The drone no-fly area around UK airports is expanding
It’s now 5 kilometers (about 3 miles) out.
Following on from the travel chaos in December when one of the UK’s busiest airports was shut down due to drone sightings, the no-fly area around airports is being extended. Currently set at 1km from the runway, the new no-fly border will be 5km, roughly 3 miles.
While shutting down an airport for over 24 hours would have created travel chaos at the best of times, the drone sightings at Gatwick Airport were during the holiday season, further complicating things. In total, over 1000 flights and 140,000 passengers were affected by whoever it was carelessly flying their drones nearby. Even with a huge manhunt at the time, police are still clueless as to who the perpetrators are. They had picked up a local couple for questioning, but both were released without charge.
DJI, the leader in the consumer drone space, has already upgraded its geofencing capabilities to several times what the existing rules called for. With the no-fly zone being extended to 5km, expect DJI to update its software in the coming weeks.
The UK is also trying to take further action, with its upcoming Drone Bill. That piece of legislation broadens the powers of the police, allowing them to stop-and-search suspected malicious drone operators. It also allows for access to the software of drones to read flight logs and other data, while also expanding the use of detection and repel drones around sensitive areas such as airports or prisons.
In addition to the changes above, it will also be required by law for UK drone operators to register and pass an online safety test, which will be put into place in November 2019.
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