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The Drone that Ruined Christmas

There has been chaos at the second largest airport in the UK just before Christmas. A drone is a small unmanned aircraft and the rules and regulations surrounding the use of drones in the UK fall under The Air Navigation Order 2016.

Due to the rise in drones for both commercial and personal use, the Government published an amendment to the Order to help achieve safer flying across the country. Since July 2018 there is now a 400ft height restriction for small drones and a new limitation on the proximity it can be from an aerodrome. You must not fly a drone within a 1km distance from an airport.

There were drone sightings over Gatwick Airport on Wednesday and Thursday, and

s.241 of The Air Navigation Order 2016 states that a person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.

Chris Woodroofe, the chief operating officer at Gatwick has said “the police have 20 units out looking for the operator of that drone, and once they find them, they will bring them to justice which is five years imprisonment for endangering an aircraft”.

The damage that drones may cause to an aircraft such as a commercial aeroplane could be catastrophic. Most of us already know that bird strikes can do a lot of damage to aeroplanes, so imagine what a 10kg piece of metal could do. 

If you are thinking about or planning on using a drone just follow the rules below published by the Civil Aviation Authority (the UKs aviation regulator).

  • Don't fly near airports or airfields
  • Remember to stay below 400ft (120m) and at least 150ft (50m) away from buildings and people
  • Observe your drone at all times
  • Never fly near aircraft
  • Enjoy responsibly

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