Suspected Heathrow drone collision

After a drone apparently hit a passenger plane bound for Heathrow from Geneva, the Air Accident Investigation Branch has launched an investigation. Flight BA727 from Geneva had the collision which the pilot said was with a drone.

The plane had 132 passengers and five crew aboard. It landed safely at Heathrow with no major damage or injuries to anyone aboard. This incident however is the latest in what has been described as a strong of such incidents around the major international airport.

There have been a number of so-called near misses, and the collision on Sunday was the first occasion where a drone actually hit a plane.

Steve Landells, from the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), told the BBC that the incident has not come as a surprise, as it was “only a matter of time before we had a drone strike”.

In response the Civil Aviation Authority has put out a statement reminding the public that flying drones near an airport is “totally unacceptable” and illegal – anyone caught could be put in prison for endangering lives in the air.

MP David Burrowes called for licensing and registration for the owners of high powered drones. The collision will add to the debate about use and misuse of the aircraft. It appears that it is only a matter of time before a drone hits an engine and causes serious problems.

Regulation at present is extremely tight on where drones can fly near landing and taking off flight paths, and are a major issue that need to be addressed before commercial drone deliveries can take place in built up areas with busy airspace such as London. If there are deaths then the political mood may well be more obstructive than constructive toward such regulation being loosened.