Last updated: 12:15 PM ET, Thu November 17 2016

REPORT: Drone Almost Strikes Passenger Plane Over London

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | November 17, 2016

REPORT: Drone Almost Strikes Passenger Plane Over London

Photo via Thinkstock

A recently released report indicates that a passenger aircraft preparing to land in London narrowly missed a collision with a drone earlier this year.

According to BBC.com, the Airbus A320 aircraft was carrying around 165 passengers on July 18 as it approached Heathrow Airport when a drone reportedly came within 66 feet of striking the plane.

The pilot of the flight called the incident a “very near miss,” and said the black drone was around 20 inches wide and passed above the right wing and a horizontal stabilizer. At the time of the incident, the plane was at an elevation of 4,900 feet.

Crew members first saw the drone from the right-side flight deck window.

The United Kingdom’s Airprox Board said in its report that “crew members agreed that this incident appeared to be a very near-miss and that the drone operator should not have been flying in that location at that altitude.”

The air safety organization also went on to say that the near miss “portrayed a situation where a collision had only been narrowly avoided and chance had played a major part.”

As a result, the incident was deemed to be in the most serious category of risk, but the operator of the drone has not yet been identified.

In April, British Airways plane also heading to Heathrow was actually struck by a drone. The plane landed safely and was examined by investigators. In response, Great Britain developed an anti-drone system that the Federal Aviation Administration is also testing.

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