Tag Archives: London-Heathrow

Drone airpox report involving an Airbus A319 near London-Heathrow

The UK Airprox Board investigated a drone near-miss reported by Airbus A319 near London-Heathrow on 25 September 2015. Separation distance reported as 165-330 feet.

THE A319 PILOT reports approaching the LAM hold when ATC advised that a drone had been reported in the vicinity at FL080; consequently, both crew members were looking out for it. Upon leaving the hold, the FO spotted an object on the horizon, approaching them at the same level and in the opposite direction. As the object got closer it became obvious that it was either a drone or a balloon, it then passed between 50-100m off the right wing. As it passed, the FO was able to get a detailed look at it and could clearly see it to be a drone. It was a Quadcopter with two forward/downward looking lights on the central underside; it was of medium size, not a small toy drone. They immediately reported it to ATC with as much information as possible. The pilot noted his concern that a drone could be operating at such an altitude, in such a critically busy piece of airspace; he considered that it presented a serious risk of collision to their own aircraft and the other aircraft in the hold.
He perceived the severity of the incident as ‘High’.

Operating as he was in airspace within which he was not permitted meant that the Board considered that the cause of the Airprox was that the drone operator had flown into conflict with the A319. Unsurprisingly, the incident did not show on the NATS radars and, therefore, the exact separation between the two air-systems was not known. However, the Board noted that the A319 pilot estimated the separation to be between 50m and 100m horizontally (more than a wingspan away); basing their assessment of risk on this estimate, it was therefore determined that the risk was Category B, safety margins had been much reduced below the normal.

Aircraft: Airbus A319
Operator:
Flight:
Aircraft altitude: 8000 ft
Separation: 165-330 feet
Source: UKAB


Please note:

Please note that separation distances are solely based on pilot’s judgements and not necessarily accurate since horizontal and vertical separation distances can be hard to judge.

Drone airpox report involving a Boeing 777 near London-Heathrow

The UK Airprox Board investigated a drone near-miss reported by Boeing 777 near London-Heathrow on 22 September 2015. Separation distance reported as 80 feet.

THE B777 PILOT reports being in the climb-out from Heathrow when, on passing 2000ft, the Captain saw a silver or metallic drone pass down the right-hand-side of the aircraft at the same height. He described the drone as a Quadcopter type, silver or metallic in colour with “coke can” size cylinders at each corner. He estimated it to be 12-18 inches diameter. The aircraft was climbing, and therefore had a nose up attitude, which meant that the crew had limit forward visibility; the encounter was only fleeting as the drone passed down the right-hand-side, lasting probably 1-2 seconds. There was no time to take avoiding action.
He assessed the risk of collision as ‘High’.

Operating as he was in airspace within which he was not permitted meant that the Board considered that the cause of the Airprox was that the drone operator had flown into conflict with the B777. As is often the case with drone Airprox, the incident did not show on the NATS radars; the B777 pilot estimated that the drone was at the same height and within 25m of the B777, less than a wingspan away. Using this estimate as a guide, the Board determined that the risk was Category A, separation had been reduced to the minimum and chance had played a major part in events.

Aircraft: Boeing 777
Operator:
Flight:
Aircraft altitude: 2000 ft
Separation: 80 feet
Source: UKAB


Please note:

Please note that separation distances are solely based on pilot’s judgements and not necessarily accurate since horizontal and vertical separation distances can be hard to judge.