The nearest near-miss in the short history of drone enthusiasts flying their toys too close to passenger aeroplanes has been recorded, with the UK's aviation collision police reporting that a drone came within just 10 feet of a Virgin Atlantic plane as it was coming in to land at Heathrow.
Investigators at the UK Airprox Board said the drone was flying beyond the visual range of its pilot at the time, and came within 10 feet of the Virgin B787-9 Dreamliner that was preparing to land with 264 passengers onboard; although Virgin said it was more like 20 feet away from the underside of the plane's right-hand wing, but this still panicked the pilots enough that they immediately reported it to air traffic control, as is required.
The plane was still at a height of around 3,200ft when the near-miss occurred – way beyond the acceptable drone range limits – with local police failing to find the pilot in the immediate aftermath. So the drone controller may not have had a clue about the large amount of shit that very nearly hit a jet-powered turbofan. [Mirror]