Pilot reported 'near miss' with 'unknown object' as passenger jet approached Doncaster

A passenger jet pilot told how his aircraft had a ‘near miss’ involving an ‘unknown object’ as it descended near Doncaster airport.
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The incident was described as a ‘medium’ risk of collision with an object that the pilot described as a drone, but investigators described as something they had been unable to determine the nature of.

But officials at Doncaster Sheffield Airport have urged people to behave responsibly with their drones.

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Officials have carried out an investigation into the incident involving an Airbus A320 aircraft, which happened just over five miles south east of the airport, according to the UK Airprox Board, which looks into reports of so-called near misses.

File picture shows a passenger aircraft arriving in Doncaster.  Picture Tony JohnsonFile picture shows a passenger aircraft arriving in Doncaster.  Picture Tony Johnson
File picture shows a passenger aircraft arriving in Doncaster. Picture Tony Johnson

The pilot’s report was made to Scottish-based air traffic controllers on March 13, shortly before the UK went into lockdown.

The report into the incident was published this week by the Airprox board.

It stated: “The A320 pilot reports that, during descent, a drone passed down the starboard side of the aircraft. The drone looked orange/brown in colour and was fairly large. He reported the incident to the Scottish Radar controller.

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“In the board’s opinion the reported altitude and/or description of the object were such that they were unable to determine the nature of the unknown object.

“The board considered that the pilot’s overall account of the incident portrayed a situation where normal procedures and/or safety standards had applied.”

The A320 is one of the most widely used airliners globally, seating seating from 100 to 240 passengers and flying throughout the world – and landing on every continent. The manfacturers say an A320 takes off or lands every 1.6 seconds.

A spokesperson from Doncaster Sheffield Airport said: “The safety of our passengers, crew and staff is paramount and we want to reassure passengers that we have robust procedures in place for both authorised and unauthorised drone operations in compliance with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) guidelines.

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“We urge people to continually ensure they make themselves fully familiar with the CAA guidelines and Air Navigation Orders and operate their drones responsibly in sensible places.”

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