A report from the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) today said that four drones almost caused collisions with commercial aircraft in 2015.
According to the report, the incidents were classed as ‘category A’ which means a serious risk of collision existed. So much so, that one drone came “very close” to a Boeing 737 taking off at Standsted.
During that incident on September 13 2015, the pilot spotted a purple remote control aircraft within meters of the airplane at about 4,000 feet during takeoff. It happened so quickly that the pilots were unable to react or take evasive reaction.
Another incident involving a Chinook military helicopter saw a drone with attached camera pass just outside the rotor disk, narrowly avoiding collision during a “simulated engine malfunction.”
The association urges that pilots need technology to ensure drones cannot fly near airports and to find a way to make them appear on radars, so that planes and air traffic control are able to see them ahead of time.
Steve Landells, BALPA Flight Safety Specialist, said that “pilots can see that drones can be useful and fun to fly, but these near misses are becoming too regular an occurrence. We must act now to protect passengers and flight crew and make sure a catastrophic crash does not happen.”