• Spain's news in English
Barcelona-Paris plane in scary near miss with drone
Photo: Liam McManus/AFP

Barcelona-Paris plane in scary near miss with drone

The Local · 4 Mar 2016, 09:24

Published: 04 Mar 2016 09:24 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The incident occurred as the flight from Barcelona to Pairs Charles de Gaulle was beginning its descent towards the runway.

As the co-pilot began the usual landing procedures he noticed a drone in his field of vision. According to reports, he had to switch off the auto-pilot function and carry out a manual manoeuvre to avoid the drone.

The captain estimated that the drone came within five metres of the left wing of the plane during the February 19th flight.

The Airbus A320 plane landed without incident but an investigation was immediately launched by aviation authorities from France's BEA (Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyse), who reported the incident on their website.

They have classed the incident as “serious” and described it as a “near collision”.

Their main concern is to find out how a drone came to be at a 1,500 altitude - when the law prohibits flights above 150 metres off the ground -  and was flying in prohibited no-fly zone around the airport.

Very few models of drones that can be bought on the open market are capable of flying at such a high altitude. Many also include software that prevents them from being flown in restricted areas.

Photo: Don McCullough/Flickr 

While a passenger plane would be able to withstand any mid-air collision with a small drone, there would be serious complications if the object flew into one of the plane’s engines. The impact could be catastrophic, especially if it occurred over a built-up area.

The areas around airports are included in a list of sensitive sites where drone flights are forbidden. The list also includes nuclear power stations.

In June 2015 Spanish police were puzzled by a series of night time drone raids above Zarzuela Palace, the residence of the Spanish royal family.

In November 2014 French authorities were left concerned after drones were detected flying over various French nuclear power stations.

As many as 16 fly-overs were reported.

Story continues below…

Although no one was caught and the government admitted they had no idea who was behind the flights, experts believed it was the work of an environmental group seeking to highlight a lack of security around nuclear plants.

And last year the alarm was raised again when drones were spotted flying at various landmarks across Paris, despite it being illegal.

Police were again unable to catch any of the operators of the night-time flights and it is unclear whether they were the work of pranksters, tourists or something more malicious.

Flying a drone without permission or in a restricted area in France can result in a fine of €75,000 and up to a year in prison.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man rescued from bin after climbing in find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain's Socialists lift veto on Rajoy to break deadlock
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
jobs available