Someone finally flew their drone into an airplane, hopefully not ruining drones for everyone else


posted Monday, April 18, 2016 at 3:30 PM EDT

Last week, we reported on a drone flying through an office window. Yesterday something much more dangerous happened when a drone collided with an airplane at London's Heathrow Airport.

While approaching Heathrow Airport, a British Airways pilot of an Airbus A320 from Geneva to London reported that the plane had collided with a drone. Thankfully, the plane landed safely and nobody was injured, but the drone did strike the front of the aircraft.

British Airways released a statement about the incident in which they said that the plane landed safely and that the aircraft was cleared for its next flight. Nonetheless, the person flying the drone definitely ignored the United Kingdom's law stating that you must "always keep your drone away from aircraft…" Further, Scotland Yard has said that they are investigating the incident, as is the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

It has not been reported which type of drone collided with the A320. Maybe if the drone in question had been a newly-released Phantom 4 with the anti-collision features enabled, this incident could've been avoided and it would have been another near-miss story instead. 

There have been close calls before, but this is the first documented instance of a drone hitting an aircraft. However, as 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…much more education of drone users and enforcement of the rules is needed to ensure our skies remain safe from this threat."

A photo from British Airways of an Airbus A320.

If incidents like this become more common, it likely won't be long before rules and regulations, which are already increasing, become prohibitively strict. Drones have the capacity to capture some incredible images and video footage, so I hope that a few irresponsible drone pilots don't ruin it for everyone else.

(Seen via Fstoppers)