The UK Airprox Board investigated a drone near-miss reported by Monarch Airlines Airbus A321 near London-Heathrow Airport on 28 November 2015. Separation distance reported as 80 feet.
On 28 November 2015, the pilot of an Airbus A321 reported conducting a normal ILS Approach to RW26L at London-Gatwick Airport. The Captain was flying (PF) and the reporting pilot was pilot monitoring (PM). At 100ft agl he saw what he assumed was a bird hovering at about that height above the RW26L touchdown markers, on the centreline, which did not warrant mentioning. He kept watching, with increasing suspicion as the object remained in the same spot in the front cockpit window, hovering, entirely stationary, and not ‘flapping’, unlike a bird. At about 30ft agl, when just about to land, he realised it was a drone with a dark/black colour frame. He lost sight of the drone at 20ft agl and continued for a normal landing. He noted that there was not enough time to state or discuss the sighting with the PF at such a critical phase of flight.
Reported separation: 80 ft (24 m) vertical / 0 ft horizontal.
Flight involved: ZB265 Alicante (ALC) – London-Gatwick (LGW); Airbus A321 G-ZBAM
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Operator: Monarch Airlines
Aircraft altitude: 100 ft
Separation: 80 feet
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.