Aer Lingus flight has near-miss with drone at Charles de Gaulle Airport

21 Apr 2016

Pilots of an Aer Lingus plane in the vicinity of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris have reported to ground control that they spotted a drone buzzing the plane’s right wing at a distance of around 150m.

For the second time in a week, a drone has buzzed an aircraft at a major European airport, after it has been reported by the French media that an Airbus A320 plane , operated by Aer Lingus, had a near-collision with a drone yesterday (20 April).

According to the report, the drone was flying not only at a distance of just 150m from the right wing of the large passenger jet, but also at a significant altitude of around 2,300m in the air, which puts it way above what is deemed the legal limit for piloted drone aircraft.

Formal investigation begins

Having spotted the drone during their approach, the pilots then notified ground control of the incident, but the identity of the drone pilot, or even what brand it was, have yet to be confirmed.

While it appears those aboard the flight weren’t put in any real danger from the drone, the incident is still classified as a near-miss by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which says that any close call between two craft counts as a collision if they are within 150m of each other.

A preliminary investigation has been opened up into the incident, but neither authorities nor Aer Lingus have commented on the near-miss.

This incident follows a suspected drone collision between a landing aircraft at Heathrow Airport in London and a drone that supposedly struck the body of the aircraft, but avoided any potentially disaster-causing parts of the craft, such as its engines.

Aer Lingus aircraft image via Rebius/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic