A few days ago it was reported that a drone may have hit a British Airways jet flying out of Heathrow. The transport minister Robert Goodwill has yet to confirm if that’s the case, saying that it could have just been a plastic bag.
The incident is believed to have occurred at around 1,700 ft, over four times the legal limit for people who want to fly their drones in the open air and while the Air Accidents Investigation Branch is investigating the incident alongside the Metropolitan Police there has been little in the way of information released to the public.
Goodwill did respond to comments regarding “geo-fencing”, a technique where drones would be blocked from entering restricted areas by means of having ‘no go zones’ installed on their devices by the manufacturers. Goodwill didn’t show great promise or belief in that option as he said it would be vulnerable to “somebody who could get round the software”.
With people speculating that the plane struck a drone, a thought that has occurred many times before and almost happened on several occasions, Goodwill did say that it “has not been confirmed it was actually a drone”, instead saying that the original story came from a local police force who tweeted the news about a reported drone colliding with a plane. “There was no actual damage to the plane and there’s indeed some speculation that it may have even been a plastic bag or something”, the latest news seems to be that if it was a drone or unmanned electronic device, they don’t even know what it could have been.
Going on to explain the current information, Goodwill explained that “there was no actual damage to the plane and there’s indeed some speculation that it may have even been a plastic bag or something”.
While drones are a lovely piece of technology, they are often misused and prove a danger to not only their owner but the public at large. Two years ago a drone was hacked and it resulted in athletes at an event being injured since then we have constantly been warned about drones and the dangers that could happen if someone used them irresponsibly. The time has finally come when a plane has hit a drone, with no injuries we were fortunate.
Heathrow has had some close calls with drones before, this time, the plane is reported to have stuck an object, reported as possibly a drone, as it approached the airport near London. The plane was flying in from Geneva with 132 passengers and five crew when the mysterious object stuck the front of the plane.
While British Airways, the company behind the plane in question, have stated that the aircraft was “fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight”, you can help but fear that this could have gone worse.
With near misses constantly happening thanks to drone users ignoring common sense and flying their craft not only near but in front and around areas with heavy airplane traffic, it was only a matter of time before something happened and fortunately, nothing bad came of this incident but the police are still looking for the drones owner.
Drones are a wonderful piece of technology and the more we advance them the more we can do. I mean, they have created a drone that works both in the air and even underwater. How can we not find uses for drones that can be deployed at sea, both above and below the sea line? The problem being is that a select few are ruining the experience for everybody, with drones being used and damaging everything from the Empire State building to cutting out power for residents in LA. The most recent in a long stream of incidents is a near encounter when a drone flew within 30 feet of a jet that was landing at Heathrow.
The Airbus A319 was landing at Heathrow Airport in September while it was on approach to land. The pilot reported that it went so close as 25 yards left of the cockpit and only 20 feet above. The incident was reported to the police and classed as a meeting risk category A, the highest risk that two objects meet short of actually colliding. The worrying part is that the drone was flying at 500 feet, while the legal limit for drones in the UK is 400 feet, with anything beyond that being considered controlled airspace.
This isn’t the first time that a drone has almost collided with an airplane, and given the risk to both the crew and passengers of the craft and those on the ground, drone pilots performing these kind of stunts, putting others at risk, are the reason that the FAA has pushed for drone registration in the USA.
James May is known for a lot of things, amongst which is the show Top Gear of which he only recently stopped hosting. Known to have a keen interest in motorised vehicles, James’s latest twitter post is of a different type of vehicle.
As seen above, James seems to be at Heathrow, advertising the future of transport displayed at Terminal 5. The pod-based system allows you to travel between the station at terminal 5 and the two based in terminal 5’s car park. The system is not a new one, with it celebrating over 1 million autonomous miles back in 2013.
Featuring 3.8 kilometers of one-way track for the pods, it’s almost like a personal train between the stations. The one comparison I can draw is with trains, but the private and personal carriage like nature reminds me of the old cabin based trains, for those who have never experienced this, think about the Hogwarts train (shown below).
With companies like Google making automated cars, we could soon see Pod like cars working on a large scale, across an entire city or maybe even a country? Could companies like Uber and your local taxi soon be replaced by automated cars which you call at the press of a button?