This drone business is getting out of control as a further incident was reported today by the captain of a KLM Boeing after a drone "flew by its side" at 1,200 metres above sea level above the Bugio lighthouse situated in the River Tagus estuary.
The incident occurred at 2.30 p.m. on Monday,June 19th as the pilots of the Boeing 737-800 realised that a drone was flying alongside as the plane approached Lisbon airport in an area that also is used for landing and take-off from Cascais aerodrome.
The National Civil Aviation Authority’s regulations prohibit drones flying anywhere near airports and above 120 metres from the ground.
The Portuguese Air Traffic Accident Prevention and Investigation Office announced last Saturday that it was to commission a safety study due to the spate of recent incidents involving drones in flight paths.
"The Portuguese Air Traffic Accident Prevention and Investigation Office decided to start carrying out a safety study in order to characterise the history of such occurrences in our country, to analyse the effectiveness of the national regulations and to compare these with the practices used in other countries for the prevention of this type of incident, with a view to the possible issuance of recommendations to the relevant entities," said the Office’s director, Nelson Oliveira.
This investigation was justified due to "the frequency and characteristics of the recent occurrences involving the presence of drones in aircraft trajectories."
Last Friday, an Aero Vip Dornier was forced to dive out of the way of a drone to avoid collision at 300 metres altitude as it approached at Cascais aerodrome with 14 people on board.
On June 14th, a 130-passenger TAP plane narrowly missed a drone flying at 700 metres above sea level as the Airbus 319 from Milan prepared to land at Lisbon airport.
On June 1st, a Boeing 737-800 from the TVF, France Soleil, Air France-KLM group, with about 160 passengers o board, had to perform several manoeuvres to avoid colliding with a drone, 450 metres above the ground, as it was coming in to land at Oporto’s airport.
For the Portuguese Air Traffic Accident Prevention and Investigation Office to start thinking about a report is an inadequate response to a dangerous situation. It won't be long before the same Office is piecing together the wreckage of a downed aeroplane unless the government gets to grips with inadequate legislation that has failed to deter drone owners from endangering the lives of passengers and crew.