Julian Bray Aviation Expert writes: Carefully drawn up drone /UAV legislation with increased penalties proposed by the previous parliament had to be dumped due to the general election being called and it was not reintroduced by the new government. Sadly the new rules are simply too little, too late, but at least it is a start.
This resulted in intensive lobby activity by many experts (including this blog ) as it has been shown that even a lightweight drone near miss or an impact - possibly sucked into an engine air intake - can cause major problems to aircraft.
Many experts claim these new regulations are seen as a watered down version of what is really needed to keep our skies safe.
A demonstration of the extent that an education and awareness programme needs to be rolled out, was seen in stark reality on screen earlier today, as a so called Sheffield University drone expert who also claimed to be a private pilot, when questioned by the Saturday BBC Breakfast team, was clearly unable to quote from the existing drone code, and was uncertain about the extent of existing exclusion zones around property and airports. Didn't seem to know that all drone users are already subject to a variety of safety regulations!
To assist, our library of posts on UAV's are on this link:
The measure is designed to help authorities trace owners 'when the machines are used inappropriately.'
Concerns that a mid-air collision between a drone and an aircraft could occur have been raised by dozens of reported near misses.
Twenty-two incidents involving drones, balloons or unknown objects were investigated by the UK Airprox from January to April this year.
The new rules mean drones weighing 250g or more (say, the weight of a can of soup) must be registered. An online or app-based system may be introduced and users will have to pass an on-line safety awareness test as part of the new registration process.
Not all drones are affected as some drones available on the high street are said to be too light to be affected by the regulation, not all experts agree and suggest the new registration system should apply to all UAV's especially lightweight versions, although the Government said it chose the weight following new research.
Meanwhile, on the military drone/UAV front Reuters from Paris are reporting Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd is moving quickly to innovate and maintain its edge in a global market in which it faces increasing competition from China, France, Turkey and others.
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