HUFFINGTON POST
12/08/2014 05:08 am ET Updated Dec 08, 2014

Jet Reports Near Miss With Drone At London's Heathrow Airport

A commercial passenger aircraft almost collided with a drone near London Heathrow Airport over the summer, according to a new report.

While few details have been released, it was reported that the aircraft was an Airbus A320, which can carry up to 180 passengers, and the incident happened on July 22 at an altitude of 700 feet, according to the London Evening Standard.

The UK Airprox Board is expected to publish a report on the incident on Friday and give it the highest risk rating of "A," the Guardian said. According to the agency's website, the rating suggests "aircraft proximity in which serious risk of collision has existed."

"The risk of a 10 kilogram object hitting a plane is a real one that pilots are very concerned about," British Airline Pilots Association general secretary Jim McAuslan told the BBC, pointing to a 2009 incident in which US Airways Flight 1549 was forced to land in the Hudson River in New York after striking a bird.

"A small drone could be a risky distraction for a pilot coming into land and cause serious damage if they hit one," McAuslan said.

Drone incidents around air traffic have been on the rise in recent years. In June, the Washington Post reported 15 close-call incidents between aircraft and drones in the U.S. over the past two years.

Current rules prohibit flying drones near American airports. However, last week the FAA said it planned to increase enforcement of the rules.

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