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Tougher Restrictions for Drone Flight?

Drone flight could soon become more stringent in the United Kingdom. It follows several near misses with UAVs close to notable British airports.

UAV NEAR MISSES: The tighter laws are being considered in the interest of ‘safety and security’

Ministers say they may need to introduce a new tracking system. They want stricter regulations to securely trace the flight path of unmanned aircraft.

The United Kingdom Airprox Board is the aircraft proximity regulator. They probed seven so-called ‘near misses’ in a 12 month period.

One newspaper report suggested that they are also investigating 4 other incidents.

They also happened near UK airports in recent weeks. The airports affected were Birmingham, London City, and others near to Heathrow.

People who fly drones must observe the rules. Operating an unmanned aircraft in the air has serious implications. That gets emphasised around some of these busiest areas of airspace in the world.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed that tough new rules for drone flight may become a reality. They must ensure safety in a complex system that shares all manner of aircraft.

These include passenger aeroplanes and light aircraft, helicopters. Gliders, military jets – and now remotely controlled drones.

UK Drone Flight Regulations

Note: The Air Navigation Order 2009 regulation means drone users can get prosecuted if:

  • The drone is flown beyond their line of sight. This gets measured as 500 meters ‘horizontally’ and 400 feet ‘vertically’.
  • An unmanned aircraft is flown closer than 50 meters to a person, vehicle, building, or a structure.
  • It is flown within 150 meters of a congested area or large group of people (e.g. a sporting event or a concert).

In Parliament, the UK transport minister confirmed that the government is currently addressing the issue of drone and aircraft safety. He stated: “The Government is in early discussions with international partners about a drone traffic management system.”

To prove a point, the first police-led operation resulted in a civil conviction for flying a drone. A 42 year old British man from Nottingham got prosecuted for flying drones over several Premier League football stadiums.

He also flew a UAV close to Buckingham Palace and around the Houses of Parliament. He used the unmanned flying machines to shoot videos and upload them to his YouTube channel. He was subsequently fined £1,800.


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Ministers Ponder Tougher Rules for Drone Flight in the United Kingdom