A British Airways aircraft was possibly hit by a drone Sunday near Heathrow airport as it was coming to land, which is likely to increase demands for greater checks on the flights of the devices. The Airbus A320 flight from Geneva, carrying 132 passengers and five crew members, appears to have not been significantly impacted and was cleared for its next flight, according to news reports. The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority said it was aware of "a possible incident" with a drone at Heathrow on Sunday, which is subject to investigation by the Metropolitan Police. It reminded drone users of the country's "dronecode," which prohibits drones from flying above 400 feet (about 122 meters) and requires them to stay away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields. "It is totally unacceptable to fly drones close to airports and anyone flouting the rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment," the CAA said in a statement Sunday.
A British Airways pilot told authorities that he believes his jet struck a drone as it approached for landing at Heathrow Airport Sunday. A British Airways pilot told authorities that he believes his jet struck a drone as it approached for landing at Heathrow Airport Sunday. British police are investigating what could be the first known case of a drone colliding with a passenger aircraft, after a pilot told authorities that he believed his jet hit a drone as it flew into Heathrow Airport from Geneva Sunday. "The flight landed at Heathrow Terminal 5 safely," police say. But they add that "an object, believed to be a drone, had struck the front of the aircraft."
Drones flying around London's busy Gatwick airport have disrupted air travel since Wednesday evening, but now the Sussex Police Department has announced two arrests connected to the incidents. The airport reopened for service Friday morning, but the Guardian reports that another drone sighting shut down flights for about an hour around 5 PM. Police Superintendent James Collis said the arrests occurred around 10 PM (local time) Friday. There are no further details on who the police nabbed or what's behind their "criminal use of drones" but the police are remaining on site and asking the public to call in if they have any information. Proactive investigations are still on-going: we urge the public to contact us if they believe they have information that can aid us further.
Sussex Police have released the man and woman arrested on December 21st after determining that they're "no longer suspects" behind the multiple incidents. Don't anticipate new suspects in the future, either. Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley said his force continued to "actively follow lines of investigation," but didn't hint at where those might lead. In a conversation to Sky News, Tingley said officers had found a damaged drone at the airport in Horley and were on an "expedited" effort to examine that drone for evidence. There's an increased financial motivation to bring the perpetrators in, at least.