A passenger plane reportedly had a near miss with an unmanned drone which covertly breached the Heathrow perimeter as the passenger aircraft landed at London Heathrow, in the very first such incident recorded at the UKs' biggest airport.
Following reported earlier concerns over relaxed licencing of commercial drone RPAS - Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems technology, (as highlighted last month by Julian Bray Aviation Security expert) commercial aviation pilots are now forcefully warning that Britain needs tougher regulations on drone technology and also enhanced security measures on the ground, to avoid them being seized by force or controlled by hacking into electronic computer systems.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) points out that drone technology is developing quickly. RPAS units (drones) the size of small passenger planes could be operated commercially in UK airspace within the next decade.
BALPA warned that even small RPAS can cause injury and/or death if control over them is lost. Such as being blown by windshear and out of the range of a remote controller. Therefore, they must meet the same safety standards as piloted aircraft. BALPA say there should be a public consultation.
‘Killer robots’: Ex-GCHQ boss calls for drone controls
“The UK should become a ‘safe drone zone’ so we can make the most of the major business and leisure opportunities offered by remotely piloted aircraft, while protecting passengers, pilots and residents,” BALPA General Secretary Jim McAuslan speaking to the BBC: “Large unmanned aircraft, when they come, should be as safe as manned aircraft and the British public should be fully consulted before companies fly large, remotely-piloted aircraft over their homes alongside passenger planes.”
A Department for Transport spokesman told the BBC that civilian drones are strictly regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority and are treated in the same manner as equivalent manned aircraft. Julian Brtay comments: In reality this is isn't strictly true. This Christmas high street electronics stores such as Maplins expect RPAS to be a best seller with the larger models able to carry a small Payload such as a camera or package.
Meanwhile in the USA:
JULIAN BRAY 01733 345581, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Operations, Travel / Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast ISDN 01733 345020 SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe > Updates are on the Website