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The initial report came at 12:50pm Sunday, when a pilot of British Airways Flight 727, en route from Switzerland to London, informed authorities that he believed a drone might have struck his Airbus A320.
Despite the apparent incident, the plane, carrying 132 passengers and five crew members, landed successfully at London’s Heathrow Airport without any issues.
Airport police tasked with investigating the crash found that an object, thought to be a drone, had indeed struck the front of the plane. British Airways engineers checked the plane and, after finding no damage, cleared it for its next flight.
“Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations,” the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement. “The rules for flying drones are designed to keep all airspace users safe.”
The CAA said it was “totally unacceptable to fly drones close to airports and anyone flouting the rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment.”
American pilots reported more than 650 drone sightings while flying between Jan. 1 and Aug. 9, 2015, according to Federal Aviation Administration data. Pilots reported 238 sightings in all of 2014. The FAA prohibits flying a drone within five miles of an airport without prior approval from the airport and the control tower.
H/T The Verge
AJ Dellinger is a seasoned technology writer whose work has appeared in Digital Trends, International Business Times, and Newsweek. In 2018, he joined Gizmodo as the nights and weekend editor.