Category Archives for "Civilian Drones"
European aviation regulator EASA has published a list of proposed new drone rules for operations within EU airspace. Take a look at a summary of these proposals on EASA’s website . Essentially they plan to divide drones into three categories based on the risk they present rather than take-off weight. Take-off weight has been the most popular drone categorisation for regulators like the UK CAA so far. Within the risk categories there will be further sub-divisions depending on the size of the drone and the type of operation.
These are just proposals for now and we all have until September to comment. The document explains how to do that.
Was the drone footage of migrants camped on the Greece/Macedonia border a bad example from the BBC?
Right now there is a daily debate about the public use of drones; where and when they can fly, who can fly them, what is safe. Of course the UK CAA has published some easy to follow guidance in their Drone Code and if everyone stuck to it there would be less of an issue. But non-professional hobby drone fliers may not even be aware of the guidance or if they are they may not properly understand it all, so they might take their lead from what they see on TV. Which brings me to the BBC.
On Tuesday March 8th the BBC’s reporter was in the ever growing migrant/refugee encampment on the Greek side of the border with Macedonia. As he talked the video cut to some drone footage showing the appalling conditions and the sheer size of the camp – so far, so good (or so bad in fact…). Then the drone was clearly flown right over the camp and the thousands of people in it. Under the CAA rules this would not be permitted – surely this was an organised gathering of more than 1,000 people?
The CAA has no jurisdiction in Greece but this seems to set a very public example of breaching the UK rules.
As the debate about drones and potential privacy issues continues to heat up we are seeing an increasing array of anti drone kit on the market. These two popped up on my twitter feed just today. DroneShield which seems to be some kind of radio frequency (RF) detection and interference system, using ground based antennae. And rather more bizarrely Skywall 100, an enormous shoulder mounted, net firing bazooka!
Now I am sure there have been some gross invasions of privacy using camera equipped drones and I understand the commercial issues around industrial espionage. But in the UK at least, no-one owns the airspace above their land. So long as the drone is operated at the required distance from people, structures, vehicles etc. then I don’t see what right anyone would have, however indignant they were, to shoot down a drone.
The UK also has regulations around filming enshrined in the Information Commissioner’s CCTV Code but these did not envisage mobile airborne cameras so there is nothing in there about ‘netting’ offending equipment.
There is a clear need for security and enforcement agencies to be able to combat threatening drones – the Dutch are trying out birds of prey – but let’s hope that there is not a proliferation of random attacks on drones which are operating in accordance with the law. How to be sure of that? Always hire an operator who holds the correct CAA Permit for Aerial Work.