Flight safety fears as fireworks deliberately aimed at planes

Incidents involving fireworks exploding in the skies over the UK have led to nearly 80 aircraft reporting safety alerts over their use – with eight planes actually being hit.

Fireworks display have hit aircraft and in other cases forced craft to switch to different airports to land

Fireworks have hit aircraft and in some cases, forced craft to divert to other airports. Image by Dave Pullig / CC BY 2.0

And new figures show that a number of flights have had to be redirected – including military planes – after they had also been targeted.

Labor Day fireworks over Coney Island. Image by Bob Jagendorf / CC BY 2.0

In some cases aircrafts' paintwork has been scorched by these firework rocket attacks. Image by Bob Jagendorf / CC BY 2.0

The Daily Mirror reports that pilots have documented a serious increase in firework incidents over the past few years, in particular around Heathrow in London which accounts for one in four of every dangerous incident recorded.

Air authorities accept that there are several accidental cases of explosives going off in the flight paths of passenger planes when they take off or are preparing to land. What is worrying them though is the incidents where deliberate attempts are made to actually fire at the planes.

The majority of these type of dangerous explosives are shoehorned two weeks either side of 5 November - Guy Fawkes night.

Twenty years ago there were only six incidents reported but over the past decade or so this has soared eightfold.

The upshot of these incidents is that plane paintwork was scorched from a rocket firework while four years ago a military plane was deliberately targeted during landing on a night flight. This led to the pilot having to land at a nearby airport.

Two years ago, Belfast City Airport had to redirect all incoming planes when efforts to halt a fireworks display less than a mile from the airport failed.

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