Near-misses between drones and passenger jets in Britain nearly trebled last year.
There were 23 Category A – at serious risk of collision – drone-related incidents involving passenger jets in the UK last year – compared to the eight in 2015.
According to the National Air Traffic Service, more than two million drones are now in circulation in Britain.
And the rise in Category A misses between jets and the remote-controlled devices has resulted in fears of a tragic crash.
There were 13 ‘serious risk of collision’ drone-related incidents involving passenger planes at the capital’s airports in 2016
A total of 13 of the incidents involving passenger planes at London’s airports in 2016.
The Heathrow cases where the collision risk was assessed by pilots as ‘high’ include an A320 close to the Shard, on July 18, an A320 close to Osterley Park, west London, on May 1, an A320 over East Barnet, north London, on August 15, an A321 on final approach to the airport on March 28, an A320 on climb-out on February 14, and an A320 near Slough on March 30.
An E190 jet which had left City Airport on July 20 was involved in a drone incident with a ‘medium’ collision risk.
While, a drone came close to a B737 around 11 miles north east of Stansted on May 3.
Out of the other Category A incidents, there were two at Manchester International and one at Manchester City, Liverpool and Glasgow airports.
There were at least 36 drone-related incidents involving London passenger jets last year.
Investigators are still to publish probes into four Heathrow cases, one Gatwick, one City Airport, as well as another over the Olympic Park.
Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney, whose constituency is overflown by many planes, told the Evening Standard: ‘In the wrong hands, drones are endangering the lives of passengers and thousands more on the ground.
‘There should be an annual report to Parliament on drone incidents over London and other highly-populated areas.’
According to the National Air Traffic Service, more than two million drones are now in circulation in Britain
There are currently no specific regulations limiting the maximum height for the drones that weigh 7kg or less.
It was announced last November that drones will be deliberately smashed into passenger jets as part of a radical testing programme triggered by fears of a catastrophe in British skies.
Ministers ordered the tests after a series of near misses, some near major airports.
They have committed more than £250,000 to pay for a private study of what would happen if a drone struck a window or the fuselage of a plane.
Pilots warn it is only a matter of time before there is a collision and at one stage a close call was being reported every week.
The Government has published a consultation to tighten regulations on drones.
The pilot spotted the drone, which measured roughly 20in across, out of a cockpit window as the aircraft was flying just 650ft east of the Shard skyscraper in London, pictured
In November 2016, a major air disaster was narrowly avoided after a drone came within just 60ft of a passenger plane as it flew over central London.
The A320 aircraft, thought to have some 165 passengers on board, nearly collided with the remote-controlled device while on its final approach to Heathrow.
The pilot spotted the drone, which measured roughly 20in across, out of a cockpit window as the aircraft passed just 650ft to the east of the Shard skyscraper.