A small unmanned aerial vehicle caused alarm in the capital when it came within feet of a passenger plane flying from Heathrow.
A report from the UK Airprox Board (UKAB), a nationwide air safety regulator, has found that the incident, which took place in October last year, saw a UAV come within five feet of a plane flying at 1,700 feet.
While the drone did not collide with the plane, the UKAB carried out an investigation of the event and classified the incident within its highest risk bracket, A.
The incident report stated: “The drone was being flown in the vicinity of an airfield approach path and at the practical VLOS limit such that it was endangering other aircraft at that location and altitude. The Board agreed that the incident was therefore best described as the drone was flown into conflict with the A321.”
“The crew considered that the drone passed close enough that it must have collided with the tail. No tangible evidence of collision could be found after landing by engineering staff and the aircraft was released back into service.”
Over the coming months the Government is expected to publish a raft of new regulations for drone users, which will require all operators to register and sit safety awareness tests and could ban flights near airports or above 400 feet.