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Drones causing mishaps; UK plane in near-miss at Heathrow


London (Dec. 07, 2014): Experts have raise red flags that it is only a matter of time before a drone causes a major accident with a passenger jet in the skies above Britain.

There has been a huge increase in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the last few years but you do not need a licence and there is only minimal regulation.

The warning from the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) comes after it was revealed in a report out on Monday that a drone almost collided with a passenger plane near Heathrow airport during the summer.

The general secretary of BALPA, Jim McAuslan, says it would be very easy for a near-miss to become a disaster.

"Unless we put in place the regulation now and have enforcement procedures that are practical in operating efficiently then we are going to see an accident”, said Jim McAuslan.

The incident happened on 22 July near Heathrow - which is the UK's busiest.

The pilot who spotted the drone was flying an Airbus A320 at an altitude of 700ft. The plane can carry as many as 180 passengers.

The report is expected to class the incident as category A, meaning there was a serious risk of collision.

With the cost of drone technology falling, they are being used for everything from promotional videos to gathering pictures for the news.
And this Christmas thousands of drones are likely to be sold on the high street and online.

But experts including the managing director of Horizon Imaging, David Hogg, say a lack of training is a concern when so many amateur operators are now taking their drones up in the air.

With so many applications, drones will be part of the technological landscape for years to come but it means it may only be a matter of time before the Government introduces tighter regulations.