Geeky toy or security threat? Whatever your stance is on drones, you probably wouldn’t want to see one out of your plane window or near the runaway when you’re about to take off on your all-inclusive holiday to Alicante.
But new figures show that there were 13 near misses involving drones at London airports last year alone. According to a report by the UK Airprox Board, from a total of 36 London-related drone incidents in 2016, ten involving flights arriving or departing Heathrow airport were ranked ‘category-A’, indicating a ‘serious risk of collision’.
Another nine class-B incidents were reported, in which the safety of Heathrow planes ‘may have been compromised’, with three for Gatwick and one for Stansted as well.
By law, drones must never be flown beyond the line of sight of the operator, a rule punishable by an unlimited fine and five years in the nick for endangering an aircraft. In reality, with incidents occurring thousands of feet up, including one 4,900ft up near the Shard and another a whopping 6,000ft over East Barnet, it’s pretty hard to lay down the law when it comes to drone users.
A spokesperson from the Department for Transport said they were working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority to ‘adapt and strengthen regulations as drone use and the related technology evolves’.
When they aren’t clogging up our airport runways, drones can be used to get some pretty sweet aerial footage of the city – check out this dreamy drone footage of south London in the snow.