Indication that no drone has ever flown close to an aircraft revealed by the UK Airprox Board
Following a Freedom of Information Act request, the UK Airprox Board, the official body which collates airprox (‘near miss’) reports from pilots, has revealed that there is no proof that a drone has ever flown close to an aircraft in UK skies.
The UK Airprox Board also revealed there is no confirmation that a drone has ever even been involved in any of the 350+ drone airprox reports that they have published to date.
The FOIA response said:
in all cases UKAB has no confirmation that a drone has flown close to an aircraft other than the report made by the pilot(s).
Simon Dale of Airprox Reality Check said “We have the crazy situation where completely unproven, unscrutinised, ‘UFO’ reports (which often describe drones being spotted at altitudes and locations that are impossible) have been used by the Government to drive regulation, as if they were solid, proven, facts. They are, in fact, totally uncorroborated eyewitness accounts, and are generally based on the simple errors of perception to which humans are prone. In several cases we have shown that the object observed was in fact a manned aircraft in the distance, not a drone at all.”
“The government is mid-way through introducing legislation based on this now discredited data. Given that it is now clear that the drone airprox reports are entirely unproven, and in the vast majority of cases, entirely bogus, the Government must recognise the huge mistake it has made, and cancel the proposed regulations before they do irreparable harm to the drone industry, model flying community, and, in the longer term, the whole aviation sector.” said Mr Dale.
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