A DRONE was ‘deliberately’ flown towards a plane landing at RAF Northolt in a sinister bid to cause a crash, it has emerged.
The pilot flying the PA31 aircraft saw what he thought was a helium balloon as he was approaching to land at the airfield in North West London.
But as the object drew nearer he realised it was a remote-control drone, and it was being intentionally flown into the path of his plane.
A report from the UK Airprox Board on the pilot’s terrifying experience states: “He lost sight of it under the nose and looked down at the wing root and identified it as a small white drone of the lightweight hobbyist type, it was about 20ft below the aircraft as he passed over it.
“He reported that he had no doubt that it was being deliberately flown under the flight path in an attempt to collide with an aircraft.”
The pilot also thought the drone may have been launched from a park near the air force base which is not protected by the same kind of security as large commercial airports like Heathrow, just six miles away from RAF Northolt.
This is despite the fact that the base is the home of 32 (The Royal) Squadron, which provides air transportation for members of the royal family and government, including the Queen and Prime Minister.
The event at the military aerodrome took place on June 11, just over a month before new laws came into effect that banned the use of drones within 1km of an airfield.
It is also now illegal in the UK to fly a commercial drone above 400ft because of the enormous collision risk they pose to aircraft.
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And the risk is growing, with a reported 92 near-miss incidents involving drones were reported to the UK Airprox Board last year, up from just 29 incidents in 2015.
PWC has estimated that there will be 76,000 industry-focused drones flying in the UK’s skies by 2030.
The Metropolitan Police has not yet responded to a request for comment.
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