A rogue drone has been blamed for two runway closures and the diversion of 5 flights at Gatwick Airport within the U.Okay. yesterday.
The BBC stories that Sussex Police are investigating a reported drone sighting that precipitated the issues. “Runway operations at Gatwick were suspended between 18:10 BST and 18:19, and again from 18:36 to 18:41, resulting in a small number of go-arounds and diverts,” the airport reported.
While the flight disruptions have been broadly reported within the media, and the reason for the issue clearly recognized as a drone, as but all stories cite solely rumour proof drone was concerned within the incident. Previously reported “near misses” with drones have typically later been confirmed to contain different objects, just like the plastic bag or balloon reported as a close to catastrophe final 12 months.
U.Okay. drone legal guidelines clearly state that flight is restricted close to airports. While most are unproven, the U.Okay. Airprox Board stories 70 “near misses” involving drones in 2016. These stories have led to calls for stricter drone rules, together with harsher penalties for infractions close to airports. The British Airline Pilots’ Association has revealed a response to this weekend’s incident, proposing extra know-how options and doable jail time for drone operators who intrude with bigger plane. “Yet another incident at Gatwick involving drones shows that the threat of drones being flown near manned-aircraft must be addressed before we see a disaster,” stated BALPA’s flight security specialist, Steve Landells. “….We believe a collision, particularly with a helicopter, has the potential be catastrophic. Measures should be put in place that will allow the police to identify and locate anyone who flies a drone in an irresponsible way.”
“Owing to the huge numbers of drones being sold, more technological solutions will undoubtedly be required to address this problem and should be mandated,” stated Landells. “These ought to embody, amongst different issues, geofencing as customary and a system whereby the drone transmits sufficient information for the police to find the operator when it’s flown in a harmful method.
“If the user has endangered an aircraft, we would like to see the culprit prosecuted; endangering an aircraft has a maximum sentence of five years in prison.”
A spokesman for the U.Okay. Civil Aviation Authority stated that it was “totally unacceptable” to fly drones close to airports and that breaking the foundations would lead to “severe penalties, including imprisonment.”