Pilot demands drone identification after Fife near miss

An angry private jet pilot has demanded that drones be identifiable after one came 20m from his aircraft over Fife.

Drones were involved in highest-rated near misses with aircraft near Edinburgh and Glasgow airports.

The near miss, involving an Embraer Legacy 500 on approach to Edinburgh Airport, was given the highest - category A - rating by investigators.

The UK Airprox Board also reported today a second category A incident near Glasgow Airport, in which a drone came as close as 3ft from a passenger aircraft.

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It concluded that in the first incident, near Burntisland on 14 December, “providence had played a major part in the incident and/or a definite risk of collision had existed”.

The board’s report stated: “The pilot commented that he was surprised and angry at the drone’s proximity and stated that a mandatory identification device should be fitted to drones before a multi-million pound engine is destroyed, or worse.

“Having finished the approach briefing, the pilot in charge looked up and saw something black, moving in his peripheral vision on the right.

“He turned and looked right and clearly saw a ‘quadcopter’-like drone.

“There was no time to take avoiding action.”

In the Glasgow incident, a drone came 3-10ft from colliding with an Embraer EMB 175 on 30 December.

The board stated: “The pilot reports that on approach to Glasgow airport, when passing about 600ft he saw an object pass between 3 and 10ft from the aircraft, at the same level.

“He couldn’t tell was the object was.

“It was lit up in various places and was more horizontally long than it was vertically.”

The board concluded: “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.”

A Glasgow Airport spokesperson said: “We would remind people the use of drones within close proximity to an airport is both extremely dangerous and a criminal offence.

“Earlier this week, we welcomed the introduction of new legislation to extend the ‘no-fly’ zone around airports, which would restrict drones from operating within 5km of an airfield boundary.

“It is important anyone who operates a drone is aware of their responsibilities and of the new rules which have been put in place to keep everyone safe. These can be viewed by visiting: www.dronesafe.uk.”