Drone Comes Within 16 Feet of Paris Airliner in Closest Encounter Yet

The pilot had to switch off autopilot while landing and take action to avoid the drone.

PARIS — Aviation officials concerned with drones flying close to aircrafts have another example to point to in support of their fears. It was announced on Friday that a drone came within 16 feet of a collision with an Air France jet landing in Paris on Feb. 19.

Bloomberg reports it is the closest encounter between an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and an airliner.

The jet was arriving from Barcelona at a height of roughly 5,200 feet when the pilot noticed the drone on the left side of the plane, forcing him to quickly disconnect the autopilot function and avoid the drone, according to the BEA, France’s air-accident investigator. The BEA is launching an investigation into the nearly catastrophic incident.

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The fear of a drone-airline collision is not limited to France; the United States is taking actions to try to prevent such a catastrophic event from occurring. In December, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that most UAVs must be registered in order for them to be regulated and monitored.

It is illegal for drones and model airplanes to fly higher than 400 feet or within 5 miles of an airport.

CHECK OUT NEXT: Will Government Regulation of Drones Work?

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