Night image of plane in airport

Personal Drone Closes a Major UK Airport Runway

altitude Industry News, News, Safety

There was once a time when drones were reserved for the military and the affluent, but now, drones are affordable and highly accessible to Australian citizens, and they’re increasingly being used for both leisure and commercial purposes. However, while drones are perhaps one of the most fun recent inventions, they’re not without their drawbacks, and they can be a nuisance.

On the 2nd of July 2017, one drone was responsible for the closure of one of the world’s busiest runways at Gatwick Airport in Sussex, UK. The runway was closed by airport officials for nine minutes following the first sighting, and just when everything seemed ok, another sighting resulted in the second closure of five minutes.

In the UK, drone pilots can face up to five years imprisonment for flying too close to an airfield because of the perceived danger, and Australia has safety rules and laws of its own for the same reason. In most cases, you don’t have permission to fly a drone for commercial purposes without holding the relevant license, but if you want the job doing well, you’re better off hiring professionals anyway.

At Altitude Imaging, we use the very best equipment and latest drones to capture images and footage of the world from above, whether you need thermal imaging, drone filming services, surveys and mapping or environmental monitoring. We’re approved by the UASi, accredited by the AAUS, a member of the ACUO, and licensed by the CASA. More importantly, we’ve earned a reputation for excellence over the years thanks to our commitment to guaranteeing satisfaction.

Naturally, we have a vested interest in the drone industry, and while our professionals are the best in the business for all your commercial needs, we want you to know how to remain safe and legal when flying for leisure. First, let’s take a closer look at what happened at Gatwick and why drones can cause such delays when operated too close to airfields.

Are Drone Pilots Flying Too Close to the Sun?

It’s not always clear why certain people insist on flying drones in the vicinity of airfields, but investigators assume it’s because pilots want to capture footage of aeroplanes as they depart and arrive. However, while such an image would likely inspire awe, flying a drone too close to a plane to get one isn’t a smart idea.

Gatwick Airport, for example, was forced to divert planes from its runway two times thanks to a drone pilot breaking the law and flying near its airspace, and although the total length of the two closures was no more than 15 minutes, the knock-on effects resulted in multiple flights being delayed for hours.
EasyJet, a UK-based airline, was the worst company affected, with one flight arriving from Milan being delayed by three hours after being diverted to Bournemouth. Plus, numerous flights had to hold their place in the sky until the commotion was over, and some planes had to divert to other airports due to fuel concerns.

The extent to which drones are a threat to planes is not entirely understood due to the lack of research, but given the fact that a bird can cause problems, pilots are naturally worried about a solid metal aircraft colliding with their planes. Plus, some officials in the UK claim that terrorists could use drones.

Australia, just like the UK, has laws related to the use of drones, whether flown for fun or commercial purposes. However, if you need aerial pictures for business reasons, you’ll likely need a license. Alternatively, you could hire the highly trained, experienced and licensed professionals at Altitude Imagining to capture images that guarantee to bring results.

The Law on Drones: What You Need to Know

The good news is that the Australian rules and regulations surrounding drones used for leisure aren’t too strict, and as imaging experts that use the latest UAV technology, we highly recommend flying a drone for fun. However, to remain in line with the law and keep everybody safe, you need to be aware of the following rules:

• You can only fly in your visual line of sight, which means not relying on binoculars to keep your eye on the drone.
• You shouldn’t fly at night.
• Avoid flying through fog and clouds.
• Don’t fly within a 30-metre radius of other people.
• You can’t fly higher than 120 metres in controlled airspace, which apply to most Australian cities.
• You can’t fly over busy public areas, such as beaches, sports ovals and parks.
• You must remain at least 5.5km away from helicopter landing sites, aerodromes and airfields.

You can learn more about the laws surrounding drones here, but if you need to break any of the rules detailed above to capture your required images, you need to obtain permission first or get the relevant license. Alternatively, you can skip that and avoid familiarising yourself with the law by hiring our professionals instead.

Contact the Experts at Altitude Imaging

We believe that just about anybody can take good images using a drone, but only trained professionals can capture great ones. If you want real estate pictures or to map an area accurately, you need experienced individuals who can not only pilot a drone proficiently but also take fantastic pictures that will yield tangible results for your business.

We’re certified and audited by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, meaning you can place your trust in us to operate our equipment to the highest standards, and all our technologically advanced UAV drone systems feature gyro stabilised camera gimbals to capture perfect images every time.
Most importantly, you can feel confident in the high quality of our drone photography services because we guarantee to reshoot anything you’re not happy with for free, and that’s a promise that will remain valid for as long as we’re in operation.

If you need to take some pictures from the sky but don’t hold the required licensed to operate a drone for commercial purposes, we’re the company to call. Contact us today to speak to a friendly professional about aerial photography using UAV technology.