London Police investigate as suspected drone hits British Airways flight
18 April 2016
Police in London have launched investigations into an instance of a British Airways flight approaching Heathrow Airport last afternoon being struck by an object believed to be a drone.
According to the airline, the Airbus A320 made a safe landing and was cleared for its next flight.
According to the BBC, if confirmed, the alleged drone strike was believed to be the first incident of its kind in the UK.
According to the police, the Airbus pilot reported that a possible drone struck the front of the airplane, but no arrests had immediately been made.
According to British Airways, the flight which originated in Geneva, carried 132 passengers and five crew members. In a statement, the airline said, the plane "was fully examined by our engineers" before being cleared for its next flight.
''Safety and security are always our first priority and we will give the police every assistance with their investigation,'' the airline said.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch, which investigates civil aircraft accidents confirmed that it had also launched a separate probe. While no arrests had been made, inquiries were under way.
Steve Landells, flight safety specialist at the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), said, "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, news.sky.com reported.
"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."
A Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman said, "It is totally unacceptable to fly drones close to airports and anyone flouting the rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment.
"Drone users have to understand that when taking to the skies they are potentially flying close to one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world – a complex system that brings together all manner of aircraft, including passenger aeroplanes, military jets, helicopters, gliders and light aircraft. Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations."