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Watch: Drone Flies Dangerously “Feet Away” From An Airbus A380

Fresh off the internet, an incredible video shows the moment an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flies into the path of the world’s largest passenger airliner.

Video of the incident was first reported by HelicoMicro, which has since circulated many drone and photography forums. The video shows just how stupid someone can be while operating a recreational drone near an airport.

According to Oliver Kmia, a photo analyst for Fstoppers, he confirms the A380 airliner belongs to the Dubai-based company Emirates, which took off from runway 14 at Plaine Magnien Airport located on the Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean. As the jumbo jet gains altitude, “the pre-positioned drone films the plane passing dangerously close at about 200 feet from the tip of the left wing,” Kmia said.

The A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner manufactured by Airbus. It is the world’s largest passenger airliner, and can carry more than 500 passengers in a typical three-class seat configuration and up to 850 passengers in a densified all-economy cabin version.

Kmia mentions that there is no information about the identity of the pilot. However, he did indicate the video was initially posted on Facebook by Thierry Paris who describes himself as an A380 captain for Air France.

Paris wrote in the video caption: “That’s what a little crazy guy managed to do with a drone in Mauritius. Hello flight safety!!!”

The Airbus A380 of Emirates flight EK702 gaining altitude after takeoff from runway 14 in Mauritius Island. (Source: Facebook video)

The Airbus A380 of Emirates flight EK702 comes “feet away” from the drone. (Source: Facebook video)

The Airbus A380 of Emirates flight EK702 passing the drone as it was on route to Dubai airport. (Source: Facebook video)

While the drone pilot and drone manufacture of the craft is unknown, Kmia speculates the pilot used a Parrot Anafi.

“Unlike DJI, the Parrot drones are not equipped with geofencing capabilities. However, the DJI no-fly zone in the area is very small (see the map below) and the drone was flying just outside this perimeter anyway. Finally, flight restrictions can easily be hacked on consumer drones,” he said.

Note the approximate position of the drone (X) and the trajectory of the A380 taking off from runway 14 and heading to the south-east. The red circle indicates the no-fly zone as seen on the DJI system but we don’t know what drone was used to film this video. (Source: Oliver Kmia/Fstoppers)

And, of course, law-abiding drone pilots erupted in anger over the video on social media: 

It seems like the unknown drone operator could have severely violated the Government Gazette of Mauritius’s Civil Aviation Act.

Earlier this year, we covered another drone incident, where someone dive-bombed a US passenger jet landing in Vegas.

Kmia concludes by offering an opinion on the drone industry and warns that new “regulations and restrictions won’t stop stupid people from” flying recreational drones into the flight paths of commercial airlines. So we ask the question: How long until a major incident occurs between a drone and jumbo jet?

“As usual, this type of story will surely fuel the fire of the anti-drone crowd. However, adding new regulations and restrictions won’t stop stupid people from doing this kind of things. Likes car and guns, drone are just objects that can be diverted by irresponsible people. All the homicide and DUI regulations don’t prevent certain people to commit murders and drive over the limits. Drones are here to stay and any attempt to ground them will fail. The main point is to work on the drone detection capabilities and the integration of these unmanned aircrafts in the national airspace. The business of drone detection is tricky but several companies are already offering solutions like the DJI AeroScope. Beyond that, drones will have to be properly identified and equipped with position reporting equipment such as miniature ADS-B and TCAS system (or based on GPS and cellular network). In the USA, the FAA is working on the issue but the federal government is not known for its decision speed. Hopefully, the official remote ID requirement system won’t be plagued by bureaucratic and technical non-sense otherwise, some drone pilots will continue to fly illegally. Let’s hope that the decision makers find the right balance between liberty and security.”