Terrifying drone near-miss at Leeds Bradford Airport ‘made pilot duck’ in fear – Mirror.co.uk

A report has revealed that the incident happened as the B737 plane – believed to have been operated by Jet2 – was at a height of between 300ft and 500ft
An airliner came so close to hitting a drone that the pilot ducked because he feared it would smash through his cockpit window, a report has revealed.
The terrifying near-miss happened as the B737 plane – believed to have been operated by Jet2 – was at a height of between 300ft and 500ft while coming in to land at Leeds Bradford Airport.
The jet carrying up to 189 passengers on a flight from Faro, Portugal, was reportedly left ‘unstable’ in the crucial moments before landing as it missed the device by less than 10ft while flying at around 200mph.
As a result, the shaken pilots told air traffic controllers that they were abandoning their landing and flying back up to 4,000ft so they could turn around and attempt another approach.
The illegally flown drone was apparently not seen again and the plane landed safely, according to the report by the UK Airprox Board which investigates near misses involving aircraft.
The report rated the close call as the most serious type of Category A incident where there had been a serious risk of collision and ‘providence had played a major part’ in the plane missing the drone at 2.45pm on August 28 this year.
Engineers who examined the plane after it landed found no sign of damage, indicating that it had not hit the drone. It is believed that the drone operator was never traced.
The incident happened on the flight path around a mile from the airport’s runway in an area near the Old Ball pub at Horsforth, West Yorkshire.
It is one of the closest ever recorded near misses between a drone and an airliner in UK airspace.
Aviation experts have repeatedly warned of the danger of the gadgets smashing through cockpit windows, possibly injuring or killing a pilot, or causing catastrophic damage to jet engines.
Drones are normally banned from flying anywhere near airports or within 5km of the start and end of runways because of the risk that they pose to aircraft taking off or landing.
But the rules are repeatedly flouted by drone operators apparently wanting to use cameras on their gadgets to get dramatic video of jets flying past, even though they face being jailed for up to five years or fined up to £5,000 for endangering an aircraft.
Reports of near misses are published each month by the UK Airprox Board, and the number of them has increased recently as the aviation industry gets back on its feet after the coronavirus pandemic.
The report into the near miss at Leeds Bradford Airport said the pilot was ‘fully configured and ready to land’ when he saw the ‘four bladed drone in the shape of a blue cross with four black rotors’ passing ‘extremely close to the flight deck window’.
The report added: ‘It happened so fast a better description could not be given. It appeared to be in the area of the Old Ball Pub at Horsforth.
‘The Captain was the pilot flying and as a result of the startle factor ducked and moved their head away from the flight deck window as they thought it was coming through the window.
‘As a result of becoming unstable a standard go around was initiated. ATC were informed that they were going straight ahead to 4000ft.
‘Once level, Approach were informed of the reason for the go around. ATC vectored them for a second attempt to land which was successful. Engineers met aircraft on the stand and it was believed that no evidence of damage to aircraft was found.’
The report did not identify the airline operating the plane, but flight tracker records indicate that it was a Jet2 plane.
Jet2 has been approached for comment.

Get email updates with the day’s biggest stories

source