A luxury private jet used by royals and celebrities came within 10ft of crashing mid-air into an illegal drone over a British airport.
The NetJets Bombardier plane, known as ‘Hertz For Heirs’ or ‘
A similar aircraft owned by the same company suffered the near miss as it came into land from Nice at Luton Airport on August 26 just after midday.
It was travelling at 200mph and 4,000ft high, according to the UK Airprox Board (UKAB), which investigates near misses.
It was believed to be the joint closest-ever near miss in UK airspace.
A Bombardier Global 6000 passenger plane owned by NetJets (file image). A similar plane was involved in a near miss above Luton Airport in August
The black drone, estimated to be around 20 inches by 20 inches, and flying at four times over the legal height came within feet of the £46million Bombardier jet, the report states.
It is not known who any passengers travelling on board were and no other pilots saw the drone-like object, which also had a light at the front.
The pilot’s report states: ‘The GL6000S pilot reports he was inbound to Luton when he saw a drone moving west to east at around 4000ft.
‘The drone was black and appeared to have some sort of light source at the front.
‘The size was difficult to judge but best estimate was 50cm by 50cm. It was estimated to pass within 10ft of the aircraft. An inspection after landing did not find any evidence of a strike.’
The GL6000S jet, which can carry up to 19 passengers, was 14 miles west of the airport when the incident occurred.
UKAB ruled that there was a risk of a collision and it was down to luck that the two craft did not strike each other.
A Bombardier Inc. Global 6000 business jet in Singapore. NetJets Bombardier planes are known as ‘Hertz For Heirs’ or ‘Uber for billionaires’ because they serve the wealthy
The report added: ‘The Board considered that the pilot’s overall account of the incident portrayed a situation where providence had played a major part in the incident and/or a definite risk of collision had existed.’
Flying expert, Terry Tozer, said if the device had shattered the cockpit windscreen it could have killed the crew.
The former BA pilot told the
‘It could also be ingested into an engine with a similar outcome to a bird strike. These types of incidents are going to be an increasing problem. It’s a real concern for pilots.
‘Stricter regulations have been brought in but you will always get people who don’t care about the rules.
‘It’s very difficult to know how we are going to control drones.’