Are Drones Becoming the Next Flying Saucers? BA Plane Incident Not Confirmed

Earlier this week, we were reporting an incident at the Heathrow airport in London where an Airbus belonging to British Airways had allegedly struck a drone as it was approaching to land.
Generic drone 1 photo
Photo: Pixabay
The story seemed plausible and it came from a reliable source (the BBC), so there was no point in questioning its authenticity. And the story itself was true: the plane did hit something, it's just that the pilot saw what he wanted to see - or, better yet, what he was most afraid of.

Just like every flickering light used to be a UFO a few decades ago, the pilots might be starting to see drones where there aren't any. However, just because this incident might not have been caused by one, that doesn't mean that rogue drones don't still pose a threat to commercial aviation.

I'm no expert, but if I were to bet on a collision between an Airbus A320 and a drone, I would put my money on the former. At the same time, I really wouldn't want to be IN the airplane when that happens, so I guess we'll call this a draw.

The FAA (the Federal Aviation Administration) released the official numbers of US pilots reporting drone sightings during last year, and they amount to 678. However, due to the mini-phobia built around the subject, some of them have proven to be false, with the pilot mislabeling other objects - or birds - as drones. It would appear that this might be the case as well for the Heathrow incident.

Further analysis of the airplane revealed it had suffered absolutely no damage, despite the fact that the pilot said there was contact between the alleged UAV and the aircraft's frontal part. Robert Goodwill, UK's Transport Minister, told The Telegraph that he won't support tighter rules for drones as he does not see them necessary.

Attempting to play down the incident, Mr. Goodwill said, "The reported drone strike on Sunday has not been confirmed it was actually a drone. It was the local police force that tweeted that they had a report of a drone striking an aircraft.

"And indeed the early reports of a dent in the front of the plane were not confirmed - there was no actual damage to the plane and there's indeed some speculation that it may have even been a plastic bag or something.

"I've not actually landed a 747 at Heathrow but I've landed the simulator and the pilot has a lot of other things to concentrate on so we're not quite sure what they saw so I think we should maybe not overreact too much
." So if there's ever a severe crackdown on drone usage in the USA, plan your holidays in the UK while Mr. Goodwill is in charge and don't forget to pack your drone.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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