Under the newly announced regulations, drone users will have to take a safety awareness test and register them. Fears over the safety of drone use were caused because of dozens of near-misses with aircrafts. Under the new rules, drone will have to be registered, and users will have to demonstrate they understand privacy and safety laws that affect their use, if the drone weights more than 250g.
Research that preceded this law showed that drones that weight 400g can critically damage helicopter windscreen, and that drones of 2kg, flying at a higher speed can critically damage. After a series of near-collisions between drones and passenger jets, pilots have required restraints for drones, particularly on major airports, such as Heathrow.
Investigation conducted by the Civil Aviation Authority’s Airprox Board shows that that twenty-two incidents involving drones and commercial airliners have happened just in the first four moths of 2017. Users of the drones could not be traced.
Balpa, the pilot’s union welcomed the new law, but said that they want to see the details of these measures. Research tests that were conducted on behalf of the Balpa, military aviation authorities and the government showed that even small drone with low speed can can cause a catastrophe by hitting the helicopter rotors and aircraft windscreens
The Balpa general secretary, Brian Strutton, said, “Pilots have been warning about the rise in the number of cases of drones being flown irresponsibly close to aircraft and airports for some time. This report clearly shows that readily available drones which can be flown by anyone can shatter or go straight through an aircraft windshield or shatter a helicopter rotor. And those impacts would have catastrophic consequences.”
The government said that it is searching for best legislative option to introduce the rules. It is also planning to use geo-fencing, which will disable the drones to approach restricted locations like airports or prisons by programming them not to.
Lord Callanan, the aviation minister said that new rules will strike a balance between minimising misuse and using the benefits of the drones.
He said: “The UK is at the forefront of an exciting and fast-growing drones market and it is important we make the most of this emerging global sector.
“Our measures prioritise protecting the public while maximising the full potential of drones. Increasingly, drones are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure for repair or aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, even helping to save lives.”
Commercial drone operators are already required to register the drones with the CAA and finish a training course before they are able to use them. Rules also say that drones cannot be flown out of the user’s sight, above 120 meters, near aircraft and airports, and over crowds.
The Airport Operators Association demanded the mandatory geo-fencing to be introduced and agreed with the regulations, but said that enforcement will be vital for the effectiveness of the rules.