April 18th, 2016, 17:48 PM
Drone May Have Hit Passenger Jet at Heathrow Airport
A British Airways plane may have hit a drone as it approached Heathrow Airport in London on Sunday, according to the BBC. The aircraft landed safely just before 1 p.m., though the pilot reported an object had struck the front of the plane.
Connected TravelerThe plane had 137 people on board, and no injuries were reported, nor was the plane significantly damaged. Police and British Airways officials are now investigating.
"Our aircraft landed safely, was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight," an airline spokesperson told the BBC.
While a rash of near-misses between drones and landing airliners have been reported, an actual collision has never happened before in the U.K., the BBC reports. It's illegal to fly drones close to airports without permission in the US and Britain, where offenders can receive jail sentences of up to five years.
French authorities are investigating a near-miss between a drone and an Air France jet at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport in February, which is believed to be the first such incident in France.
More than 1,300 near-misses between drones and aircraft were reported in the US last year, according to the FAA. The agency said it now receives more than 100 drone incident reports every month and is encouraging the public to report unauthorized drone flights to local law enforcement.
Some manufacturers pre-program their drones to avoid so-called "exclusion zones" around airports. The built-in GPS of these drones will stop them flying into those spaces.