Imagine you’re at the airport, ready for your Christmas vacation to an exotic island. Suddenly, you hear that your flight has been delayed for over 33 hours. Why? Because people spotted drones near the airport!
This December, more than 140,000 passengers had their flights delayed due to a drone sighting near the Gatwick airport in London, England. The airport was disrupted for over 30 hours, leaving many passengers frustrated and worried about their Christmas plans. In Canada, similar incidents have occurred, resulting in flight delays and other difficulties.
In early January, Canda and England implemented new drone regulations to ensure that these problems would not occur again.
Drones: What And Why
A drone is a type of unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, meaning that it is an aircraft without a pilot onboard. Instead, a drone is controlled by a remote that a person can operate at ground level. With the remote, a person can change the direction or speed that a drone flies, as well as how high or low it goes.
Drones are made of lightweight materials, and equipped with GPS routing systems and sometimes even cameras! Photographers use drones to take stunning pictures of landscapes. On the remote control, a handler can see what the drone sees, allowing them to capture images of mountains, buildings, oceans, or any other aerial view.
Drones are also used by companies involved in film production, construction, agriculture, and security. Some of your favorite movies might include drone shots! Drones have add-on features such as infrared sensors and mapping capabilities, making it easier for farmers to maintain their crop or for construction workers to map out a large location. Some businesses have begun to experiment using drones instead of delivery trucks to automatically deliver packages to a person’s home.
Risks of Drones
In most countries, airspace and drone usage are regulated by governmental agencies.
However, the violation of airspace laws can pose harmful threats to the safety of individuals. When drones fly too high into the air, they can interfere with the path of airplanes and possibly cause a plane crash. In Canada and England, the new drone regulations ensure that drones cannot fly higher than 400 feet (0.12 km) and need to be at least 1 kilometer (England) or 9 km (Canada) away from an airport.
Drones need to be registered by the government’s aviation agency and users must pass a test in order to obtain a drone license. In Canada, drone pilots must now be at least 14 years old. Anyone who fails to follow drone regulations can face substantial fines.
These new regulations hope to make drone enthusiasts fly drones in a safer environment. While drones can be harmful and risky, they have the potential to benefit the world. Ultimately, it is up to us as individuals to follow the rules and respect airspace.
Sources: BBC, Independent, The Week, WeTalkUAV, Federal Aviation Administration