Significant increase in drones related incidents

According to a report in the Evening Standard today the number of reported incidents involving drones and aircraft using London’s airports increased significantly in 2016.

The newspaper published a story saying that there were 26 incidents involving drones and Heathrow aircraft in 2016 by comparison to only seven in 2015. This amounts to a more than 300% increase.

Ten of the incidents at Heathrow were classed as ‘category A’ that means there has been a ‘serious risk of collision’.

As well as the incidents with drones at Heathrow there were reportedly three drone related ‘near misses’ at City Airport and around Stansted.

The Evening Standard report also said that it was drawing on information from the UK Airprox Board. This is a body set up to deal with air safety and has taken a particular interest in the use of drones due to their safety issues in being used by people with no CAA license or training.

The newspaper report went on to claim that “in total there were reports of at least 36 London-linked drone incidents involving passenger planes last year”.

There were a number of occasions last year when London media reported “near misses” between drones and commercial aircraft – but no actual hits.

As previously reported, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has published a code of practice for drone users which specifically outlines the dangers of operating the unmanned vehicles near airports. There is no legal requirement to read it though there are very stiff legal sanctions for those who cause incidents or fly their drones into protected airspace.  
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