It is a sobering fact that the huge increase in the number of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s or drones) in our skies – one million sold in 2015 and growing – has also increased the chances of your passenger jet being brought down by one being flown too close to an airport, or flight path, either through total stupidity or deliberate malice.
According to the UK Airprox Board there were 13 near misses of drones and passenger jets using Heathrow airport in 2016, nearly four times the number in 2015, with 10 of the incidents being graded category A, meaning “Serious risk of collision”. Some have been caused by drones being used to capture “cool” close-up views of aircraft taking off and landing, these shots then being posted proudly by their lethally stupid takers on the internet.
Those making and selling drones enjoy the money from the rise in drone-use from many sectors, not least our events sector where they have been used to capture aerial views of venues, weddings and sports events, so there are clearly valuable commercial applications of the technology for some.
Question is how long it will be before serious risk of collision becomes an actual aircraft crash, perhaps into a highly populated area, and our authorities then start to wonder whether the minor benefits of enhanced views are worth the major cost of a tragedy.