A civilian drone crossed paths with an airplane as it was descending into Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport on Wednesday, according to French media reports. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the AFP news agency reports that the pilot of the plane noticed a drone about 150 meters (492 feet) under the right wing of the aircraft, which was at an altitude of about 2,300 meters (7,800 feet). French law prohibits civilian drones from flying above an altitude of 150 meters, and bans them from operating near airports. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines a near mid-air collision as any incident in which two aircraft are within 500 vertical feet of one another.
The pilot reportedly notified authorities of the incident after landing the plane, which was owned by an Irish company and was arriving from Dublin. Neither the drone's manufacturer or its operator have been identified so far. Representatives from the Charles de Gaulle airport and France's air gendarmerie did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The incident comes little more than a month after an Air France jet nearly collided with a drone while landing at the same Paris airport. In that case, the plane was flying at an altitude of 5,500 feet and the drone passed just 16 feet below its left wing, forcing the pilot to disengage from autopilot mode and perform an avoidance maneuver. On Sunday, a commercial drone actually collided with an airplane landing at Heathrow Airport outside London.
Last year, French authorities identified eight drones that were illegally operating near airports, according to the directorate general for civil aviation. A report from the FAA last month showed that the agency recorded more than 500 drone-related incidents from August 2015 to January of this year, including one case where a drone flew at a distance of 20 feet from an airplane.