Somebody flew a drone at a passenger aircraft and nearly hit it, according to a British aviation agency. And the act may have been deliberate, they say.
In May, a quadcopter passed within 80 feet of a passenger airliner, coming dangerously close to hitting the plane's right wing while flying about 1,500 feet high. The twin-engine turboprop plane has 74 seats, but the report didn't say how many passengers were aboard at the time.
The report revealed that it had not been possible to trace the drone nor its operators since the incident and concluded that it was disappointing that no one had come forward to take responsibility of the quadcopter.
The incident is considered the first-ever near-miss between a passenger plane and a drone in the UK.
The report from the UK Airprox Board detailed transmissions between the airliner's pilot (AT72) and the control tower at Southend Airport (ATC) during the incident.
AT72: '…for information when we were on the glide just about to intercept the glide er seen on the right side kind of er you know remote control helicopter er very small engine flying on the right side same altitude'
ATC: 'That's understood roughly what range when you saw that was it'
AT72: 'Just before we intercept the glide was black and red'
ATC: 'That's understood er I'll make a note of that'
AT72: 'Was not sure it was you know a helicopter it looks like it's a brand new thing that are flying around now on remote control'
ATC: 'Oh a quadcopter type thing maybe'
AT72: 'Say again sorry'
ATC: 'Perhaps something like a quadcopter er we've had a couple of those around here er been reported'
AT72: 'Yes exactly that'
ATC: '(AT72)c/s do you know roughly how far away the erm model was from you'
AT72: 'er from my point of view it was too close'
Crazy as it is, this isn't the first report of a drone jeopardizing a plane. In March, a drone nearly collided with a passenger plane near Tallahassee, Florida. The drone and pilot were never found then, either.
What is going on here? Out-of-control hobbyists, or something more sinister? Tell me what you think in the comments below.