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After 23 near misses with drones pilots call for action

Airline pilot call for Government to back research into impact of drones on passenger jet safety

A group of pilots are calling for more research to be done into what would happen if a drone hit a plane - after a series of near misses - including one at Southampton airport.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), says a drone passed within two wing lengths of an aircraft last July. In all, there were 23 near misses between April and October last year - including at Detling in Kent, RAF Odiham in Hampshire and at Heathrow Airport.

This report by Sally Simmonds is followed by an interview a representative from BALPA, which is calling for the Government to back more research into the consequences of such a collision.

Twenty-three near misses between drones & planes

A drone flying in the sky

Airline pilots are calling for new research into what could happen if an aircraft engine is hit by a drone.

There were around 23 near misses between aircraft and drones in the last year, including one at Detling in Kent, which came within sixty feet of a passenger jet. Pilots are also calling for existing controls to be better enforced.

Steve Landells from the British Airline Pilots Association said such an impact could cause engine failure or a cracked windscreen.

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Manston Airport won't be reopened 'any time soon'

The future of the former airport site is uncertain

Is it the end for hopes of reopening Manston Airport? Last night, councillors from Thanet District Council - elected earlier this year on a promise to get planes flying again, admitted that any reopening of the airport was not going to happen any time soon.

Specifically, a Compulsory Purchase Order, or plans to use a compulsory purchase of the airfield, were scrapped. The same councillors told us today, that they had not abandoned their vision - but were exploring new options.

Meanwhile, 18 months after the place was mothballed, airport developers say the council's wasting time and money. Derek Johnson has our report.

The interviewees are: Cllr Chris Wells, Leader, Thanet District Council, UKIP; Niall Lawlor from RiverOak Investments; Ray Mallon, spokesman for Stone Hill Park owners Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave.

Swansong for Vulcan bomber

Engineers have concerns over the structure of the iconic plane and say they can no longer maintain it.

Campaigners in Hampshire raised millions of pounds to restore the plane which was developed at Farnborough.

It has for the last decade been the star at flying displays including Farnborough, Bournemouth, Eastbourne and Biggin Hill.

The plane was capable of firing nuclear wepons and was the British deterant to Russia in the 1960's and 70's, the so-called Cold War.

The plane will fly for a final time at the regions displays. Its current last public appearance is at Dunsfold in Surrey but more dates are expected to be added to its farewell.

Virgin launch new route from Gatwick to Georgia, USA

Airline launches new route to Atlanta in Georgia Credit: ITV Meridian

Virgin Atlantic launched their new route to Atlanta in Georgia in the USA today. It was also the debut flight for their first Boeing 787 airliner - which took off from Gatwick Airport in Sussex. The company has ordered 16 of the aircraft in a deal worth seven billion dollars.

The airline, based in Crawley, say the new route is part of a strategy to develop more services to north America. It means they end the summer with some good news after the recent announcement about the phasing out of the domestic UK airline, Little Red. They are also pulling out of a number of long haul routes to the Far East and Africa earlier this year.

The firm's Chief Executive - Craig Kreeger, says the changes mean the airline is set to be profitable again this year:

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Voyager flies into Farnborough Airshow

The RAF's largest aircraft, Voyager, flew into Farnborough today as the Ministry of Defence confirmed all nine Voyagers have now been delivered to the RAF, on time and on budget.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne met members of the Voyager crew who had flown the aircraft from its base at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

The Voyager is almost 200ft long, with an equally wide wingspan.

Since December, it has been transporting personnel and equipment between the UK and Afghanistan.

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