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http://www.freelancedirectory.org/?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation, keynote presentations and workshops for corporate organisations on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. He operated at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book. Journalist and Broadcaster. After-dinner speaker and presenter.

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Monday, 3 July 2017

LONDON GATWICK AIRPORT SHUTDOWN AS NEAR RUNWAY DRONE SPOTTED BY EASYJET AND BA PILOTS: FIVE FLIGHTS DIVERTED


At least 5 flights were diverted, a runway closed at Gatwick on Sunday evening after a pilot reported a drone [UAV] flying too close to the airport, which is contrary to CAA regulations and Air Navigation Orders could land the owner with a criminal record, jail term and a £2,500 fine.

In a new initiative Gatwick airport authorities are supplying regular aircraft spotters, some belong to established clubs, with a direct contact telephone number, so they can also immediately report any sightings of illegal drone / UAV activity near Gatwick runways. They'll note and record vehicle registration numbers and other identity marks associated with the illegal use of a UAV. This information is then immediately passed to police, in some cases a police helicopter and cars can be actioned.  

Passengers faced delays of some 3 hours as five flights were sent elsewhere, and they faced delays to their journeys. In addition departing aircraft were also delayed as the runway was closed. The closures were from 18:10hrs to 18:19hrs and then again at 18:36hrs to 18:41hrs.
A spokesperson for easyJet said four flights were diverted, British Airways reported that a flight from Valencia was diverted to Bournemouth Airport, where the aircraft was detained for an hour before returning and landing at Gatwick some 3 hours late.

Sussex Police have opened a major enquiry as the incidents are being termed as ' UAV near miss' incidents..

The UK Air Navigation Order, Article 52, says: “The commander of an aircraft registered in the United Kingdom shall take all reasonable steps to satisfy himself before the aircraft takes off that the flight can safely be made, taking into account the latest information available as to the route and aerodrome to be used, the weather reports and forecasts available and any alternative course of action which can be adopted in case the flight cannot be completed as planned.”

The Twitter board carried several tweets from passengers including Holly Johnson, formerly the front man of British band Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
He wrote: "A Drone on the flightpath into Gatwick : our @British-Airways flight diverted to Bournemouth. On the Tarmac waiting ... for an update." The flight later returned to Gatwick.

A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: "Due to unconfirmed reports of a drone observation in the vicinity of the airfield, runway operations at Gatwick were suspended between 18:10hrs and 18:19hrs, and again from 18:36hrs to 18:41hrs, resulting in a number of go-arounds and diverts.
"Operations have resumed and the police continue to investigate."
The spokesperson confirmed the reports were made by pilots.

The easyJet planes diverted included a flight from Naples to Gatwick that was sent to Stansted, a flight from Bodrum to Gatwick diverted to London Southend, a plane from Milan Linate to Gatwick that instead was sent to Bournemouth, and the Inverness to Gatwick route diverted to Stansted.

Speaking on radio a passenger told the BBC he was on the easyJet flight from Naples, Italy, the plane "did four or five circles" before the captain announced they would land at Stansted instead.
 

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com,  
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