Planes diverted at Paris Orly airport over drone alert

The Local France/AFP
The Local France/AFP - [email protected]
Planes diverted at Paris Orly airport over drone alert
Photo: AFP

Planes were diverted near the Orly airport in Paris after pilots spotted a drone close by.


Two pilots raised the alarm on Monday afternoon after spotting the drone over Essonne, south of Paris and not far from the Orly airport, reported Le Parisien newspaper.
Authorities set up a safety zone in the area for the next 20 minutes, meaning planes were not allowed to pass through the area.
The drone was just 150 metres below the plane as it was approaching the airport for landing, reported local Essonne news site Le Républicain.
Police have opened an investigation, the paper reported.
Drones have reportedly come too close to planes in French airspace several times in recent months.
In April, an Aer Lingus pilot reported spotting a drone flying 2,000 metres off the ground while he was preparing to land at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
The plane, en route from Dublin, was about 50 km from CDG airport. 
In February, the pilot of an Air France Airbus A320 was forced to make an emergency manoeuvre to avoid a drone that reportedly passed just five metres under the plane's left wing at 1,600 metres altitude on its approach to Charles de Gaulle.
In total, there have been six reports of drones being spotted by pilots near airports in Paris this year alone, reported the French civil aviation authority (DGAC), although none of these cases have been confirmed. 
Shop-bought micro-drones are not allowed to fly above 150 metres altitude in France, although some can reach several thousand metres of altitude.
The biggest risk to a plane would be if a drone hit a jet engine, or was sucked into one, because the batteries of drones contain highly flammable lithium.
The French civil aviation authority estimated at the end of last year that there were as many as 200,000 shop-bought drones in France.
Ninety-eight percent of the drones were micro-drones weighing less than two kilogrammes.
Air France plane has very near miss with drone above Paris


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