BA plane may have been hit by "plastic bag", not drone

Investigations end after lack of evidence

It turns out a British Airways flight may not have been struck by a drone after all.

British Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told Parliament on Thursday that it was probably "not a drone incident.

The plane landed safely but the incident led to an investigation. However, this investigation by aviation officials has now ended. According to a spokesperson at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), after initial inquiries, it was found there was "insufficient information on what the object was involved for us to take it further".

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill told the Lords European Union Internal Market Sub-Committee last week that there was some speculation that "it may have been even a plastic bag or something".

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18/04/2016: Police investigate British Airways drone collision at Heathrow

Police are investigating a collision between a drone and a jet above Heathrow Airport yesterday.

The pilot of the British Airways flight from Geneva to London, which was carrying 132 passengers and five crew, told police that an object, believed to be a drone, hit the front of the aircraft at 12.50pm, just before landing.

The Airbus A320 landed successfully, and British Airways engineers checked the aircraft and cleared it for its next flight.

But the incident comes after numerous near-misses between drones and planes as the unmanned craft becomes cheaper for hobbyists to own and operate.

The UK Airprox Board examined six near-misses in December, rating five of them A', where it believes there was a serious risk of collision.

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However, the government is still shaping rules on the use of drones. Currently people can buy drones weighing under 20kg as long as they keep it 50 metres away from people, vehicles, structures and vessels. They must also keep 150 metres clear of congested areas.

A British Airways spokeswoman said: "Our aircraft landed safely, was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight.

"Safety and security are always our first priority and we will give the police every assistance with their investigation."

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "A pilot on an inbound flight into Heathrow Airport from Geneva reported to police that he believed a drone had struck the aircraft.

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"The flight landed at Heathrow Terminal 5 safely. It transpired that an object, believed to be a drone, had struck the front of the aircraft.

"No arrests. Enquiries continue. Aviation police based at Heathrow investigate."

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