Issues

Drone Hits British Airways Plane Heading to London

A drone hit a British Airways plane Sunday / Press Association via AP images
A drone hit a British Airways plane Sunday / Press Association via AP images

A drone hit a plane flying into London over the weekend, according to police reports.

A British Airways pilot reported that a drone crashed into the front of the plane carrying 132 passengers from Geneva as he was descending into Heathrow Airport on Sunday afternoon.

While the flight landed safely, police said they were uncertain what would have happened had the drone been sucked into the jet’s engine, NBC News reported. Flying an unmanned aircraft too close to a plane is illegal, police said, adding that no arrests had yet been made.

Last year, pilots reported 40 near-miss incidents in the United Kingdom, compared to nine in 2014.

The spike in unmanned drones flying in close proximity to manned aircraft is also up in the United States. The Federal Aviation Authority reported more than 650 unauthorized drone sightings during the first eight months of last year, up from 238 sightings during all of 2014.

"Frankly it was only a matter of time before we had a drone strike given the huge numbers being flown around by amateurs who don't understand the risks and the rules," Steve Landells, flight safety specialist for the British Airline Pilots Association told The Telegraph.

"It appears that no serious damage was done on this occasion, but what is clear is that while most drones are flown safely, sensibly and within the limits of the law, much more education of drone users and enforcement of the rules is needed to ensure our skies remain safe from this threat."

The incident Sunday is believed to be the first of its kind in the U.K., according to a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority.