This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The UK Airprox Board, the agency responsible for investigating aerial near-misses in the United Kingdom, published its monthly report recently, containing an overview of near-misses it had investigated over the past few months. One significant near-miss reported involved a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 and a civilian drone. According to the report, the civilian drone came within just 10 feet of the passenger jet as it descended into London-Heathrow (LHR).
Sky News has reported that this incident is likely, “the closest ever near-miss between one of the gadgets [a drone] and a commercial airliner” in the United Kingdom. The pilots of the Boeing 787-9 bound for London stated that they reported seeing the drone on approach into London Heathrow as they descended through 3,200 feet. The legal maximum altitude for civilian drones in the United Kingdom is just 400 feet. UK law also restricts drones from entering the airspace of most airports, stating that drones must remain 1 kilometer outside of the airspace of major airports. Additionally, the Airprox Board report states that “The drone was being flown beyond VLOS (visual line of sight) limits and on an airfield approach path such that it was endangering other aircraft at that altitude and position.” Drones are required to remain in the visual line of sight of civilian pilots at all times.
On June 25, Virgin Atlantic Flight 301 was nearing the end of an eight-hour-and-thirteen-minute flight originating in New Delhi, India, when pilots reported seeing the drone in close proximity to their aircraft. The Boeing 787-9 was reportedly full, carrying up to 264 passengers. Data from Flightradar24 and from the Airprox report shows that the drone encounter didn’t require the Boeing 787-9 to have to make any evasive last-second maneuvers and the aircraft landed at London-Heathrow without incident.
As drones have become more affordable and found at a growing number of retailers across the UK and the United States, concerns over civilian drones have grown in both countries. Legislation has been passed in both the UK and the US that require drones of a certain weight to be registered with the Civil Aviation Authority (UK) or the Federal Aviation Administration (US). Altitude and airspace restrictions have also been imposed on civilian drones, however, incidents like the one involving Virgin Atlantic 301 have grown increasingly common in recent years.
Featured image by Marcio Rodrigo Machado / S3studio / Getty Images.
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees