Do we need better controls over drone flying?

Just imagine you are flying home from holiday, about to land and the announcement comes over:

“Ladies and gentleman, this is your pilot speaking, due to the actions of some twats, we have been diverted to Bournemouth airport, but don’t worry, there will be a bus that will take you from there to Gatwick”.

Because we all love bus travel! (Where’s my sarcasm font?)

Even worse, what if you lose the first day of your holiday as your plane has been forced to land 200 miles away from its intended airport.

Easy Jet plane was diverted by drone

Bus replacement services suck!

The phrase ‘bus replacement service’ already strikes fear into my heart when used with the railways, imagine how it would feel if it was for a flight.

But for some poor buggers, that was the reality when some douche-bag flew their drone too close to Gatwick Airport and caused major disruption in the UK.

Bad drone flying can have a huge effect

That’s right, one person disrupts the travel of hundreds. What must be even more frustrating for the passengers is that you can’t even blame the airline and get an apology for the disruption and the odds are the drone pilot will never be found.

The more I think about this the angrier I get.

But . . . drones are awesome

They are fun to fly and you can get some amazing pictures, check it:

Drone photo of the Ocean
Drone photo of a football stadium
Drone photo of a snowy forest

Sadly, these are some amazing stock images I found, not mine.

But, I do own a drone and I love it. I’m just really . . . really crap at flying.

Here are some of my drone skills

So it’s not the drones that are the problem, it’s the dr-owners (yes, I made that up and I feel more proud than I probably should do).

So should drones be banned?

The worrying thing is that I can only see this becoming more of a problem as time goes by. Drones are getting cheaper and more and more people want them, just like myself.

However, the more people that own them, the higher the risk of these incidents become.

Can something be done about irresponsible drone pilots?

You need to get a license to drive a car, should there be a similar test you have to pass to be able to fly a drone?

Maybe you should register before you fly?

I don’t know the answer but they do need tougher sentences for people that break the drone flying code.

What is the drone law when flying?

In case you weren’t aware that there is one, here are the highlights for flying your drone safely and not breaking the law:

The Drone Code

D: Don’t fly near airports or airfields
R: Remember to stay below 120m (400ft) and at least 50m (150ft) away from people
O: Observe your drone at all times
N: Never fly near aircraft
E: Enjoy responsibly

See the full code here:

Basically, the legal responsibility lies with the drone pilot and should they fail to observe them, they could be prosecuted.

Drone Safe has actually created an app to make flying safer

The below is taken from their website where you can download the app:

“Drone Assist is the new drone safety app from NATS, the UK’s main air traffic control provider, powered by Altitude Angel. It presents users with an interactive map of airspace used by commercial air traffic so that you can see areas to avoid or in which extreme caution should be exercised, as well as ground hazards that may pose safety, security or privacy risks when you’re out flying your drone.”

But what can the Police do about drone?

Realistically, not a lot right now. With the technology evolving so quickly and usage rates going up, it’s going to be a while until the police are fully equipped to deal with the issue.

That is unless you’re in Holland!

Training eagles to catch drones

Read about how the Dutch Police are training eagles to pluck drones straight out of the sky!

Tougher sentences for drone owners

Anyway, this rant is coming to an end, but personally, I think a license would be a bad idea. It would punish many hobby dr-owners, and no doubt it would be very expensive.

I do think there should be tougher actions though. I think more education is needed on responsible flying. Maybe make it a rule that all instructions manuals should have the code printed on them and tougher punishment for those found breaking them.

I also think those stupid enough to fly them near airports should get in trouble. If they weren’t close enough to affect any flights them maybe a hefty fine and a week in the stocks getting pummelled mouldy fruit would be enough.

However, if as a result of their actions planes are declaring emergencies and having to divert to alternative airports, stupidity on that scale should result in some kind on incarceration.

But I won’t keep droning on about it. What do you think? The problem is only going to get bigger, is it time to act now? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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20 thoughts on “Do we need better controls over drone flying?”

  1. Drones are awesome, and I love them! My husband and I have drone company and we make a lot of videos! The thing is that you must follow some rules, and you must be responsible ”driver”, because drone is not a toy as many people think! Because of the irresponsible people, others feel that drones are dangerous! Anyway, drones rule 🙂

    • I agree, I love them too. I’m far from a pro but I think of myself as a responsible owner. I am pretty crap at flying it so I only do it in places that are unlikely to upset anyone. Until it gets stuck in a tree, which is how my flights usually end!

  2. As most of things in life they have a good use but some people just use it for bad reasons. Living in Paris this kind of things are a bit scary with everything that happens. But those travel pictures are just marvelous it will be sad to be deprived of them.

  3. Liked, laughed and enjoyed your post, Matt. Take all the applause for the newly coined word :). You are not that bad with drones, if you see me, I can’t even put a video of it. But, we will get there. For the post, a valid point raised, interesting how govts. want to take it up as you find more drones in the sky than planes these days (may be an exaggeration) but something concrete needs to be built. Not sure, if there is a license to possess and use a drone is needed.

    • It is definitely something that will need to be addressed. I don’t think they should bring in licenses as it’s punishing the many for the actions of a few. Will be interesting to see what happens.

  4. Drones near airports disaster. Ppl must follow the rules. And yes now it’s cheap to buy so anyone and everyone is having one. I think they should be a lisence to take abd a test b4 ppl can buy.

  5. This is an interesting post. I have never flown a drone, but the pics from it are beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is really crazy that these drones could disrupt air travel and possibly endanger people. I totally agree there should be licensing, fines and who knows even jail time for bad offenders. And it needs to be monitored by the police more. Sure they are fun but they need to be used responsibly.

  7. I’m actually worse than you! LOL! I can’t manage staying on air for more than 2 seconds haha! Also… Gosh! I didn’t know that there are idiots flying their drones next to airports! Who does that?? WHY?

    • I don’t know why. Probably just thought it would be cool to get a video of a plane landing without thinking through the consequences. And sadly, you can’t fix stupid.

  8. I think there should be drone laws and, most importantly, a way to track down dr-owners (to use your coined word 🙂 ) so that when they violate people’s privacy or disrupt airlines etc, they can face the consequences of their actions. It sucks when other people misbehave and get away with it.

    • Agree about the laws, but it’s tricky as you’d be punishing the many for the actions of a few. I think a big awareness campaign needs to happen with information about what could happen if you break the rules. I think many are just unaware. But – that’s not a good excuse.

  9. I think you are right, there should be more forceful repercussions for failure to follow the rules. Putting the safety of others at risk is a big problem.

  10. The photos are just incredible. I don’t know much about drone flying, but my brother is crazy about them and builds them himself from little pieces.


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