A NEAR miss between an aeroplane and a drone in the North East airspace has highlighted some of the dangers of drone ownership. 

An investigation by the UK Airprox Board has emerged, disclosing that a plane flying in Newcastle's airspace had a near miss with a drone over the summer.

On July 30, the pilots of a Boeing-737 commercial plane reported that they saw something "quite large" flash under the left-hand side of the plane.

The Airprox Board reports that a general aviation pilot, who was on the plane as a passenger, approached the in-flight crew upon landing to ask if they had spotted the large drone passing by, which the plane had nearly come into contact with. 

This investigation comes as the skies have been filled by drones received as Christmas presents, with inexperienced drone pilots causing incidents up and down the country. 

The Airprox Board determined that the incident in question carried a "definite risk of collision", and that "providence had played a major part in the incident".

The Board detailed the incident: "The B737 pilot reports that at approximately 1000ft on ILS 25 NCL, in the corner of their eye they saw something quite large flash by underneath on the left-hand side.

"Asking their colleague if they saw birds, they replied that they hadn’t seen anything. Engine parameters were normal, and the approach continued uneventfully.

"As the passengers were disembarking a passenger asked to speak to the flight crew. The passenger was a general aviation pilot who operates out of NCL airport.

"They asked if they [the flight crew] had seen the large drone that passed by, extremely close on the left-hand side, at roughly the same time they had seen something.

"Air Traffic Control (ATC) were contacted on the ground and informed regarding the possible drone near miss.

"The Newcastle ATC report that they have listened to the recording, and nothing was passed to ATC."

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This incident brings rules and regulations regarding domestic drone ownership into focus. It is a criminal offence to endanger the safety of an aircraft in flight, with heft penalties for breaking the rules, including up to 5 years imprisonment or a substantial fine.

Additionally, since 2019, it has been a legal requirement for all drone owners to complete an online safety test before they are able to fly it. If your device weighs over 250 grams, you will also have to register it with the Civil Aviation Authority. 

Furthermore, there are a number of laws on restricted zones where drones are not allowed. As a drone owner, you must not fly your device within 5 km of any UK airport, and the drone must remain under 400ft at all times in order to minimise the risk of encounters with aeroplanes.