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(RPAS/SUAS)I can fly and get paid!! (C-UAS)Drone Incidents 2021

Welcome back I hope you all had a good Christmas and welcomed in the New Year in style. So back into the fray, the weather has changed for the worst in the north with winter truly upon us!! Like before winter holiday aim is for 1 blog a week maybe 1 every 2, if there a specific matter you want me to cover feel free to message and I'll add it to the blog. All the best for the year ahead.

 

Any and all information I post will be obtained through open source materials, and any views or opinions expressed will be my own.

 


I can fly and get paid!!

New rules the CAA are taking which fall in line roughly with EASA allow for a lot more to be done on less qualifications, with smaller drones. So like I've previously discussed the new class systems properly comes into effect December this year, and we are currently in the transitional period at present. Before these new rules there was only one way to get your PfCO (now OA) and it required a lot of work and actual flight assessments. With this new system in place however you now have 2 watered down qualifications. A2 CoC which allows drones under 2Kg to be flown commercially (currently) after December and with the correct class drone under 4Kg. And GVC which allows you to fly up to 25Kg Drones of an OA for commercial purposes. The drama is with these new qualifications and COVID they got watered down and people where able to do the minimum to pass. Don't get me wrong some of these new pilots are going to be good but with everything you'll have those cowboys!!

So Can you fly a drone and get paid without the qualifications, the answer is a resounding NO, plain and simple. This however doesn't stop people, they will fly for profit, without insurance, and outside the rules, without qualifications and continue to undercut professional pilots. Unfortunaly until these people are reported and held accountable for flying to put it bluntly illegally not much we can do but sit back and hope they don't ruin it for all drone pilots.

 

Any and all information I post will be obtained through open source materials, and any views or opinions expressed will be my own.

 


Quick view of Drone incidents through the 2021

I'm not going to cover all the Incidents otherwise we will be here all day, an example of numbers is between 1st January 21 - 30th June 21 police Scotland received 1264 calls relating to drones/UAVs. Admittedly some of these will be professional operators requesting police incident numbers to fly in restricted areas, and some will be frequent callers enough said on that matter!!

So we will look at the bigger events the ones that made the headlines within Scotland and could have potentially led to catastrophic event.


Air Ambulance Edinburgh Apr

Unlike most other air user Air Ambulances on occasion fly lower and in areas that aren't restricted so as an Drone pilot we all need to be more aware of these aircraft. On this occasion though the aircraft was on route back to its home location at a height of 1500ft so well outside the max 400ft max drone height when both paramedics in the aircraft reported seeing a quad style drone. So in this case the drone was being flown well outside restrictions set by the CAA and more than likely outside VLOS otherwise the Drone pilot would have ensured he was no where near the manned aircraft. The so what of the recklessness of the drone pilot is that potentially he could have downed the aircraft best case with no injuries worst case brought the aircraft down within a built up area causing mass casualties.


Seals Forvie Nature Reserve Jun

How does flying over seals lead to a potentially catastrophic event? Its more of an environment catastrophe rather than a mass casualty event. With the advent of drones it gives people a way to get close and see things you wouldn't see normally. In this case however the recklessness of the pilot could have led to seal pups dying, pregnant seals losing their pups and potentially if people were close they could have been attacked or charged at by the seals.


Glasgow Night-time Incident Jul

This incident was outside of Glasgow airports FRZ, the plane was on approach when a drone flew within 100ft of it and at night. Professional pilots know that flying at night provides a whole different way of doing things, and each pilot will have there own rules or way of doing things. To fly further than needed and higher at night means the drone pilot didn't have a clue were they were in relation to the drone. You could argue they were outside the FRZ of Glasgow but regardless the aircraft was well above the 400ft limit and so was the drone. The aircraft being on approach is when something catastrophic could potentially happen if it collided with the drone. If the individual had struck the aircraft worst case scenario the aircraft would have come down and possibly in a built up area.


DHC-8 Aircraft Aberdeen Sep

You very rarely here of incidents in the far north of Scotland, but they do happen and are usually under reported!! Most of the Highlands are set up for military low fly zones, and hobbyist drone pilots not knowing this could potentially have a devastating effect. Back to Aberdeen though, Aircraft on approach 2300ft and a drone passes in front, same as the incident above but day time. Reckless drone pilot flying well to high, in this case it was a plane but if you know Aberdeen its a hub for helicopters the potential for an incident to occur increases.


Queensferry Crossing Nov

I covered this in a previous post, but to summarize Drone pilot flying within traffic on the Queensferry Bridge and struck a van.


5 Separate events, and like I said above a real quick look at the incidents. As you can see from the overviews in all cases the pilot of the drone was flying outside the rules set by the CAA in most cases to high and in all case with reckless disregard for other air users. In all the above cases the drone pilots could have faced as a minimum a fine with the possibility of a prison sentence. With drones becoming cheaper and more assessable the threat of drones around manned aircraft increases, and with new rules for drone pilots there is more of an emphasis on the drone pilot to fly safer without the need for proper qualifications. There are a lot more incidents out there if you dig in depth on the web. All the above are easy to find on Google and you can draw your own conclusions if you desire.

 

Any and all information I post will be obtained through open source materials, and any views or opinions expressed will be my own.

 

Next time

RPAS/SUAS - Drone Insurance do I need it?

C-UAS - General overview of CUAS defeat methods

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