British Airways Jet Narrowly Avoids Collision with Drone Over Kent

Pilot Reports Close Encounter at 10,000 Feet

A British Airways A321 passenger jet reportedly narrowly avoided a collision with a drone while flying over Kent at an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet. The incident, which occurred on January 3, 2024, at around 4:30 pm, has raised concerns about the safety of air travel in the presence of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Details of the Close Call

According to the pilot's report, the drone was spotted slightly to the right of the aircraft's nose, maintaining a constant bearing and closing distance. The device passed down the right-hand side of the plane and over the right wing, coming within a mere five feet of the airliner. The UK Airprox Board, which investigates risks of airborne collision to enhance air safety in the UK, classified the reported risk of collision as high.


Immediate Action Taken

Upon detecting the drone, the pilot immediately informed London Air Traffic Control, who then alerted the pilot of the aircraft behind them. The flight, believed to have been en route to London Heathrow from Greece, continued without further incident.

Doubts Surrounding the Drone Sighting

While the pilot's report suggests that the object in question was a drone, some experts have cast doubt on this claim. Given the high altitude (10,000 feet) and the reported speed of several hundred miles per hour, it is unusual for a drone to be operating in such conditions. Drones typically fly at lower altitudes and slower speeds due to battery limitations and restrictions.

The Growing Concern of Drones in Airspace

This incident highlights the growing concern surrounding the presence of drones in airspace shared by commercial aircraft. As advances and becomes more accessible, the risk of collisions between unmanned aerial vehicles and passenger jets increases. Aviation authorities worldwide are grappling with the challenge of regulating drone usage to ensure the safety of air travel.

The close call between the British Airways A321 and the alleged drone serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers posed by unmanned aerial vehicles in commercial airspace. While the exact nature of the object encountered remains uncertain, the incident underscores the need for continued vigilance and the development of robust regulations to mitigate the risks associated with the increasing prevalence of drones.

The featured image is for illustration purposes only.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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One comment

  1. Seems doubtful, military & a few commercial drones could do this, but definitely not your run-of-the-mill even high end racer drone @10kft. Either the altitude was wrong or this is another military incursion similar to US & other military installations are being repeatedly buzzed by swarms of “unknown drones”.

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