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UK Police drone involved in near miss

Congoblue

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This is an interesting story from the UK where an official police drone was involved in a near miss with 2 low flying jets

Fighter jet 'almost hit' police drone

A police drone had a "near-miss" with a fighter jet travelling at 520mph (836km/h), a report has revealed.
The drone's operator "honestly believed" the two would collide in mid-air, according to the UK Airprox Board.
It said the risk of a crash above Throwleigh, Devon, was "high" but the officer had lowered the drone quickly.
Devon and Cornwall Police said it had notified Airprox, which was "content that there was no blame nor any lessons to be learned".
The drone was flying at an altitude of about 300ft (90m) on 16 January, according to the report.
"The jet came into view from right to left and seemed to pass by the drone at the same altitude; it looked like the jet was within 200m laterally of the drone.
"Once the jet was in view it started banking to the right and [the operator] honestly believed it was going to collide with the drone. "The jet continued and was followed a few seconds later by a second jet."
The F-15 pilot, who was flying at an altitude of 500ft (152m), could not see the drone, the report added.
The board said the case had prompted discussions about whether the service which helps the military plan routes through UK airspace should incorporate information from other sources.
Devon and Cornwall Police established the UK's first permanent drone unit in 2017.
 

gnirtS

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If the story is correct, drone at 300ft and the F-15s at 500 then its a non issue - the separation procedure works.
That said, it'd be interesting if the USAF were at 500ft - quite a few incidents over the years of them losing it or flying illegally low in certain areas (to the extent they got temporarily banned from some low fly areas on safety grounds).
 

4wd

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It's interesting the pilot states he 'could not see the drone' when airline pilots usually have prolonged visual contact of them flying alongside and passing 20 feet from the wing etc
We have quite a lot of low flying here but it ends to be quite intensive on a very limited number of days.
You wouldn't have time to react appropriately - if at all - as by the time you hear or see them they are practically passing you.
 

gnirtS

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Low level flying is a different ball game, things lost in ground clutter, head turning a lot more as it turns. They've had near misses with full scale gliders.
Also they're going a lot faster than commercial aircraft on approach - 400+kts isnt uncommon as opposed to the max 250 (and normally a lot less) for a low level commercial aircraft on its way up or down.

FWIW the MoD does publish a basic low level flying schedule on its website, it states which danger areas will be active and when.
 

Congoblue

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The actual airprox report is linked in my original post and they say that both pilots carried out all their checks correctly, but they did not know about each others activities because they were using different information sources - the military were using a system called CADS which the police could not access. Also the police deployment was an emergency call out so even if they had logged it on the same system, the military pilots would have been in the air by the time the information was available.

Also they say that though this time it was not a near miss as the F15s were at 500ft and the drone at 300ft, they often do carry out flights at 250ft, so there could easily have been a conflict.
 

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