Drones? What’s all the fuss about???

Before we start, what are “drones” exactly?

Well, in this article, I am referring to the commercial quadcopter and octocopters such as those available for around £100-£500, usually piloted by someone who is no more than a few kilometres away from the drone. However, the term “drone” can refer to many other flying devices ranging from those used by the military to those used by professional camera crews.

For those of you who are not aware, last week, between the 19th and 21st of December 2018, numerous drone sightings were reported near to the 2nd busiest airport in the UK: Gatwick Airport (also known as London Gatwick). In total, around 1,000 flights, affecting approximately 140,000 passengers, through cancelled or delayed flights across the three-day long incident. This could not have happened at a worse time: only a few days away from Christmas, it ruined many family’s annual traditions. Understandably, those affected feel anger towards drones, calling for stricter and more stringent laws. Some even demanding on a ban on drones altogether.

condor airplane on grey concrete airport
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

But was there any real danger?

Anything that weighs a significant amount, in the air, can cause damage to a plane. For example, flocks of birds were the most prominent problem for planes, in previous years. Despite the manufacturing of engines with birds in mind, drones seem to pose a more significant threat. Birds are made of flesh and feathers whereas drone is made of metal and many other harder composites. Thus, it could be argued that drones can cause much more damage than a stray bird- though we need more testing and research before any certain notions can be drawn. However, when it comes to aviation and the lives of thousands, it is better to be safe than sorry.

close up court courthouse hammer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“So can I still fly a drone?”

For now, yes. Despite a licence not being required to operate a drone, there are some rules you must follow. Here are the main things you should know (taken from an official government statement- British Government):

“There are several other things to think about – what is your drone going to do if it runs out of power or fails? Is it going to land/fall somewhere safe? Are you far enough away from people, buildings and more importantly airfields if you lose control of your drone? Also bear in mind that you can be several miles away from an airfield and still be a hazard to manned aviation. Height is very difficult to judge from the ground, you might still be able to see your drone, just, and yet be well above 400ft. You should also consider that many military helicopters will often return to an airfield from all directions at 500ft and fixed wing aircraft can start descending from 1000ft about 3 miles away. So the message is this – if you are going to use drones, have a really good think about where you are, keep your drone in sight, consider what aircraft might be flying about and keep clear – it is your responsibility.” [source: Minister of Defence and Military Aviation Authority  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/drones-are-you-flying-yours-safely-and-legally ]

In conclusion, though drones have been put in a negative light in recent days, I would still recommend getting one if you are a technology enthusiast or want to play with them with your friends; they are great fun either way!

 

[Btw, I wish everyone reading this a happy new year, and I hope 2019 will bring prosperities and success!!!]

 

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