Loganair flight in 'near miss' with drone near Glasgow Airport

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SAAB 2000Image source, LOGANAIR
Image caption,
The SAAB 2000 flight was carrying 25 people

A drone came so close to a Loganair flight near Glasgow Airport the pilot feared it might crash into the aircraft.

The metre-wide commercial drone was spotted on 24 November last year flying about five metres above the captain's window on the SAAB 2000.

A report issued by the UK Airprox Board, who investigate such incidents, said the device was "endangering" aircrafts in the area.

It said the risk of collision was high.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The captain and first officer spotted the drone and reported it to air traffic control

The flight was carrying 25 people from Sumburgh in Shetland about nine miles from the airport when the captain and first officer saw the "dark or black" drone "moving in a straight line and at high speed".

It was reported to air traffic control and police officers met the crew on the ground to file a report.

Staff carried out an inspection of the tail as crew feared it may have been hit, however no damage was found, the board's report noted.

It also said the drone was being flown above the permitted maximum height of 400ft.

The UKAB classed the risk of collision as category A, the highest possible risk rating.

The report concluded: "The board agreed that the incident was therefore best described as the drone was flown into conflict with the SAAB 2000.

"The board considered that the pilot's overall account of the incident portrayed a situation where providence had played a major part in the incident and/or a definite risk of collision had existed."

The news comes after the military were called in to help when drone sightings caused delays for around an hour at Heathrow Airport in January.

And drone sightings at Gatwick caused major disruption affecting 140,000 passengers before Christmas.

Loganair chief operations officer Maurice Boyle said he agreed that harsher penalties should be handed to drone users who flout restrictions near airports.

He said: "Fortunately there was no collision, but this was potentially a very serious incident.

"In line with other carriers we support the views of the UK government, the Civil Aviation Authority and police through the country that penalties should be substantially increased for flagrant misuse of drones near airports, where they represent a very major hazard."

The incident near Glasgow Airport was one of 11 drone-related incidents examined by the board during a meeting on 16 January.

It also reported a category B near miss between a drone and a two-seater PA-18 aircraft which took off from Perth Airport.

The pilot, flying at 1,200ft, saw the device at about two miles east of Perth racecourse - it came within 20ft of the aircraft.

During that occurrence, the board concluded "safety had not been assured".