BALPA seeks further restrictions on drones
Whilst welcoming the new laws on operation of drones that came into force on 30 July, the British Airline Pilots Association says that the restrictions need to go much further to make the use of drones near airports safe. The new laws limit drones to a maximum altitude of 400ft and no closer than 1km to an airport boundary. But BALPA says that aircraft could easily be below 400ft at this point on approach to an airport, so there is still significant risk of unmanned aircraft and drones coming into contact.
Dr Rob Hunter, BALPA’S Head of Flight Safety, commented:
“We are pleased that the Government has recognised the dangers and is taking the recent dramatic rise in near misses seriously, but it is crucial these new law changes are right and address the problem properly if we are to avoid a potential catastrophe. The Government has committed to a consultation on the new laws to which BALPA will be contributing [and we are urging it] to consider following the example set by Australia where unmanned operations must not be flown within 3nm of an airfield. We are not anti-drone and we understand the commercial considerations in not making laws too restrictive, but safety must come first, and allowing hobbyist or commercial drones to be flown in an area where they could come into contact with a manned aircraft increases the risk of a catastrophic collision.”