An airplane coming in to land at Oporto’s Francisco Sá Carneiro airport managed to avoid a collision with a drone, due only to the pilot’s skill in taking evasive action.
The drone was being operated at 450 metres above ground level and the Transavia Boeing 737-800 performed ‘several maneuvers in order to avoid a potentially catastrophic collision.
This incident on June 1st, happened as the 160-passenger capacity aeroplane, inbound from Paris, was on its final approach about 3.5 kilometres from the runway.
“The crew's expertise avoided a serious accident" and air traffic control later confirmed that the incident has been reported to the National Civil Aviation Authority and to the Office for Prevention and Investigation of Aircraft Accidents.
Portugal’s Pilots Association is deeply concerned and, although the pilot of the Paris flight is not a member, it wants to mount its own investigation into the drone incident.
In January 2017, new laws came into force to minimise the risks of a drone accident in commercial airspace and the president of the pilots association, Miguel Silveira, said last Friday that the drone incident "has to be investigated, not least by the police" and assured that the association also will investigate what happened.
"Obviously we will investigate, the pilots' association has a newly formed office headed by a former president of the association," continued Silveira, adding that association will speak with the Aircraft and Rail Accidents Bureau (GPIAAF) and, "if necessary, with the police, to try to help, to try to understand what went on," so that people can be assured.
Silveira said that, "for the plane to have made evasive maneuvers, it obviously had to be a drone of considerable size," and congratulated the pilot who managed to avoid the collision.
Adding that it will be close to impossible to identify the drone’s operator, Silveira said that the law in inadequate and that drones should be regulated by tracking technology that logs where they have been operated.