Drones almost hit passenger planes 18 times in just three months — including a 70ft near-miss as a plane came into Heathrow

Drones almost hit passenger planes 18 times in just three months — including a 70ft near-miss as a plane came into Heathrow


DRONES nearly hit passenger planes 18 times in just three months, including a 70ft miss as a jet flew into Heathrow.

The terrifying incident — 3,000ft above West London ­— saw “a large commercial drone” skim close to an 850-seater Airbus A380 as it came into land, it was revealed.

Drone near-misses rose by 29 per cent to 120 last year.
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Drones almost hit 18 passenger planes over just three months[/caption]

The near misses in just three months last year were among incidents which prompted Heathrow and Gatwick to install drone-busting tech.

Heathrow has recently deployed the AUDS system able to detect, track and ground drones. It is designed to stop the devices being used for terrorism and spying.

Similar equipment has been pictured on the roof of Gatwick’s South Terminal.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “We’ve always worked closely with the Government and Met Police to monitor and mitigate against threats to the airport, including the irresponsible use of drones.”

It is understood the system was installed only after a drone caused a one-hour delay to departures last week.

Gatwick’s system has prevented a repeat of the alert that grounded jets for three days in the week before Christmas.

The Government has also announced a raft of measures designed to give police extra powers to combat drones.

They include three-mile exclusion zones around airports and a new competency test for owners of devices which weigh more than 260g.


Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said: “The actions of these drone users were not only irresponsible, but illegal.

“The law could not be clearer that this is a criminal offence and anyone endangering others in this way faces imprisonment.”

Drone near-misses rose by 29 per cent to 120 last year, up from six in 2014.

New technology to combat the gadgets have been put in place
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New technology to combat the gadgets have been put in place as close calls rose by 29 per cent over the last year[/caption]

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