Rogue Drone Reportedly Strikes British Airways Jet With 132 Passengers Aboard

British authorities are investigating an incident in which they believe a drone struck a British Airways jet as it landed at London's Heathrow Airport around 12:50 PM on Sunday. None of the 132 passengers on board the Airbus A320 were injured, and it's not even clear if any were even aware that something had hit the plane when it happened.

It was the pilot who indicated he thought it a drone struck the front of the aircraft. British Airways spokesman Michael Johnson said the Airbus A320 was thoroughly inspected by engineers and deemed safe to continue flying passengers as scheduled. Metropolitan Police added that no arrests have been made.


This latest incident is part of a disturbing trend and the reason why we can't have nice things. For now, it's legal to own and operate drones without much hassle, though there are rules and regulations to follow. In the U.S., drones weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds must be registered online before flying. They also can't be flown with 5 miles of an airport unless the flyer contacts the airport and receives permission from the control tower, the Federal Aviation Administration states.

The rules in the U.K. are similar and mostly lax, as outlined in a cheeky cartoon video, but incidents like this could change things in a hurry.

Flying drones too close to aircraft isn't as uncommon as you might think. From August 21, 2015 to January 31, 2016, the FAA reports 519 incidents of drone sightings or close encounters in national airspace, a threefold increase from the year prior. On two dozen occasions, it was reported that a drone came within 50 feet of an aircraft, and in 11 of those incidents the pilot had to take evasive action.