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Drone reportedly collides with British Airways passenger jet as it lands at Heathrow airport

By midian182 ยท 20 replies
Apr 18, 2016
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  1. A police investigation is underway in the UK after the pilot of an Airbus A320 claimed his plane was struck by a drone as it approached Heathrow airport. The incident is believed to be the first time a UAV has crashed into a commercial jet during landing.

    The British Airways flight from Geneva was hit as it came in to land at the London airport at 12:50 BST on Sunday. The 132 passengers and five cabin crew on board were unaware of the collision, which was reported to the Metropolitan Police’s aviation security unit by the pilot after the plane safely landed at Terminal 5.

    “A pilot on an inbound flight into Heathrow Airport from Geneva reported to police that he believed a drone had struck the aircraft,” said a Scotland Yard spokesperson.

    British Airways said engineers thoroughly examined the aircraft and cleared it for the next flight after the incident was reported.

    There have been numerous cases of near-misses between drones and commercial aircraft in recent years. Steve Landells, a flight safety specialist at the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), said a collision was inevitable.

    “Frankly it was only a matter of time before we had a drone strike given the huge numbers being flown around by amateurs who don’t understand the risks and the rules. It appears that no serious damage was done on this occasion, but what is clear is that while most drones are flown safely, sensibly and within the limits of the law, much more education of drone users and enforcement of the rules is needed to ensure our skies remain safe from this threat.”

    In the UK, a UAV cannot be flown above 400 feet or "beyond the direct unaided line of sight" of the operator. Failure to do so can result in six months imprisonment.

    Anyone flying a drone near an airport risks a sentence of five years behind bars, which could be extended to a life term if a pilot is forced to take evasive action that results in the operator being charged with endangering an aircraft.

    The UK’s Department of Transport said it will be publishing a strategy on UAVs later this year; with this latest latest incident in mind, it’s possible that the UK could follow the US in introducing a compulsory registration program for drones.

    Despite the chance of a plane hitting a UAV being extremely small, industry experts are calling for more research into the scenario. Landells said that while there have been plenty of tests carried out to discover the effects of bird strikes on planes, the same level of funding should be applied to drone strike research, as “birds don’t have a big lump of lithium battery in them."

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,616   +930

    The whole drone thing is going to be ruined by people who either dont learn the rules before using drones, or who think the rules don't apply to them.
    Why do people think the rules don't apply to them...? it blows my mind
     
    Raoul Duke and alabama man like this.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,830   +2,691

    Fairly straightforward fix:

    Require any drone with a range greater than 500ft be equipped with two GPS trackers (1 in the drone, 1 in the controller). Register said equipment with the FAA and implement tracking technology. When someone violates the airspace of an airport, fine them $1,000 USD and take their drone.
     
    Reehahs and Raoul Duke like this.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,906   +921

    As stated, there is always somebody that goes over the line, but in cases of risking the lives of so many people, the punishment must be rigid and strictly enforced. Flight paths don't move around so there is absolutely no reason for anyone to be operating a drone there. I don't think a minimum sentence plus loss of drone privileges for a life time is too harsh. Ingestion of a drone into a high performance jet engine can and in most cases will shut the engine down and put the aircraft and all aboard in peril, for which there simply is no excuse.
     
    cliffordcooley and Reehahs like this.
  5. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,250   +609

    We never had to register laser pointers.
     
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,830   +2,691

    1. Pointing a laser pointer at an aircraft is illegal.
    2. Laser pointers can't crash aircraft.*
    3. Laser pointers don't occupy airspace.

    *You can blind the pilots and cause a crash, but that's not the same as taking out an engine on approach.
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  7. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,997   +2,287

    Maybe they're practicing to be successful politicians.
     
  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,997   +2,287

    "Anyone flying a drone near an airport risks a sentence of five years behind bars, which could be extended to a life term".
    It's less risky to become a serial killer, the punishment isn't as harsh.
     
  9. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,250   +609

    you couldn't just chuckle, could you :p
     
    davislane1 likes this.
  10. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,830   +2,691

    Eh, it's one of those days, I suppose.
     
    stewi0001 likes this.
  11. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,250   +609

    It is a Monday
     
  12. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,830   +2,691

    Monday is my favorite day.
     
  13. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,139   +374

    Yup a few morons will ruin it for everyone else rinse repeat and recycle.

    Using a laser pointer and causing a crash and using a drone and causing the crash while different will probably end up with the same results. The courts will throw the book at you either way. And they should you are risking people lives!
     
  14. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,830   +2,691

    Never suggested they wouldn't.
     
  15. Master Yeti

    Master Yeti TS Rookie

    I hope this does not restrict normal usage of drones, as suggested by the implementation of GPS-tracker by davislane1, which would affect a lot of users. I mean, what if you build your own drone.
    Very high fines and prison time as punishments should already be enough for people to stay away from restricted airspace. Next to that, it should be the job of the airfield (air traffic control tower) to scan the near environment for drones as a safety measure. Because drones may still end up near airfields because of failure in autonomous drones (e.g. that transport items), or things like a terrorism attack.
     
  16. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,830   +2,691

    Then you buy the chips.

    They already do this. Another reason why the drones should be tagged and linked to owners.
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,844   +3,063

    I feel as if automobiles should have the same thing. That and mandatory camera's so every accident will have video footage of what really happened.
     
  18. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,830   +2,691

    Cars are a different beast entirely. That's something that needs to be handled at the licensing level. Chipping vehicles and requiring accident cameras by law only opens up the box of entirely obvious but allegedly unintended consequences. Both can already be done voluntarily at the consumer level. No reason to get gov't involved.
     
  19. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,844   +3,063

    Ohh so the few as-sholes that give reason for drones do, but for automobiles it is different? That ratio would be one drone to thousands of car owners that could benefit / be prosecuted.

    With autonomous vehicle functions we will be getting camera footage (as well as other sensory output) at least. Maybe there will be at least one autonomous vehicle in every accident, since you don't think there is a need for camera/chip to be mandatory.

    But if the vehicles had tracking, no one could escape in a car chase. And the authorities wouldn't need to be so aggressive in keeping up. There are numerous advantages to people knowing where their vehicles are at throughout the day. And buying third party devices will never look as good as factory installed features.
     
  20. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,830   +2,691

    They simply aren't the same thing, Cliff.

    Naturally.
     
  21. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,844   +3,063

    Apples to oranges, they are still fruit and sold by the same guidelines.
    Men to women, they are still people and follow the same rules.

    Roadways to Airways, there are still people controlling the device. It doesn't make since to say they are different and shouldn't be monitored the same way.
     

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