Airbus in near-miss with drone near Hemel Hempstead, report reveals

An airbus pilot had to take ‘evasive action’ to avoid a drone above the skies of Bovingdon, a near-miss report has revealed.

Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 9:21 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 10:12 pm
The plane involved in the incident was an A319

The pilot of the A319 plane had little time to react as he flew 8,000ft over Bovingdon in July 2018.

That is according to a report by Airprox, which records all potential near misses between planes and objects.

The pilot flying to Heathrow “saw in front and slightly above of him what was thought to be a helium party balloon with string dangling underneath,” reads the reports.

The plane involved in the incident was an A319

“As they got closer it became obvious it was a black quadcopter drone of fairly large size with some sort of underslung camera system.”

It was spotted too late to manoeuvre and came within 60 metres of the aircraft.

“The drone was being flown above the maximum permitted height of 400ft such that it was endangering other aircraft at that location.

“The board agreed the incident was therefore best described as the drone was flown into conflict with the A319.”

Lib Dem Cllr Ron Tindall said: “While I recognise the freedom for people to use technological advances, the impact of others can put lives at risk.”

Details of the near miss were obtained through a Gazette investigation which found there has been more than 300 near misses between drones and aircraft across the UK even before there recent Gatwick and Heathrow incidents.

Drone sightings brought 36 hours of chaos to Gatwick Airport in the run-up to Christmas, with runways closed and 1,000 flights affected in what police described as a “deliberate act” of disruption. Heathrow was also forced to ground flights last month.

But pilots had begun to report narrowly missing drones in the sky from 2010 onwards, analysis of hundreds of reports shows.

Since the shutdowns, the Government has faced criticism these events were foreseeable and more should be done to prevent them.

However, the Department for Transport has said there are already laws in place.