Plane Over Richmond Park When Hit By 'Drone'

BA flight landed safely but police appeal for information

A BA pilot flying from Geneva into Heathrow on Sunday (17th April) afternoon reported to police that an object thought to be a drone had struck the plane as it flew over the Richmond area on its descent to Heathrow. The plane landed safely at 12.38pm, but had been flying at approximately 1700 ft when it was hit.

The flight was an Airbus A320 similar to above

Police are appealing for information after a plane on its descent into Heathrow Airport was struck by an object believed to be a drone.

The flight landed at Heathrow Terminal 5 safely and was inspected by BA engineers. There was no damage found to the aircraft.

Officers believe that the incident occurred over the Richmond area, in proximity of Richmond Park, South West London. Local officers searched a wide area for suspects and/or debris but nothing has so far been found.

Aviation Policing are working with partners from British Airways (BA), Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to investigate this incident, which is being treated as an endangerment of an aircraft under Article 137 Air Navigation Order 2009.
Aviation Policing would ask for anyone who was in the area of Richmond Park or any surrounding open spaces on that day between 12:00hrs and 1300hrs who may have information to contact police or Crimestoppers.

Chief Superintendent Martin Hendy, head of Metropolitan Police Service's Aviation Policing Command, said: "Thankfully the aircraft landed safely but the incident highlights the very real dangers of reckless, negligent and some times malicious use of drones. We continue to work with the Civil Aviation Authority and other partners to tackle this issue and ensure that enthusiasts who fly drones understand the dangers and the law. One of the challenges is to ensure people realise what is legitimate and what is illegal. The message is do not fly them anywhere near airports or flight paths, or over crowded places such as football and other stadiums. The potential is there for a major incident."

The police would also ask anyone to contact police if they find identifiable parts of drone in the Richmond area.

Anyone who can assist the investigation is asked to contact Aviation Policing on 020 3276 1460; or alternatively Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.

The Civil Aviation Authority points out that anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations. These rules are designed to keep all airspace users safe and anyone who ignores them, particularly in relation to flying close to an airport, can face severe penalties including imprisonment.

* Make sure you can see your drone at all times and don't fly higher than 400 feet
* Always keep your drone away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields
* Use your common sense and fly safely; you could be prosecuted if you don't.

April 18, 2016