A British Airways plane headed from Geneva, Switzerland, to London has reported a collision with what appeared to be a drone.
While the plane, carrying 132 passengers and five crew, was approaching the London airport at around 12:50 BST it apparently was hit by a high flying drone. After landing safely, the pilot reported an object he believes to be a drone struck the front of the aircraft, an Airbus A320.
“It transpired that an object, believed to be a drone, had struck the front of the aircraft. No arrests have been made and inquiries continue. Aviation police based at Heathrow investigate,” the spokesperson said. – Metropolitan Police Spokesman
If confirmed to be a drone that struck the plane, it will be the first incident of a drone colliding with a large commercial airline. The reason that this hasn’t happened yet is that the UK has extremely strict rules prohibiting the operation of drones near airports. They must also be kept within eyesight.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) stated that it’s
“totally unacceptable” to fly drones close to airports, and anyone flouting the rules can face “severe penalties, including imprisonment”.
This is a major hit for drone enthusiasts everywhere. With a lot of negativity towards drones already, this is only going to increase the push for increased regulation against them. One guy being stupid and flying his drone into a commercial flight might ruin it all for the rest of drone pilots.
But increased regulation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Highly unregulated right now, these drones are still a flying craft and should be under similar rules to any other aircraft. Just because it’s unmanned doesn’t mean it can just roam free and cause problems for manned craft.