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Cop drone crashes into flight instructor's airplane

The plod needs a lesson in keeping air traffic controllers in the loop, it seems

A police drone hit and significantly damaged a Cessna coming in for landing in Canada earlier this month.

According to an incident report compiled by the nation's transport officials, Ontario's York Police crashed a drone into the light aircraft during the latter's final approach to runway 15 at Toronto's Buttonville airport.

Air traffic control "had not been advised" the cops were flying their gizmo in the Richmond Hill area, the paperwork noted.

The single-engine Cessna 172N, owned by Canadian Flyers International Inc with the registration C-GKWL, was being flown by a flight instructor and a passenger when "they felt a jolt that pushed them back on their seat. They thought they had hit a large bird," the report into the August 10 prang stated.

"They proceeded to land ... When exiting the aircraft, they were shocked to see a major dent on the left underside of the engine cowling. The airbox was also bent. A few hours later, a police detective confirmed a York Regional Police drone had struck their aircraft. The aircraft suffered major damage, including a propeller strike."

York Police has not replied to a request for comment. Perhaps it should have followed the spirit of its own advice from a few years back...

Drones and airports go together like a duck to an acid bath, and governments are increasingly twitchy about the gizmos. Last year, the US Federal Aviation Administration proposed rules to force drone pilots to report the real-time position of their devices when in flight or be grounded, and in January a drone operator faced up to a year behind bars after his drone hit a cop chopper.

With increasing pressure on drone owners to be responsible and not put the lives of others in danger, it would be fantastic if the plod could set a good example. ®

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