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British Airways flight from Heathrow missed illegal drone flying over Windsor

Competition regulator the Competition and Markets Authority said a decision on how much Heathrow Airport can charge airlines must be reconsidered (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)
Competition regulator the Competition and Markets Authority said a decision on how much Heathrow Airport can charge airlines must be reconsidered (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

A British Airways flight narrowly missed an illegal drone flying over Windsor after it had taken off from Heathrow, a report has revealed.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner which can carry up to 242 passengers, had reached 3,000ft on its journey to Montreal in Canada when the near-miss happened on July 25.

The plane’s pilot spotted the drone when it was around 20m away, a report by the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) has revealed.

The report said: “It was apparent that whilst it was very close, the drone would pass below and to their left. The drone was white, with multiple props but no lights.”

The height the drone was being flown at was more than seven times the usual maximum legal height for the devices of 400ft, according to the MailOnline.

UKAB, which assesses risk incidents in UK airspace, rated the incident as category A - meaning there was a serious risk of collision.

Air traffic controllers said the pilot reported that “they had passed a drone very close on the left-hand side, when passing 3,000ft”.

The information was passed on to the Heathrow control tower to make sure subsequent departures were aware of the sighting.

The UKAB report concluded: “In the Board’s opinion the reported altitude and/or description of the object were sufficient to indicate that it could have been a drone.

It added: “The Board considered that the pilot’s overall account of the incident portrayed a situation where providence had played a major part in the incident and/or a definite risk of collision had existed.”

A British Airways spokesman said: "We take such matters extremely seriously and our pilots report incidents so that the authorities can investigate and take appropriate action."