Drone has near-miss with commercial jet filled with passengers


The UK Airprox board has confirmed a drone’s near-miss with a commercial plane containing 240 passengers.

Flying out of Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster, the plane had reached a three-mile high altitude but only missed the drone by around 100ft.

At 15,500ft in the sky, the close collision with the Airbus A321 happened 40 times higher than the legal flying height for a drone in the UK.

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The incident occurred at the highest ever recorded altitude for a near-miss between a drone and an aircraft in UK airspace.

The report by the UK Airprox Board said the pilot saw a drone pass very close down the left-hand-side of the aircraft, with the pilot going on to describe how it was within 100ft and at the same level as it passed.

The board stated: “The drone was being flown beyond practical VLOS limits 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 A321.

Analysing the level of risk, it said: “The Board considered that the pilot’s overall account of the incident portrayed a situation where safety had been much reduced below the norm to the extent that safety had not been assured.”

The reported risk of collision was however, described as low.

Tags : CollisionNear missUK Airprox Board
Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas


  1. I feel compelled to ask what type of UAV was it? A normal run-of-the-mill ‘drone’ would find it really difficult to attain such altitudes (15,500 feet) due to the lack of air density in order for the rotors to work efficiently. Granted the pilot(s) would have only a split second to see let alone identify but I think there’s an implication in this article that it’s a hobbyist that’s at fault. However I’ll check for myself to see what kind of UAVs can get up so high.

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