A busy easyJet flight was just feet from disaster when it narrowly avoided a drone minutes after taking off.
The terrifying incident occurred on September 4 when the first officer of the Airbus A320 jet from Manchester to Athens reported seeing the drone from the cockpit window.
It was flying at 8,000ft when it only just avoided the jet – 20 times higher than the legal limit for a drone.
The UK Airprox Board, which monitors drone incidents, said the device passed “very close” to the cockpit window as the aircraft headed south and rated the incident in its highest risk category.
It recorded a “definite risk of collision existed” and “providence played a major part in the incident,” describing the drone as 1.6ft long with an estimated 10kg weight.
Some 134 passengers were on board the aircraft.
An Easyjet spokesman said: “We are aware of the report and fully supported the investigation by providing all requested information.
“Easyjet recognises the growing popularity of drones and therefore welcomes efforts by EASA, the CAA and other regulators across Europe… to take this issue seriously and ensure that the correct measures and regulations are put in place to ensure the safety of aviation is not compromised.”
In another incident, the crew of an aircraft coming into land at Leeds Bradford Airport reported a bright light and an object which appeared to be moving towards the aircraft, almost head-on.
Air Traffic Control informed them that the police helicopter had earlier observed lanterns in the area, but neither of the pilots believed what they saw was a lantern, according to reports.
Airprox said risk of a collision was high and they were unable to determine the nature of the unknown object.
Another sighting was reported on September 6 when the pilot of a Boeing 737 leaving Birmingham Airport spotted an object resembling a drone at 2,000ft as it passed close-by.
No avoiding action was necessary.