Drone Hits British Airways Plane At Heathrow Airport

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The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it is investigating an incident at Heathrow Airport after a British Airways plane was hit by what is believed to be a drone. BBC News reports that the pilot of aircraft BA727, which was approaching Heathrow after flying from Geneva with 132 passengers on board, contacted police shortly after the collision at 12:50PM. The Met has yet to confirm specifics, but if it is proven to have been a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), it will likely be the first recorded incident where a drone has struck a plane.

If confirmed, it’s thought it would be the first such incident in the UK. British Airways said it would give the police “every assistance with their investigation.” No arrests have been made, police say. The Metropolitan Police’s aviation security unit based at Heathrow will lead the investigation.

In September last year, a drone helicopter and quadcopter narrowly missed planes in separate incidents at Heathrow and there have been similar incidents at City Airport, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester.

Drone Rules

Drones now ship with positioning systems that restrict their operation at airports and restricted airspaces but the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) also explicitly states that they should not be flown above 400 feet and pilots should never lose sight of their drone. Another rule bans them from flying within 50 metres of another person, vehicle or structure (that includes prisons and football stadia) that are not under the pilot’s control.

Drone pilots are simply ignoring this safety advice, leading calls for tougher rules and sentences to be put in place. Do you think there should be stricter rules on drones & UAVs? With incidents such as this, tighter rules on flying drones may help with the safety concerns that come with drones.

Should drone and UAV pilots face harsher punishment for breaking the rules?  Tell us what you think in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.

  Source: BBC News UK
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