THE number of drones flying dangerously close to aeroplanes are on the rise in the UK, according to a new report.
Data published by the UK Airprox Board showed that the number of reports of drones in airspace occupied by planes this year has already surpassed the total number of reports across all of 2016.
So far in 2017 there have been 81 reports of a ground-controlled aircraft flying at a distance that poses a safety risk to a plane – referred to as an airprox.
In comparison, the Board received 71 reports in total last year, up from 29 in 2015 and just six reports in 2014.
Of the 81 cases already reported this year, 17 were placed in the highest category of severity, and were deemed to have posed a serious risk of collision to a major aircraft.
A further 18 of these compromised the safety of the plane involved, but were not at risk of a direct collision.
In July this year, the Government announced new rules to regulate drone use by forcing owners to register their flying gadgets and sit safety tests.
The move followed safety research that concluded drones could damage the windscreens of helicopters and take down commercial aircraft.
But these rules, due to come into force next year, will apply only to those that want to fly a drone heavier that 250g, meaning smaller models will likely not be regulated.
Civil Aviation Authority’s guidelines for safe drone flight
- Never fly near airports or airfields
- Keep your drone below 400 feet (or 120 metres)
- Make sure you can see your drone at all times
- Keep at least 150 feet (or 50 metres) away from people and property – and 500 feet (or 150 metres) away from crowds of people and built-up areas
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Remember that legal responsibility lies with you.
Earlier this year we reported some of the worst drone near misses in the UK, following at least 13 incidents taking place at London airports in 2016.
Most recently, Gatwick Airport was forced to close and three incoming EasyJet flights were diverted after numerous drone sightings sparked major panic in July.