Drone Narrowly Misses Plane During Night Take Off at Heathrow

By James O Malley on at

Last November, a drone came within 10ft of colliding with a Boeing 777 as it took off from Heathrow, a new report has revealed.

According to The Mirror, the UK Airprox Board, which monitors aircraft incidents rated it as a "Category A" risk - the highest possible rating before a crash. The plane was apparently already at 6000ft and scarily, the incident took place in darkness, so the pilots didn't notice until it was almost too late.

"There was no prior indication or warning of the object, nor would any seem to have been possible, and therefore no opportunity for the pilot to increase separation prior to the closest point of approach", the report says, adding that "Members therefore agreed unanimously that a collision had been avoided purely by providence".


Drone incidents are becoming increasingly a fact of life for air traffic controllers. Between April and October last year 23 near misses were investigated. This incident though is believed to be the first which happened at night.

Other incidents in the report include one idiot on 28th November who wanted to get a video of a plane landing at Gatwick head-on, where the pilot only spotted the drone when 30ft from the ground, and another on the 6th December at London City Airport when a drone forced a plane to change its approach after flying "within a wingspan" of a landing aircraft. [The Mirror]