Drone hits commercial aircraft near airport in Canada

A drone struck a commercial aircraft as the plane came in to land at an airport in Canada. According to the Canadian minister of transport, Marc Garneau, it is the first time a drone has collided with a commercial airliner in Canada.

In a statement issued yesterday, Garneu revealed that on Thursday, a Skyjet flight was struck by a drone as it approached Jean Lesage International Airport in Québec City.

"I am extremely relieved that the aircraft only sustained minor damage and was able to land safely," said Garneau.

CNET reported  that it had learnt from the ministry of transport that the aircraft was a Beech 100 King Air, but the drone has not been identified.

Garneau told CBC that "it could have been much more serious" if the drone had struck an engine or the cockpit.

He added that the drone had been flying 3 miles from the airport at 450 meters (around 1,500 feet), which is 150 metres above the legal limit. The plane was carrying eight passengers.

Reports of drones endangering aircraft have been increasing as the unmanned aerial vehicles become more commonplace.

A number of near-misses have been recorded while some pilots have been convinced their plane was struck by a drone, although the actual presence of a drone has not been confirmed.

Meanwhile, in another incident, the lives of 130 people were at risk after a drone nearly collided with an aircraft coming in to land at London's Gatwick, a report has revealed.

According to the UK Airprox Board (UKAB), the flying gadget passed directly over the right wing of the Airbus A319, which was approaching the runway.

The drone was described as ''very large, certainly not a toy''. It had four huge blades and a diameter of about one metre.

Investigators were told by the plane's first officer that the ''startle factor of the drone's proximity'' nearly caused him to disconnect the cockpit's autopilot system and take ''avoiding action''.