Drones involved in four near misses at UK airports

Call for action to prevent "catastrophic crash" of aircraft

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Pilots are calling for urgent action following four serious near-misses with drones at UK airports in just one month.

The UK Air Proximity Board said that in one incident, a drone almost collided with a Boeing 737 taking off from Stansted Airport when the six-foot-long remote-controlled plane passed less than 15ft above its path at 4,000ft

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Category A incidents at Heathrow, London City and Manchester were also reported.

The pilot of the Boeing 777 taking off from Heathrow said the 18-inch drone was "less than a wingspan" away from the plane, The Guardian reports.

British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) spokesman Steve Landells called for action to be taken to prevent a "catastrophic crash".

The association is concerned that the number of incidents could rise over the next few months and has called for stricter rules and regulation system so that drone operators can be easily traced for any "irresponsible flying", the BBC reports.

Pilots also want drones to feature technology that would stop them from flying in areas where they could meet aircraft.

Mr Landells said: "We must act now to protect passengers and flight crew and make sure a catastrophic crash does not happen.

"The authorities must enforce current regulations and make sure new ones, such as compulsory insurance and registration, are brought in without delay."

A DfT spokeswoman said: "The government is leading efforts with international bodies to develop a stringent regulatory framework focusing on safety. There will be a public consultation before a government strategy is published in 2016."

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