The incident, which happened on March 7, involved a Texan II turboprop and a DJI Mavic 2 consumer drone, according to a report from the UK Airprox Board. The drone operator claims the two planes came within 60ft of each other as they flew over the Welsh village of Llandinam in Powys at around 12.20pm.
The drone operator told the council how two minutes after takeoff they heard a “distant hum”, before the Texan appeared “from a bend in the valley, above the trees” where they were were holding, reports North Wales Live.
The drone was then at an altitude of about 100 meters and the operator decided not to drop it because the Texan pilot “would have a better chance of avoiding a static object than a moving object”.
It all happened in a “split of a second,” the drone operator told the board.
The risk of collision was rated as ‘high’ by the drone operator but the Texas pilot rated the risk as ‘low’, saying in the report that he did not learn of the near miss until several days later. complete the flight.
HQ Air Command commented in the report that the drone was operating legally and commended them “for their pragmatism with reporting Airprox and reaching out to RAF Valley to emphasize their presence”.
Drone flight plans on Drone Assist UK are unchecked and do not produce Notices to Air Missions (NOTAMs) to RAF Valley crews, who are carefully checked before the flight, the report says.
HQ Air Command commented, “The current issue of height deconfliction between civilian UAV use and MOD low level flight activity (below 2000 feet agl) remains a concern for the MOD.
“As there are no current requirements for NOTAM civilian drone activity (outside of restricted airspace) up to 400 feet, this could potentially pose a serious hazard to flight safety if one considers low level military flying levels to be regularly reduced to 100-250ft in various parts of the UK.”
In summary, the Airprox Board said: “Members noted that because Airprox took place below NATS coverage [National Air Traffic Services] area radars, there was no recorded data available with which a nearest point of approach could be measured.
“However, the Board considered the drone operator’s estimate of the separation and the assessment of the risk of collision, and noted that the drone operator did not believe he had had sufficient time to lower his drone away from the Texan II approach path.
“This, coupled with the fact that the pilot of the Texan II did not see the drone, led the board to conclude that safety had not been assured and that a risk of collision existed.
“As a result, the Commission has assigned a risk category B to this Airprox.”
This means that it is considered that safety was not assured.
The council recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority and the Military Aviation Authority consider a way to publicize non-recreational drone activity so that other air users operating at low altitude can access it.