Drone-like object spotted by AI pilot

The Asian Age.  | Sunil Thapliyal

Metros, Delhi

Flight departures disturbed for almost 20 minutes at IGI airport, cops file case.

Indira Gandhi International Airport.

New Delhi: An Air India pilot who was flying a Delhi-bound flight from Dammam, Saudi Arabia, spotted a drone like object when he was approaching runway No. 27 of Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport on Saturday morning. He was not the only one who spotted the suspected drone but another pilot belonging to the same airlines while taking off from the runway claimed to have seen the same. Airport sources said that flight departures were disturbed for almost 20 minutes around 11.30 am due to this incident.

“This is to report to you a flight safety hazard which was observed when we were coming to land in Delhi on runway number 27 from Dammam (Al- 914). We were 2,100 feet above the ground and approx 12 kms from the threshold of runway 27 when we saw a drone-like object flying slightly to the right of the central approach path for the said runway. This flying object (suspected drone) was also reported to air-traffic control centre,” wrote pilot Sandeep Kumar in his written complaint to the Delhi police.

“The aircraft was far from the said object. It was seen crossing over the runway at 300-400 feet above ground. The glowing object appeared to be a drone and the pilot immediately informed air traffic controller (ATC),” said an airport official on the condition of anonymity.

Another Air India flight, AI-1445 (Delhi-Leh), also spotted the same drone while the said flight was taking off from runway number 28.

A police officer said, “The ATC received information regarding sighting of the object. After receiving the complaint, the teams of Southwest district police and IGI police inspected various areas near the airport where the flying object was reportedly sighted.” “The incident is not only a source of nuisance, but it may have also endangered the safety and security of the aircraft’s passengers and crew. A case has been filed against unknown persons,” he added.