Drones and new regulations in development
Drones are hot topic all over the world at the moment, whether they are for fun or for new business services. Although they can be great for seeing the world and providing fantastic views, they can also cause mayhem - remember in some cases there is several hundred pounds of hardware being sent up into the sky which can malfunction, or can be used wrongly or can simply be caught up in an expected gust of wind. All of this can send the drone exactly where it is not wanted.
In the US last year they outlined a drone registration process (although they have since rescinded it) with Canada even more recently adjusting their processes. Now the UK are looking to adopt a similar registration process in the effort to reduce near misses with helicopters and planes. This is only one part of the process in the UK, where in addition users will also be required to take a safety awareness training course - this is aimed to ensure the users are familiar with the ways to use their drones safely.
The rules will set out that owners of drones that weigh more than 250g - which is heavier than most available on the high street - will be required to register their details and demonstrate that they understand safety and privacy laws that affect the use of drones. The move to introduce the rules follows research that showed strikes by drones of more than 400g could critically damage helicopter windscreens, whilst a bigger drones of about 2kg could critically harm airlines windscreens at higher speeds.
There has been 22 incidents involving commercial airliners according to the UK's Civil Aviation Airpox Board and what was likely to be drones - this is just in the first half of the year. The aim is obviously to ensure that a hobby drone operator doesn't crash their drone into any aircraft that could potentially cause a catastrophic accident. Further investigations are also looking as to whether drones could be pre-programmed with geo-fending co-ordinates that would stop drones from entering specific air spaces over airports and prisons.