Investigation after aircraft hits drone landing at Heathrow

British Airways Airbus A320

UK police are investigating reports that a British Airways Airbus A320 hit a drone while landing at Heathrow Airport.

It is reported that the aircraft from Geneva hit the drone as it approached Heathrow at 12.50h on 17 April. If confirmed to be a drone, it would be the first incident in the UK, though there have a number of near misses reported at Heathrow, Gatwick Airport, Stansted Airport, City Airport and Manchester Airport.

The Civil Aviation Authority has used the incident to remind drone users to fly responsibly. “Drone users have to understand that when taking to the skies they are potentially flying close to one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world – a complex system that brings together all manner of aircraft including passenger aeroplanes, military jets, helicopters, gliders and light aircraft.”

The Metropolitan Police’s aviation unit, based at Heathrow has spoken to the pilot. On Twitter it says: “Officers are currently speaking to a pilot who has reported a drone flying very close to his aircraft on approach to Heathrow … This is dangerous, it is also a crime. Please be aware of the rules before you start flying a drone.”

The British Airline Pilots’ Association has condemned the incident, saying on Twitter: “[It] was only a matter of time given the huge numbers being flown by amateurs who don’t understand the risks & the rules.”

“Clearly there is a need for much more education of drone users and enforcement of the rules to ensure our skies remain safe from this threat.”