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Drone Narrowly Missed British Airways Flight from Athens to London

LONDON – A British Airways flight that started in Athens on January 3 just missed hitting a drone over the Kent countryside in England, coming within 5 feet at a height of 9,600 feet, the plane carrying 180 passengers and traveling 250 miles an hour.

The incident is thought one of the closest ever near hits between a British Airways  jet and a drone which was being flown at 24 times the usual maximum legal height for the devices which is just 400 feet, said The Daily Mail.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13250171/British-Airways-flight-misses-drone-narrowly-dodged-jet-Greece-Heathrow-close-call.html

The Airbus A321 was heading into a holding stack around six miles south of Sevenoaks while waiting its turn to join the final flight path into Heathrow, the operator believed never to be found, the newspaper said.

A report by the UK Airprox Board which assesses near misses said the pilots estimated the drone as being around 5 feet over their wing and just 30 feet from their cockpit, avoiding a strike that could have been dangerous or even deadly.

The height of the devices is normally restricted by software to 400 feet, but the limit can be overridden by a patch bought on the Internet and extra batteries can lift the drones into the flying path of jumbo jets and other aircraft.

It is thought that the drone operator in the incident might have been trying to get dramatic video footage of an airliner in mid-air and deliberately brought it close to the plane as it was in its descent.

The report rated it as a Category A incident where there was a serious risk of collision and that as the jet approached its holding stack the pilot “became aware of an object slightly to the right of the nose at the same level on a constant bearing with closing distance.”

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