British Airways B772 at London on Sep 22nd 2015, near collision with a drone

Last Update: February 1, 2016 / 13:40:30 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Sep 22, 2015

Classification
Incident

Flight number
BA-273

Aircraft Registration
G-YMMF

Aircraft Type
Boeing 777-200

ICAO Type Designator
B772

A British Airways Boeing 777-200, registration G-YMMF performing flight BA-273 from London Heathrow,EN (UK) to San Diego,CA (USA), was climbing through 2000 feet out of London Heathrow's runway 27R when the captain caught glimpse of a drone for about 1 to 2 seconds passing the aircraft at the same altitude within a wing span (25 meters) to the right of the aircraft. As there was no impact the aircraft continued the flight to San Diego for a safe landing without further incident.

The United Kingdom's Air Proximity Board rated the occurrence category A (high risk of collision) and reported that the captain described the drone as a quadrocopter style, colour silver to metallic, about 12-18 inches (30-45cm) in diameter. Due to the attitude of the aircraft and the brief glimpse caught onto the drone there was no time to react. The crew subsequently advised ATC that a drone had just missed their right hand wing tip, ATC immediately informed police. The operator of the drone however could not be identified.

The Airprox Board analysed: "In this incident, operating at levels of 2000ft, the drone operator would almost certainly be operating on first-person-view (FPV), for which regulation mandates that an additional person must be used as a competent observer who must maintain direct unaided visual contact with the drone in order to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft. Under FPV operations, for drones of less than 3.5kg, the drone is not permitted to operate above 1000ft agl without CAA approval being gained and a NOTAM being issued. At 2000ft the drone operator was flying within the London CTR, Class D airspace, without permission and, in his non-compliance, the Board considered that the drone operator was posing a flight safety risk. 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."
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Sep 22, 2015

Classification
Incident

Flight number
BA-273

Aircraft Registration
G-YMMF

Aircraft Type
Boeing 777-200

ICAO Type Designator
B772

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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