Drone hits passenger plane but information sketchy

A Canadian passenger plane hit a drone while descending on Quebec City's Jean Lesage International Airport, a minister has said, raising concerns about aviation safety.

Transport Canada recommends that drones should be flown no higher than 90 meters and at least 5.5km away from anywhere aircraft may take off and land.

Minister Marc Garneau hasn't revealed the model of the drone, but we do know that it hit a plane operated by Skyjet Aviation, a charter outfit that despite its name operates only turboprop aircraft. The company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours. This applies to drones of any size, used for any objective. Transportation authorities have been trying to come up with rules to avoid a disaster. The incident with the Skyjet flight occurred around 3km from the airport at an altitude of 450 meters on October 12. The drone was estimated to be flying at a height of around 450m or 1,500 feet when it struck the plane - 150m above the legal limit. Punishment for breaking the regulations can include a fine of as much as 25,000 Canadian dollars ($20,000) and a prison sentence. "It's important to point out that aircraft are particularly vulnerable when they're on final approach", adding that the incident could have been "catastrophic" if the drone struck the cockpit or engine. In the United Kingdom, the pilot of a British Airways flight said a drone struck the front of the aircraft during its approach to Heathrow airport a year ago.

There have also been several near misses with airplanes in recent years.

Garneau's office stated in a release that 1,596 drone incidents have been reported to Transport Canada in 2017, 131 of which were deemed aviation safety concerns.



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