Drones - A Catastrophe Waiting to Happen

​Drones are on a collision course for a major mid-air catastrophe according to senior figures in UK aviation. Figures released today show that in four recent separate incidents, UAVs were involved in near misses with craft, including a passenger jet, at UK airports.

The UK Airprox Board investigated seven incidents involving drones, four of which were classified as being in the most serious bracket.

The Guardian reports that pilots believe that a collision with an airliner could be catastrophic, and that the impact of a drone strike on a light plane or helicopter would almost certainly bring those aircraft down.

Steve Landells, a flight safety specialist at the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), is quoted in the paper: “The reports that UK Airprox gets are the ones that are seen. But when you’re flying at more than 100mph, the chances of seeing a typical, 18-inch wide drone are small. We don’t know if this is the tip of the iceberg. With the massive increase in drone sales, we fear we might see a dramatic rise in close calls.”

A major incident in the holding pattern around Heathrow at 8,000ft was particularly concerning, he said: “That means the problem is getting higher and drones are getting into more conflict.”

Since drones fly with hard, lithium ion batteries, if one hits a jet engine, it could potentially cause an “uncontained engine failure, with bits of metal flying off penetrating cabin and fuel tanks”.

The UK does not currently have a mandated registry of drone pilots or UAVs which means that many consumer drones are being flown without proper checks. The growing number of incidents could lead to regulations being tightened.

You might also like...

Ashley Xu - Crossing The Divide Between Creating For Social Media And Traditional Professional Media

Ashley Xu blew up on social media when she started making ‘thirst traps’ (adverts) in her college dorm. Check them out, you may be surprised by just how good they are. It did not take long for major brands to see…

Creating The Look & Feel For Netflix Film ‘Purple Hearts’ With Cinematographer Matt Sakatani Roe

Matt Sakatani Roe shares his experiences shooting the Netflix film ‘Purple Hearts’, staying hands on with the camera, staying close to the characters and leveraging natural light.

Creating The Look & Feel For Netflix Series ‘Mo’ With Cinematographer Timothy M Burton

Timothy Burton shares his insight into how the Netflix series ‘Mo’ tackles a potentially difficult subject with humour and style, with a look and feel that captures the heat of its location and pace of its narrative.

Creating Virtual Production Environments With Production Supervisor Don Bitters

Much of the attention enjoyed by virtual production currently goes to the spectacular stages with LED displays the size of half a dozen cinema screens. The material we put on those displays, though, can come from a number of places,…

Image Capture & Processing At IBC 22 - Pristine Quality, IP & Cloud Native, Multi-Format Workflows

While cloud services and remote production have dominated many conversations at recent trade shows, cameras and image processing remain a key part of any workflow. At the upcoming IBC Show, many companies will show new technology for capturing an image…