It's fair to say that for some time now some plane pilots have had something of a strained relationship with drone users. Citing the obvious security and safety concerns posed by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), a section of the general aviation community and other airspace users have reported near-misses with irresponsible drone users that have conducted flight in unauthorised areas such as around airports.
Well that could all be about to change – in the UK at least – as the UK’s governing body of aviation, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has launched a new initiative aimed at improving relations between responsible drone users and the pilots of more traditional airborne vehicles. Called Share the Air, the campaign will today bring together the two different disciplines at the 2018 Light Aircraft Association Rally in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.
Beginning today, the three-day event will help the different groups to build stronger links and in the process develop a system that will improve the state of safety and security in the skies. Those in attendance will be shown the range of flying opportunities that exist in their local area and will also receive top tips on how they can use their drones responsibly alongside other airspace users.
The latest models of drone will be on display which will be available to fly at the Wellingborough air rally, where the CAA will give answers to drone-based questions and provide the latest information on the UK and European regulations covering their use. The assistant director from the authority, Jonathan Nicholson, said that Share the Air was developed to help the increasing number of UAV owners from understanding the responsibility they have in ensuring the safety of everyone using UK airspace.
“It is vital both drone users and the general aviation communities are equipped to share the air in a safe and enjoyable way,” said Nicholson. “By attending this year's rally, drone enthusiasts again have an invaluable opportunity to get to grips with the world of flying, understand the environment they operate in and maybe even be inspired to one day get in a cockpit themselves.”
Asif Gillani, a director of one of the UAV manufacturer in attendance, Parrot Drones, said it was committed to work with the UK government in developing legislation that would aid drones’ safe development.
Highlighting the very real danger that drones can pose in the wrong hands, in July 2018 a drone was just 20 feet from hitting a plane that had just taken off at London Luton airport. The rate of near-misses with planes has tripled in two years according to the latest UK official data, with 92 incidents taking place in 2017, up from just 29 in 2015 – a 217% rise.
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