Sunday, November 01, 2015

​Drone in near-miss with Vans RV6 flying 2,000ft above Northants - UK

A drone being flown above the permitted height limit nearly collided with a light aircraft flying at 170mph over Northamptonshire, air safety investigators have found.

The UK Airprox Board, set up to enhance air safety in the UK, has published a report into an incident which happened 2,000ft (610m) up in the air above Byfield, on May 30.

It details that the pilot of a Van's RV-6 two-seater aircraft had to take 'evasive action' after spotting the drone, which flew past the left-hand side of his aircraft just 50ft away.

The pilot described the drone as a 'red and yellow, three-rotor drone', which was the 'type that can be easily bought in shops and not a commercial surveillance type vehicle'.

The pilot described the drone as one with three rotors, although the board feels it was likely to be a four rotor and that this indicated the drone was flying at the same level as the aircraft.

But although he reported the near-miss, the drone could not be seen on radar and the operator could not be traced.

The UK Airprox Board branded the risk rating a "category B", meaning the aircraft's security was compromised.

The report stated that, according to air safety regulations, drones of this type are not allowed to be flown above 1,000ft.

The report went on to state: "The Board thought that, although it might just be possible for an observer to be able to see a drone at a height of 1300- 1400ft, it would be impractical to judge separation from other aircraft with any degree of accuracy (drone operators were also required to keep 50m away from any third parties, including other aircraft).

"Flying drones above 1000ft was, in any case, contrary to existing CAA regulations; the issue being whether this had been done knowingly or unknowingly. The Board also acknowledged the difficulty in policing and enforcing the regulations; unfortunately, the short battery life of drones means that, with a typical flying time of approximately 15 minutes, it is difficult for the police to respond and catch drone operators flouting the regulations."

Discussing which category to place the incident at, the report concluded: "Although there was no radar data to measure the exact separation, the Board thought it was clear from the pilot's report that this was a fairly close encounter, and they assessed the risk as Category B, safety margins had been much reduced below the norm, but not quite to the point where separation had been reduced to the minimum."

- Source:

Airprox report:

The RV6 pilot reports that he had just switched to a listening watch on the Sywell frequency when he saw the red and yellow, 3-rotor drone.  He reported that it was the type that can be easily bought in shops and not a  commercial  surveillance  type  vehicle.    He  took  evasive  action  and  the  drone passed down the side of the aircraft and under its left wing.

Date: May 30, 2015
Time: 1135Z
Position: 5210N 00114W
Location: Byfield, Northampton

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