Drones have been in the spotlight this year. While these headlines contained good, they also had a lot of the bad. The Gatwick Airport incident for example shed some light on the madness a single drone can create. One single drone spotted flying near the airport caused a shutdown of incoming and ongoing flights. The fact that it was a rush period, being the holidays, made this 24-hour shutdown a lot worse. Passengers failed to meet their target schedules, with a close to over 100,000 people affected by one event. Locally and globally, routes had to change last minute, frustrating passengers even more.
All this for a drone flying somewhere it should not be.
Significance of Gatwick
The Gatwick incident was not the first drone incident at an airport. It was part of a growing trend that started a few years ago. Yes, with drones becoming more and more available, anyone can purchase one. What they do with their own drones however, may differ from intended. For one, a recreational drone should only serve as an eye in the sky. Magnificent photographs from a vantage point only a drone can give. Flying over 400 feet however, where it has a chance of colliding with a passenger plane, is not appropriate.
If one thinks about it even for a second, there is absolutely no good reason to fly in that high of a level. The only thing it can do is to put passing planes on a risk. Mistakes can happen, however, in the rising cases of airport threats these may be deliberate.
Aftermath of Gatwick
Due to the chaos involving Gatwick, airports all over the world – especially in Europe – tightened their stance on drones. From the one-kilometer airport ban, several nations have already adopted the higher five-kilometer drone-free zones. Active defenses, such as drone jammers, are also starting to be a norm in these important places. Drone registrations for owners also increase accountability on the part of the drone user. Because of these, heavier fines also prove to be a deterrent for any misuse of drones.