Only last week a drone was caught flying too close to Gatwick Airport and led to the closure of the runway forcing five flights to be diverted, this type of irresponsible behaviour is not acceptable. The sooner drones have the ability to auto transmit their owners details the better.
An airport spokesman said the runway had been closed for two periods on Sunday – of nine and five minutes – after the drone was sighted.
Easyjet said four of its flights were diverted, while British Airways said one aircraft was diverted to Bournemouth.
Other flights were put into holding patterns as a precaution. Sussex Police is investigating.
Despite present drone regulations in the US, identifying the operator of any given drone in the sky is nearly impossible, making it difficult for law enforcement to deal with drones that are being misused. To address this issue, the Federal Aviation Administration has developed the new UAS Identification and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), which just recently wrapped up its first meeting.
According to the FAA, this initial meeting was used to discuss law enforcement concerns related to drones, to present regulations concerning drone tracking and identification, as well as possible legal issues and air traffic drone management. Existing drone ID tech was reviewed, and ‘preliminary…identification parameters’ were created.
Speaking on the behalf of unnamed sources, Recode reports that law enforcement agencies are concerned about their inability to identify drones from the ground; this concern has reportedly delayed an FAA proposal related to flying drones over people. The FAA is said to be using this committee to develop a system in which law enforcement will be able to identify a drone from the ground, addressing the agencies’ concerns.
Such a system may involve the drone itself broadcasting its identification to a law enforcement system, enabling police to ID the drone’s operator or, at the very least, its owner. Such an identification system would likely require small non-commercial drones to be registered, however, marking a deviation from current drone regulations.
At the moment, only commercial drones must be registered with the FAA.
In November 2016, the UK’s drone code was revised and updated to help pilots ensure they fly their gadgets safely. The revised code consists of five basic rules.
- Don’t fly near airports or airfields
- Remember to stay below 120m (400ft) and at least 50m (150ft) away from people
- Observe your drone at all times
- Never fly near aircraft
- Enjoy responsibly
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