A supposedly classified video posted on the Web reveals how a German military drone almost cost the lives of those on an Afghan passenger plane.
The video from 2004 shows an unmanned German Luna drone flying within two meters of the passenger plane carrying about 100 people. The plane was close to making its landing but the drone got caught in some of the Airbus A300's wind.
Here you can see the plane coming in for a landing hear the drone. (Image: YouTube screenshot)
According to the German news site Der Spiegel, this type of drone is launched via a catapult and runs using a small engine for up to eight hours, sending imagery back to command. Der Spiegel reported that the video from the drone and the investigation of the near accident were classified.
It was noted that the video emerged on YouTube in 2010, but some commenters on the article have said that the video has been circulating since 2006 and they are unsure why it is just getting play now.
Here's a look at one from 2006 that considered the near drone-plane encounter as potentially a hoax at the time:
A few months ago in the United States, a pilot reported seeing a similar size drone flying in restricted airspace near John F. Kennedy Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration is currently drafting regulations that will open up the skies to more drones by 2015.
The re-emergence of this video has been used to showcase the dangers of unmanned vehicles in some airspace. Some believe that this illustrates why larger drones should be equipped with anti-collision features, according to Spiegel.
This carries political weight for the Euro Hawk surveillance drone, which the Financial Times reported Germany would not be going through with due to the cost of becoming certified in Europe, which could be more than €500 million (or around $650 million).
Northrup Grumman, the Euro Hawk manufacturer, said the deal was still on and that it performed well during tests. Financial Times reported Northrup Gumman saying reports of safety issues and those indicating that the cost of the certification process being too expensive were "inaccurate."
(H/T: Daily Mail)