A320 Drone Strike Suspected


file photo: Wikimedia

The captain of aBritish AirwaysAirbus A320 flying into London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday afternoon told authorities he believed the front of the airplane was hit by a drone on approach. The airplane landed safely and it was examined carefully by engineers. It hasn’t been reported what damage they found, if any, but they cleared the aircraft to take off on its next scheduled flight. “It is totally unacceptable to fly drones close to airports and anyone flouting the rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment,” Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement after the incident.

Paul Rigby, a spokesman for the drone industry, said such incidents are preventable. “We should have geofencing for consumers that are embedded into the drones,” he told the International Business Times. “The burden is definitely on the manufacturers to take responsibility for the capabilities they’re introducing.” Such features could be turned off for trained commercial users. A recent analysis by Bard College found 188 “close encounters” reported by pilots to the FAA between August 2015 and January 2016. So far no drone-aircraft collisions have been confirmed.