Drones or UAVs have been involved in four serious near misses close to UK airports, the UK Air Proximity Board [UKAPV]reports, and other UAVs scraping data from warplanes...
They investigate near-miss incidents within UK airspace . A UAV nearly collided with a Boeing 737 climbing out of Stansted.
Other category A incidents were reported at London City, Heathrow and Manchester. Julian Bray Aviation security & operations expert says;" In the USA the FAA has now introduced a mandatory licencing system (as previously reported by Julian Bray Aviation Newslines), although the UK is at a high threat level, astonishingly, there is currently no formal system running in the UK. Essentially anyone can in theory purchase (and pilot) a sophisticated 'payload carrying' UAV such as a camera or an illegal device, widely available online or from High Street retailers such as Maplins. The business is out of control and dangerous"
British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) spokesman Steve Landells said action must be taken to prevent a "catastrophic crash" of an aircraft. The Department for Transport (DfT) said it was working ('at some time in the future') to create a "regulatory framework focusing on safety".
The UK Air Proximity Board (UKAB) looked at seven incidents involving drones in its December report, four of which were classed as the most serious category A where a serious risk of collision existed.
The near miss at Stansted saw a drone fly over the Boeing 737 by about 16ft, as the aircraft was at about 4,000ft during take-off.
In another incident, a drone narrowly missed hitting the wing of a Boeing 777 shortly after take-off from Heathrow Airport on 22 September.
This took place at 2,000ft - double the legal altitude limit for drones transmitting live video to their operators. According to pilot, the UAV passed down the right-hand side of the aircraft and left no time to take action.
The UKAB concluded the UAV was at the same height and within 25m of the jet, strongly suggesting that "chance had played a major part" in the lack of a collision.
Although the incident was reported to the police, the drone/UAV operator was not traced.
Meanwhile, back in 2008, internal US National Security Agency documents boasted that a programme to collect video from the cockpit of an Israeli F-16 fighter jet, was successful.
The project, codenamed Anarchist, has been running since 1998 and was based near the highest point in Cyprus both Der Spiegel and The Intercept reported. Now it is suggested UAVs are bring used as in-flight relays to acquire the on-board data and transmit in real time to base stations.
Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said a US base in northern England was also involved.
Israel was the main focus of the project, but systems in Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Syria were also hacked into, the reports said.
The UK Foreign Office said it would not comment on intelligence matters.
Sources: BBC, FAA, CNS, CAA,UKAB, BALPA, BBC Mid East
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