Similar to reports in the United States, we are now seeing reports coming from the UK of near collisions between drones and passenger aircraft. According to David Hastings Dunn of The Guardian, an accident is just waiting to happen.
Dozens of near-misses between drones and manned aircraft took place last year – one drone passing within 25 metres of a Boeing-777 near Heathrow airport, according to the UK Airprox Board, which investigates incidents in British airspace.
Last week the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) called for research into the effects of a collision; its safety expert warned that these could include smashed cockpit windscreens and uncontrolled engine failures – in which “you end up with very high-velocity bits of metal going anywhere they like. That could be through fuel tanks, through hydraulic lines and even into the cabin.”
We’ve had some concerns over the accuracy of near collision reporting here in the US, that being said, at some point this type of collision will happen. If not in UK, or in the US, then somewhere else. I strongly believe the best tool we have available against this type of accident is education, and I’m not alone. In the US, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has gone on record stating that they believe drone operators should be required to pass training courses prior to being able to use their aircraft. However ALPA is comfortable with just an online course, that is where I disagree. There is not replacement for high quality, hands-on drone training.
It’s fairly common for drone operators to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, on their aircraft. It’s a fact, an investment in your drone education, protects your existing drone investment. Learn to fly safely from the very best in the industry, learn from Drone Universities.
About the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA)
Whether you fly single engine piston aircraft, helicopters or intercontinental jets you can find a home at BALPA. We welcome all flight crew into our family.
Our vision of ‘Making Every Flight a Safe Flight’ is at the very core of everything we do and has been since those early days of aviation when BALPA was established. The Flight Time Limitation challenges that bought about the birth of BALPA all those years ago are just as big a threat to flight safety now.
Supporting Flight Safety as our number one priority, the BALPA ‘Pilots Charter’ outlines the responsibilities of flightcrew and demonstrates the professional approach pilots take to maintain high safety standards regardless of external pressures.