By Harry Howard For Mailonline
Published: 16:55 BST, 1 September 2019 | Updated: 16:55 BST, 1 September 2019
A quick-thinking Aer Lingus pilot is believed to have made an emergency turn in his airliner to avoid a potentially catastrophic collision with an illegally flown drone.
The close call involved an Airbus A320 operated by the Irish airline and carrying up to 186 passengers on a flight from Dublin to London's Gatwick airport.
It is believed to have been the first recorded case of an airline pilot managing to take avoiding action to dodge a drone in UK airspace.
A quick thinking Aer Lingus Airbus A320 pilot is believed to have made an emergency turn in his airliner to avoid a potentially catastrophic collision with an illegally flown drone
The dramatic incident happened just before 2pm on April 28 this year while the jet was flying at around 190mph at 1,700ft as it was coming in to land at Gatwick.
It occurred just over four months after Gatwick was brought to a standstill for 33 hours by multiple drone sightings over its runway.
A report by the UK Airprox Board, which investigates near misses, rated it as the highest possible Category A incident where there was a serious risk of collision.
The pilot was on the final stages of an Instrument Landing System approach when he saw the 'dark coloured drone' straight ahead around six miles east of the runway.
He took avoiding action by banking his aircraft in a 5° to 8° turn to the right, according to the report.
The jet which was at the same height as the drone missed it by a horizontal distance of just 80ft to 100ft.
It is believed that the pilot quickly turned his aircraft back on course so he could get back on the right approach for the runway.