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Drone In Reported Near Collision With A Glider In England

Two Aircraft Missed Colliding By About 15 Feet, Authorities Say

A drone being flown in the area around Dunstable airport northwest of London nearly collided with a glider on approach to the airport, according to the U.K. Airprox board.

According to the report, the pilot of an ASK21 glider told the board that he was performing a standard circuit at Dunstable. The weather was grey and overcast with a rain front approaching from the west. A drone was encountered at 550ft just prior to the final turn for approach. The drone was 20-50 meters (65-165 feet) in front of the nose of the glider and a few meters below. It was grey in colour and therefore difficult to see in the overcast weather against a backdrop of Dunstable town. It passed rapidly to the right of the glider, remaining a few meters below; there was no time to take avoiding action. Had the drone been on a collision course it was unlikely that the glider would have responded to control inputs rapidly enough to allow avoiding action to be effective.

The board determined that the drone was being flown in the vicinity of an airfield circuit such that it was endangering other aircraft at that location and altitude. The Board agreed that the incident was therefore best described as the drone was flown into conflict with the glider. The two aircraft came within 15 feet of colliding, according to the board's report.

The Board considered that the pilot’s estimate of separation, allied to his overall account of the incident and his inability to avoid the drone portrayed a situation where providence had played a major part in the incident and/or a definite risk of collision had existed. The board said that the risk of collision in this incident was "High".

(Source: Airprox Board. Image from file)

FMI: www.airproxboard.org.uk/Reports-and-analysis/Monthly-summaries/2018/Monthly-Meeting-January-2018/


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