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Drones can be ‘danger to the public’, say UK police after airport scare


Parrot BeBop drone

Authorities are quickly savvying up to the threat of drones, including UK police.

Hampshire Police have issued a warning after a drone flew too close to an airplane in Southampton.

The Constabulary says anyone getting “a personal drone this Christmas” should be aware of safety regulations.

The warning notes a recent incident where a drone came “to within a wings’ length of two aircraft that were landing” at Southampton International Airport.

Local police say they have received 46 reports of drone incidents since January 1 this year – that’s in Hampshire alone.

The reports included drones being found in people’s gardens, and one quadcopter that hit the roof of a house “causing damage”.

“The skill level of some recreational users is low; they have purchased their drone on the internet without guidance from suppliers or enthusiast groups, they have limited previous flying experience and unaware of the safety guidelines or regulations,” says PC Andy Sparshott, Hampshire & Thames Valley Police Drone Advisor.

“It may not be their intention to cause a danger to the public whilst flying in congested areas or aviation when flying from parks near to airports,” Sparshott continues. “This lack of knowledge and increasing number of drones purchased has resulted with increased numbers of incidents being reported to the police.”


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The Civil Aviation Authority currently regulates drone safety through the Air Navigation order 2009.

But there’s no law that mandates owners of consumer UAVs to actually read the regulations.

As such, Hampshire Police urge drone users to get a handle on where they can and can’t fly drones.

“Our message is not that drones are dangerous or that we are spoiling someone’s Christmas present enjoyment,” explains Sparshott. “But increased awareness by everyone is an essential part to preventing incidents before they happen.”


December 20, 2015, 6:21 am

Everyday users should be required to be licenced, trained to a minimum level of competence, limited to certain areas like their own garden, parks or countryside. If a business or police force they need trained and regulated to a high standard and have optimal collision avoidance built in.


December 21, 2015, 12:38 pm

Perhaps there should be a requirement to provide the regulatory requirements within the packaging of all drones sold in the UK (and other jurisdictions). That way, no one has an excuse for not reading it and will understand what they can and cant do with their drone.


December 21, 2015, 12:45 pm

..."limited to certain areas like their own garden, parks or countryside..."
UK rules already state that users must avoid flying a drone within "150 metres of a congested area and 50
metres of a person, vessel, vehicle or structure not under the control
of the pilot." In addition, "...you also need to fly the aircraft "within sight". This means you
can’t go above 400 feet in altitude or further than 500 metres

To me, those rules pretty much rule out flying a drone outside anywhere within a city, town or village, unless you happen to have a HUGE back garden!!

As soon as most people step outside their doors, they are well within 50 metres of other people and property they do not own.

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