Managing drone traffic has become a continuous challenge for authorities around the world. There have been reports of drones causing damage while flying over populated areas. Despite monitoring drone flights, some UAVs still find their way into restricted airspace and pose as dangerous threats. Airports being one of the most restricted airspaces, cannot have any drone flying in its vicinity. However, one drone got too close to a plane at Zurich’s Kloten airport.
A near miss
A Swiss International Airline’s Airbus A319 carrying 103 passengers and 5 crew members was five nautical miles (9.2 Km) away from Kloten’s runway No.14. Just then a drone suddenly appeared above the plane. The drone was just twenty meters close to the plane. It was a close call and nobody was reported to be injured. Additionally, there have been several instances of drones causing immense damage to flights taking off and landing at airports. This incident occurred on 15th November 2018. Soon, the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board conducted a thorough investigation into the matter.
The Swiss drone law states that it is illegal to fly a drone weighing more than 500 grams near (5 Km) landing fields and helipads without prior permission. The Swiss Federal Aviation Office (FOCA) has stated that it will consider reducing the weight restriction to 250 grams in the future when the European Union’s drone laws are updated.
Drones can inflict fatal damage to aircrafts
A BAZL spokesperson said that the amount of potential damage in such an incident depended on the size of the drone. He added that a collision between a plane and a drone might not lead to a crash but could still result in millions of francs in damage.
According to the Swiss airlines safety head Philipp Spörli, despite strict aviation rules, people are still not aware of them resulting in such incidents.
As a precautionary measure, BAZL is running an electronic register of drone operators while authorities at Zurich airport are calling for training courses to be run.
Watch what happens when a drone collides with an aircraft: