theguardian.comPolice are investigating a pilot’s claim that his plane was struck by a drone as it approached Heathrow airport. The Metropolitan police said they were contacted on Sunday afternoon by the pilot, who landed the plane safely at Terminal 5. The flight, BA727, was coming into London from Geneva, carrying 132 passengers and five crew.

British Airways said the Airbus A320 had been examined by engineers and cleared to take off for its next flight after the incident.

Steve Landells, flight safety specialist at the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), said: “ “It was only a matter of time before we had a drone strike given the huge numbers being flown around by amateurs who don’t understand the risks and
the rules.”

Regarding the call for an investigation into the likely effects of a drone strike, Landells said: “The first thing we want to do is get a drone or at least the critical parts of a drone flying at a windscreen of an aircraft. One possibility is that the battery smashes the windscreen and the inside layer of the windscreen shatters and you end up with a lot of glass in the cockpit, probably moving at quite
high speed.

“As a pilot, I don’t want to be sitting there when that’s going on.”

No I shouldn’t like to be there either. Of course, the question is, was it really a drone. Or a bird. Or some flying debris? And if so how big was it.  And how do
we know?
I get that exploding a jet engine is an expensive undertaking. And I hadn’t considered Landells point that every situation is likely to be different. On the other hand, a piece of windshield material is not all that hard to come by. Nor as the Brits would say is it terribly dear.
So why not do those tests on the ground in a hangar instead of in the air. Understanding full well that if the glass lets go you will be left with a big so now what.
In the meanwhile, everyone loves a happy ending and this landing certainly qualifies.





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