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Barcelona-Paris flight avoids 'unauthorised' drone in French air-space in the nick of time
AN AIR France plane narrowly missed its wing colliding with a drone flying illegally through Parisian airspace, according to the French General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC).
The Airbus A320, which had taken off from Barcelona on February 19 - although reports of the incident have only just been released - had just gone into landing mode above Charles de Gaulle airport and was still at a height of 1,600 metres, or around 4,900 feet, when the pilot was forced to make a sharp manoeuvre to avoid the drone.
This meant shutting off the automatic pilot mechanism and swerving in mid-air, a move which required split-second decision-making and presence of mind.
In the end, the drone flew beneath the wing by a margin of around five metres (16'6”).
The Barcelona-Paris flight touched down safely, but could have been forced into a tricky and risky emergency landing had the drone made contact with the wing since, at the speed the aircraft was flying, it could have sustained considerable damage.
Air-traffic control were informed straight away and have logged it as a 'very serious' breach of air-space security.
Drones are not permitted by law to fly anywhere near airports or flight paths, nor within the vicinity of potentially hazardous installations such as nuclear power plants.
This is mainly because few radars are able to detect flying objects of less than a certain size, meaning pilots may not have a chance to react by the time they notice them.
The owner, or person in control of the drone is likely to face a very hefty fine, or even prison.
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