A drone flying in Dunstable that narrowly avoided a collision with a glider was operating outside of regulatory parameters, an investigation has revealed.
Air safety regulator UK Airprox Board reported that the ‘difficult to spot drone’ flying over 400ft was at high risk of colliding with a glider on New Years’ Day.
The glider pilot reported that he was performing a standard circuit at Dunstable and the weather was grey and overcast with a rain front approaching from the west.
A drone was encountered at 550ft just prior to the final turn for approach.
According to the incident report, the drone was approximately 20m to 50m in front of the nose of the glider and a few metres below. It was grey in colour and therefore difficult to see in the overcast weather against a backdrop of Dunstable town.
The UK Airprox Board stated: “Had the drone been on a collision course it was unlikely that the glider would have responded to control inputs rapidly enough to allow avoiding action to be effective.”
It rated the risk of collision as “A”, the highest possible risk level.