The impact of drone incidents on the industry


Phil Vinter TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Download PDF
Download PDF

Cast your minds back to December, when commercial drone operators were on the verge of breathing a sigh of relief having made it through another 12 months without a major drone incident.

Then, came ‘The nightmare before Christmas’ when those reported drone sightings in the vicinity of Gatwick Airport grounded planes for 36 hours and caused more than 160,000 people to miss flights.

Since I earned my PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) licence in 2014, there’s been increasingly nervous chatter within the community about the impact a major drone incident would have on the industry. The potentially devastating consequences of a drone colliding with a plane might trigger a kneejerk reaction, leading to crippling regulations that would make commercial drone operation prohibitively expensive and difficult.

Perhaps because ultimately no one was injured in the Gatwick incident (some say they may not even have been a drone now?), the response has been fairly measured so far, the Government has more widely publicised new legislation that was already in the pipeline following a consultation started in July last year. The new rules outline the following:

  • The area around airports where drones are banned from flying is to be extended to 5km
  • For minor drone offences, police will be able to issue fixed-penalty notices, with fines of up to £100 for offences such as failing to comply with an officer when instructed to land a drone or not showing the registration required to operate a drone.
  • Police will be able to search premises and seize drones – including the electronic data stored within the device – where a serious offence has been committed and a warrant is secured.
  • Registered drone users will need to take an online competency test.
  • From 30th November operators of drones between 250g and 20kg will need to be registered

Many commercial drone users such as myself welcome sensible options that both make our industry safer and weed out irresponsible drone operators who flout the law.

That said, none of the above measures would have prevented a determined drone operator from flying within the boundaries of an airport, the only effective way of doing that is to introduce defence systems that disable or take out drones.

While there hasn’t yet been the ‘chop off their propellers and throw away their remote controls’ outcry over commercial drone operators, the possibility of a serious incident between a drone and a plane that has unthinkable consequences still lingers.

The number of aircraft incidents involving drones has increased from 0 in 2013 to nearly 125 in 2018 and the topic of drones seems to show no sign of falling out of favour with the popular media. Yet at the same time safety technology being built into drones is increases exponentially – warnings flash up to let users know if they are in a restricted flight area, geo-fencing is built into many models and most drones come with at least some degree of obstacle avoidance, making it ever more difficult to manually fly a drone forwards, backwards or sideways into something.

So, what for the future? At time of writing, what happened at Gatwick and the latest drone sighting at Heathrow is still a fuzzy picture. One thing we can say is that as drones get more prevalent in our society, it’s highly likely that one day there will be a major incident between a commercial plane and a drone. But just as we decided not to ban cars after the first collision between two vehicles on the roads, lets hope a sensible approach continues to be taken with drones.


Tags: iss135 | drones | drone | airport | gatwick | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Download PDF
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • BeyondHD - Drones at BVE 2015

    BeyondHD - Drones at BVE 2015

  • Tour Seminar - Everything you need to know about drones...

    Tour Seminar - Everything you need to know about drones...

  • Cobham transmitters at IBC 2013

    Cobham transmitters at IBC 2013


Related Shows
  • Show 14 - March 20th 2013

    Show 14 - March 20th 2013


Articles
The LED Lighting Revolution
Neil Vann Back in April 2019, the National Association of Broadcasters hosted the annual NAB show in Las Vegas where over 90,000 people from more than 160 countries came to see the latest broadcast technology from around the world. Honouring the highlights of the show were NAB’s 2019 Product of the Year awards, where the newly launched Chroma-Q Space Force onebytwo – a bright, tuneable white LED softlight with a high CRI, TLCI and TM-30 - picked up one of these prestigious awards in the lighting category.
Tags: iss139 | ac-ent | led | lighting | chroma-q space | softlight | studio force phosphor | Neil Vann
Contributing Author Neil Vann Click to read or download PDF
The Making of Zero
Keith and David Lynch

The Brothers Lynch explain how they created the sinister atmospheric world for their new sci-fi short

In a post-apocalyptic world where humankind has emerged victorious in a war against artificial intelligent machines, a young girl dares to venture into the unknown. This is Zero, the new sci-fi short film from acclaimed British writer-director duo The Brothers Lynch which has premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Tags: iss139 | blackmagic design | davinci resolve | editing | grading | grade | mk2 zeiss | superspeeds | cinema 4d | molinaire | Keith and David Lynch
Contributing Author Keith and David Lynch Click to read or download PDF
Covering Ironman Australia
KitPlus KitPlus recently chatted with Stephen Kane, production manager of IRONMAN Oceania in Australia and New Zealand. IRONMAN is one of the leading mass sports brands in the world, consisting of over 260 events across 44 countries including long (IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3) and short (Sprint and Olympic) distance triathlons, mountain bike stage racing, road cycling and running, both marathon and trail. One of those events is IRONMAN Australia, which takes place yearly on the Australian east coast.
Tags: iss139 | ironman | dejero | streaming | cellsat | 5g | engo | mobile transmitter | facebook live | wi-fi | cellular | satellite | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
The University of the Third Age
Bernard Newnham Here's a cliché - "We all get to be old one day - if we're lucky". There comes a point when things like "....mastered in Dolby Vision Domestic and SDR Rec 709....." become just a touch unimportant (and actually I never really understood that stuff in the first place). I retired for the third time last year - BBC producer, and before that cameraman, then freelance producer, trainer, do-your-own camera, sound, editor, blah blah, then 11 years university teaching. I did my bit - never a BAFTA, but certainly the first into a good few things - but it all has to come to an end sometime.
Tags: iss139 | u3a | panasonic | davinci resolve | Bernard Newnham
Contributing Author Bernard Newnham Click to read or download PDF
Keeping the Show on the Road
Andy McKenzie There is long-established saying in the media business that, if something goes wrong, at least nobody dies. It is almost true unless you happen to be a TV producer suffering a cardiac arrest because your primary video feed has gone blank during a high-budget programme.
Tags: iss139 | service | support | finepoint | maintenance | Andy McKenzie
Contributing Author Andy McKenzie Click to read or download PDF