Was a British Airways Airliner Hit by a Drone?

Authorities think a drone might have hit an airliner on approach at London’s Heathrow Airport. Frankie Fouganthin/Wikipedia Creative Commons

Authorities in London are investigating a possible collision between an airliner and a drone last weekend.

British Airways Flight BA727 was approaching Heathrow on Sunday afternoon when something the pilot believes to be a drone struck the front of the airplane.

The Airbus A320 landed safely, with no significant damage to the airliner, but authorities say the incident shows the risk drones pose to air travel safety.

"Thankfully the aircraft landed safely, but the incident highlights the very real dangers of reckless, negligent and sometimes malicious use of drones," said Martin Hendy, head of London Metropolitan Police Service's Aviation Policing Command. "We continue to work with the Civil Aviation Authority and other partners to tackle this issue and ensure that enthusiasts who fly drones understand the dangers and the law.”

No arrests have been made, but police think the drone might have been launched from a nearby park and are asking the public for any information they might have about it or debris from the collision.

Authorities say there were 23 near misses with drones in British airspace in the past six months.

Reports to the FAA of close encounters with drones in U.S. airspace are also on the rise. The agency recorded 582 incidents involving unmanned aircraft from August 21, 2015, to January 31, 2016, according to Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone.


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