A police drone had to be swiftly manoeuvred to avoid a mid-air collision with a military jet flying at nearly 520mph.
The Devon and Cornwall police officer piloted the device into the flightpath of the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter and was convinced a crash was imminent when he heard it approaching.
He made his 13lb drone descend quickly as the US jet roared past 500ft above him, followed seconds later by another one. The jet’s pilot and its weapons operator both failed to spot the black drone, which had four rotor arms and LED lights.
A report by the UK Airprox Board, which investigates near misses, found that the officer had been legally operating his drone during an aerial search near Throwleigh on the northern edge of Dartmoor on January 16.
The officer rated the risk of a collision as “high”. The drone flew up to a height of 300ft when he “heard a fast-jet approaching from an unknown direction”.