Board agreed that the incident was therefore best described as the drone was flown into conflict with the B787.”
It went on: “The Board considered that the pilot’s overall account of the incident portrayed a situation where providence had played a major part in the incident and/or a definite risk of collision had existed.”
According to The Telegraph, the incident led to Virgin Atlantic calling for tighter rules in order to prevent incidents like this happening again.
An airline spokesman told The Telegraph: “Virgin Atlantic can confirm that pilots operating flight VS301 from Delhi to London on June 25 reported seeing a drone on their approach into Heathrow. The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our priority, and the pilots immediately reported the incident to Air Traffic Control in line with our procedures.”
They added: “It’s vital that action is taken to regulate the use of drones near airports, and we urge the government to consider further proposals.”