London Gatwick Airport Closes Runway In Alleged Drone Strike

London is one of those cities with an identity problem when it comes to airports. There is no one London airport, instead a group of airports serve the city at various distances from it. London Gatwick is the second largest of these, and sits with its single runway in the Sussex countryside about 30 miles south of the city.

If you follow British news sources, you may have heard a little about Gatwick in the last couple of days. Its runway was closed for two short periods and a selection of flights were diverted, because of what is being reported as a drone sighting. This is an extremely serious matter, responsible multirotor owners will be painfully aware of the distance and altitude regulations surrounding flights near airports.

An oft-shared drone identification guide for airline pilots, of uncertain provenance.
An oft-shared drone identification guide for airline pilots, of uncertain provenance (phantompilots.com).

If you are familiar with the way that drone stories are reported by the mass media, you will probably not need to click on the link above to the BBC reporting to find out its tone. There is significant concern within the multirotor community that it presents a very one-sided view, and takes at face value the assertion that the sighting was a drone, when in fact there is no proof at all of that being the case. For those of us who have seen many such stories come and go it is difficult not to agree with the drone pilots, there is at best some lazy reporting in the air, and at worst some outright journalistic irresponsibility.

As Hackaday readers, you are used to writers with an in-depth knowledge of the subjects upon which they write. We don’t know all possible facets of technology and we occasionally get things wrong, but we all have very strong backgrounds in the tech, hacker, and maker industries and communities we write about. We have engineering education, we’ve worked in a wide variety of technology industries, we build our own stuff for fun, and we’ve founded and run hackspaces.

By comparison the journalists whose work you will read in the mainstream media are generalists. They will have a specific educational background and a particular set of interests, but in their work they cover whatever stories tumble off the endless conveyor belt of events. Thus when a drone story appears, they find themselves out of their normal comfort zone of politics or local news, and can not rely on their experience to inform their coverage of it. The responsible journalistic approach is to do a little research and ask the pertinent questions asking for concrete proof of drone involvement. We’re still waiting for that to happen in these allege drone encounters.

Multirotor building and flying is a significant feature of our community, and anything that brings the attention of law enforcement to the kind of work we do should be a worry to us all. Multirotors are not the only things covered by Hackaday that could be misrepresented in the same way. We’ve visited this topic before, take a look at our analysis of a series of air proximity reports blamed on drones. Some of them, you couldn’t make up.

Gatwick airport image: Andre Wadman [GFDL 1.2].

119 thoughts on “London Gatwick Airport Closes Runway In Alleged Drone Strike

  1. Here we go again. I expect that those hobbyists in the UK who want to fly their model aircraft will be seeing yet another round of ridiculous legislation aimed at keeping them grounded and keeping politicians popular.

    1. Any idiot is able to go buy a drone and fly it at the end of a runway. The problem in recent years is that some of these idiots actually DO.

      This post and the linked post commenting on a few examples where the object probably wasn’t a multirotor, and using them to paint the entire problem isn’t fair. It’s just like how it isn’t fair to use a few valid examples where it WAS a multirotor, and using them to paint the behaviour of all members in the entire “multirotor community” (whatever that is).

      To me the bottom line is that enough idiots are doing this, and few enough are being effectively caught and punished, that legislation is necessary.

      1. Here are a few examples of scenarios where there is no question the item was a multirotor/drone. I’m not saying these three examples are justification for (further) legislation, I’m just saying there are stupid people out there.

        http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/17/asia/china-drone-passenger-plane-near-miss/
        http://abc7news.com/news/chp-helicopter-nearly-collides-with-drone-over-martinez/1112519/
        http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-drone-pilot-lapd-conviction-20151118-story.html

        1. Here is a few scenarios where there is no question the item was drone……
          Here is a few scenarios where there is no question the item was Donald trump……

          Guess what else idiots are doing….should we ban them?

      2. ” It’s just like how it isn’t fair to use a few valid examples where it WAS a multirotor”
        The point is there is NO scenarios evidenced where a drone caused a crash which is why there are no links!

      3. More legislation is almost never necessary. Laws already on the books are almost always sufficient, if enforced.

        “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt.”
        – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

    2. Over here in germany we almost had our hobby killed by populistic political decisions. It took the german model pilots association intervening and getting into long discussions with our minister of transport to produce a set of regulations that will ensure airspace safety but allow people to pursue their hobby in a responsible way. One of the things they managed to avoid was a 100m height limit for all and any model aircraft, which would have been a hard blow to the face of large scale model pilots.

      1. And yet all that is nonsense.
        Sufficient rules for model pilots have always been in place. If every model pilot followed those, there’d be no problem at all with alleged drone incidents.

        The problem is people that don’t know/ignore the rules (and in case of airports lack common sense), who won’t even notice the change of rules.

        So it changes nothing, other than pissing off those of us that do fly by the rules.

        1. Ah, some rules are alright. For instance getting an RC pilot license (proof of knowledge of the rules, basically) or having a fire resistant tag with pilots name and address on the model if it is over a certain weight. Which as a result means, that if anyone sees you flying, they can ask you about that and/or call the cops on you.

        2. An ancient problem: start with some simple rules that work perfectly well, except for a few scofflaws and idiots. Then craft more detailed rules as a guard around the first. Then more rules as guard around those when there continue to be scofflaws and idiots breaking the rules. … Soon you get a mess of law upon law that no human can follow properly.

    3. Keeping politicians popular? Wellll, OK…

      “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

      “All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.”

      “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”

      Samuel L. Clemens, more popularly known as Mark Twain; 1835-1910

    4. I would tend to believe the Gatwick incident was a drone.

      The guy two houses down from me got a ticket for using his quad… I’d warned him it wasn’t legal as we’re just a block off the side of the regional airport main runway. They got him after just a couple days! The report is available online and states he was flying above 500 feet and issued a citation for it. He also had been doing electric planes here too, but it was the quad he got caught with. Good thing too… it’s completely common to see light aircraft at 500-700′ come right over us climbing out after takeoff. Dumb as a rock this guy… advising him just got me swore at… and we’re within easy walking distance of the control tower!

      Let me correct my first statement. I COMPLETELY believe it was a drone!

    1. Wow, that might just be the very worst possible solution short of removing the airport entirely.
      You do understand that commercial aircraft rely on a large number of RF based systems in order to communicate and land safely, right? Do you really think that keeping out the occasional non-existent toy copter is a lot more important than the life safety of every person on every flight in and out of the airport?

      1. i completely agree with you but I’d like to add that it would be probably enough to jam 2.4 and 5.8 Ghz for the video transmission. (No, I don’t think that’s what should or could be done, but I guess it’s better than to “block” RF as a whole)

          1. Still, it’s not an impossible proposition. What makes it particularly easy is that most communication systems used on aircraft are in licensed or specifically allocated bands for airports or aircraft; consumer equipment cannot use any of these bands, so all of the ones RC aircraft use are either RC bands or ISM bands. There’s a few in the 10s of MHz (72MHz and a few more IIRC), 315/434 (depending on country), 900, 1.2, 2.4, 5.8, and some higher ones that I don’t think any consumer-grade equipment can practically use. But that’s pretty much it, until you go to non-FCC compliant stuff.

            Personally, I’d think a lidar (or other camera-based) tracking system with a directed RF jamming countermeasures would be the most interesting way to keep drones away from places they shouldn’t be. It might seem a bit aggressive, but I mean, if the idiots flying their off-the-shelf drones into airports simply can’t do it, people wouldn’t be pushing for some of the more aggressive measures to stop this one problem that would take away more rights from the rule-abiding RC pilots.

        1. Also, not all “drones” have cameras.

          If I were looking to down a jet be crashing a quadcopter into an engine, I’d grab a cheap plastic one from Wal-mart.

      1. Why not?
        UFO stands for “Unidentified Flying Object”, which is exactly what it is until verified through material evidence.
        Crashes ‘drone’ parts don’t usually fall very far…
        The tinfoil hatters like me use the term “uncorrelated targets” for ‘saucers’. Why? Because that’s what the US government uses when the can’t figure out what it is!
        Usually spy satellites. Probably…

        Joking aside, I believe space aliens exist. No, I don’t think they’re anywhere near our solar system.

        1. “uncorrelated targets” falls right in the american stereotype though. “If we can’t identify it, we better call it a target and try to shoot at it. If we can, we’ll shoot at it anyways.”

        2. ‘that’s what the US government uses when the can’t figure out what it is’

          They also use the term ‘unanticipated air-ground interface’ instead of the word ‘crash’.

          So…..

  2. The only drones that could even start to dream of damaging an airplane are the big ones like used by the army and by medium to large sized commercial companies.

          1. The pilot then flies the plane using known pitch and power techniques, using the artificial horizon which will be uneffected, whilst they figure out what to do next.

            The alternative is that they panic, pull the stick back into a stall and not let go, not relinquish control when asked and plummet 30,000 feet, killing everyone on board.

          2. A small drone by itself may or may not be able to cause real damage to a airplane but add an explosive package to the mix and your in trouble.

          3. Incidentally, ever seen a hailstone? Or are you in some desert area.
            Anyway, guess what? Planes still fly as we speak.

            How about birds? Ever seen those? How about rain? How about snow? How about micrometeorites? How about them yankees?

      1. That’s the nice thing about high bypass jet engines. The odds of any of the drone parts getting into the actual engine are pretty small. Yea, it will still screw up the fan section, but it won’t bring the plane down in flames. I’d be more worried about a windshield or radome strike.

        1. So, how many birds need to go into an engine before it fails? One, two… ten?
          I’m think of that plane that ended up in the Hudson river. Total loss of engine power, due to bird strike.

          1. He hit a flock of geese. A FLOCK of geese. That’s more than one, probably a dozen, most likely larger than 5 pound birds! You’re comparing apples to watermelons.

          1. Well, I’ve worked on 707 series aircraft for over 11 years, so sure I’d do it. Any commercial multi-engine aircraft is rated to fly with an engine down. Unless you’re flying a flock of drones, I wouldn’t be worried.

      2. luckily jet engines are tested to fail safely under those conditions, all commercial jet liners can also land with one engine out, we arent talking a controlled crash landing either but a full on proper landing.

        1. And therefore we should encourage things likely to blow up jet engines near airports? I’m sure any pilot would be delighted to have an engine suddenly “fail safely” right in the middle of a landing at one of the busiest airports in the world.

  3. Yes, there is always an alarmist side to the media reporting of any new technology, BUT these things do have the potential to be very harmful and not everybody is a ‘responsible multirotor operative’. With drones, just like laser pointers, it is very difficult (impossible??) to catch the culprits and unfortunately there are always a certain number of people who will take advantage of that.

    1. In this case the alarmist wrote the HaD headline – how does “we think we saw a drone and avoided it / warned people” turn into “RUNWAY CLOSED DUE TO DRONE STRIKE”? Where was the strike?

  4. In defense of the generalists, they’re just repeating what they’re being told by officials.
    That said this could have been any number of non rc craft or more mundane things like mylar balloons.
    They need to take it seriously given the recent attacks but it’s easy to bring up the hooligans and unethical stringers chasing footage they can sell.

  5. I’d like to weigh in with a little bit of additional perspective. I am a drone owner (not too regular drone flyer unfortunately) as well as a private pilot. I fly small airplanes that, in a landing circuit, have a speed of around 90-100 knots, about 30% lower than the commercial flights often referenced in drone stories. I love to hack and break things, and I’m excited about what drones and related technology can do. I apologise in advance for the longish read.

    First:
    – It is very well possible to spot a drone at that speed and at landing altitude. I know this for a fact, due to some of the flying I do near drone-flying fields, and I’ve spotted them multiple times. It can be kind of cool and also kind of scary. This is at similar speeds and distances. The same goes for model airplanes, that were popular in the same area before drones became more hype.

    – Drones do not have sufficient automated protection against ‘airspace infringements’. This is due to a number of things: drones are (often) not precise enough to measure their altitude correctly, are not aware of airspace updates, or updated with NOTAMs (automated messages signalling fly- and no-fly restrictions). These things are changing, but often interpreted as useless changes and restrictions.

    – Not all drone flyers behave well, some bypass the technology for things like height restrictions, and not all drone flyers are aware of their location or need of certification and flight prep.

    As many here are aware, there are drone flying licenses that train people to know what they are doing, and teach rules that are similar to what pilots have had to stick to for years already. These are not ‘useless rules’, this is asking drone operators who own devices that are rapidly growing in terms of capabilities and speed, to stick to the rules of the airspace they fly in – which they share with others. If I hit my drone against something, I lose the drone. If I hit my airplane against something, I potentially lose my life as well as the lives of my passengers. This sounds dramatic, but it’s not meant to be :)

    The unfortunate situation is that the few people who do not fly safely and break those rules, cause tangible dangerous situations for others in that same airspace. That makes people worry, and results in sometimes (or often?) wrong assessments of what they saw – and reporting plastic bags as drones. The danger is exciting, which makes the press report clickbait-y headlines about another ‘dangerous drone situation’. This is bad news for safe drone operators and pilots alike.

    Fact is, unsafe drone flying happens. A lot. I have encountered a drone too close for comfort while flying (and didn’t hit it by changing my course), i’ve seen unsafe situations from the ground, and I’ve seen people brag about dangerous behaviour in flying communities I’m part of. All of that sucks. I’ve reported my drone experience, but this results in nothing, as it’s impossible to track and educate – by whatever means – the drone operator. The person doing this could have simply gone to a NOTAM-ed area that is meant for this, sticking to altitude restrictions, and would not have had the scare of a close encounter with an airplane.

    The solution to this all is simply to promote safe drone flying, informing people about the ‘rules of the air’, and promoting a ‘safety first’ mantra that has existed in the flying world for quite some time. I don’t feel articles that focus on one side of the discussion – like this one – contribute to that. They turn things into two sides: ‘drones are safe and the media sucks’ and ‘drones are ultra dangerous’. Please consider taking a role in that, and talk about how things can be safely done, how to get certified, and what things not to do. This protects both the drone flying and the airplane flying hobbies. I’m happy to help if needed, but I’m sure there’s others here too who know a lot about these things ;)

    1. Although not very dangerous, my brother wanted to fly a cheap mini quad in a slight breeze outside. He couldn’t get past the idea of full throttle is a bad idea and I warned him about the slight breeze could whisk away his toy to never be seen again.

      I promised him a demonstration flight outside. I waited until the few people present had left to be safe. I then got the thing a little above 30ft when I lost control and had to control-ditch the thing as safely as I could. The quad nearly landed in a large communal pond but just made it into the bushes beforehand… such a small device could have been a dangerous nightmare quite quickly.

      It shows just how easily something can go worng.
      None the less, my brother hasn’t touched his quad since.

      p.s. I consider myself entry-level amatuer as I think I’ve only had about 20-ish hours flying my mini quad for practice, probably a little more. My quad has a gyro but isn’t one of those one-button flight things (think like hardware versions of one button DJs and one button hackers)

    2. “The solution to this all is simply to promote safe drone flying, informing people about the ‘rules of the air’, and promoting a ‘safety first’ mantra that has existed in the flying world for quite some time.”

      Exactly this.
      I’ve been flying quadcopters and RC planes for a while now and most people around me know that. So whenever some friend of a friend decides to get a drone, someone eventually will end up asking me about it. Mostly what i would recommend for a beginner. Most of the times i end up recommending a horizon blade inductrix for people to get into the hobby and learn to handle a drone in the safety of their own four walls before buying anything bigger. And of course i tell them about our legislation and about getting a proper insurance when they do get something big enough to cause damage or harm to others. Because even the best pilots will end up crashing eventually.

    1. You’re failing to see the point here. Or the points.

      Point 1: See exhibit 2 titled “An oft-shared drone identification guide for airline pilots, of uncertain provenance”
      Point 2: Journalists are not capable of researching things, most of the time. They need to push stories. And more often than not they are not capable of thinking and using terms like “alleged”, “reportedly” or “claim”
      Point 3: There is a difference between drone hobbyists and idiots with drones. The latter ones are those who might actually be stupid enough to launch one of those “press button A to fly” drones next to an airport.

    2. As ever, the majority tone here is that all pilots have impaired perception and will report even a paper bag as a drone.
      They contend that such poor specimens of the human race therefore should not be allowed to be in charge of anything let alone a complex aircraft.

      I don’t know if visits by members of the public to Air Traffic centres is allowed but I can tell you it’s an education in the seriousness and immense cost of an airspace violation.
      As a pilot such violations at the margin can cause you to be grounded and undergo mandatory retraining and at worst permanent revocation of your license, a heavy fine and even a spell in jail.

      Trying to denigrate such pilot reports puts these comments on a scale of slightly higher than the guys who shine lasers into pilots eyes deeming it fun.

    3. You are soooo right! And forget just sightings. How about those birds that actually strike planes. exterminate them all world wide. We can’t take the chance of penguins learning to fly and striking planes. Forget about the feelz of bird watchers and children everywhere.

    4. I am surprised how short sighted and shallow a number of people on here are about drones.
      The ramifications of unchecked laws stretches further than drones.
      Perhaps us “drone hobbyists” should be saying “I don’t care about the feelz of those paranoid internet uses who want privacy when it comes to the potential loss of life from crime”

      Stop being so stupid!

  6. BBC really needs to sharpen up. Drone Miss at 12500ft?! A quick google suggests the drone record is only 11500.

    But regardless of what they’ve seen, sightings of something are up. It can all just be birds mid-identified as drones, or bird sightings would have dropped.

      1. > “I might have possibly seen _something_ a few thousand feet below me”

        Fat chance you’ll see any quad rotor from a few thousand feet away. Even model airplanes with a 1.5m (5ft) wingspan are basically specs in the distance at more than 350m (1100ft).

      1. Yes, for some it would be more a case of check your attitude, but with a system like that there is zero excuse so prosecutions are so much easier. There is nothing better than few spectacular public executions to keep the serfs under control…

  7. Here in Portugal the number of sightings reported by the press have been increasing exponentially. Last month 6 different cases where reported by pilots, including one where reportedly a drone followed at the side of a KLM Boeing at 1200m of altitude. AFAIK the landing speed of commercial airplanes is around 300km/h, so a drone at 1200m reaching 300km/h. Yeah, right…
    But no one is questioning the reporting, instead everyone is claiming even more drone restrictions including mandatory registration even tough there are currently laws restricting flying in some cases and a flight ceiling of 120m, with fines going up to 250k€ (not a typo, a quarter million €).

  8. Quads aren’t really drones, but drones really capture the attention of the reader. They don’t often show pictures of the military drones, nor much of anything to give reference to their size, few details on how they work. Leaves a lot to the imagination, which is good fiction writing. The reality, is never as amazing, as the images we create in our minds, to fill in the gaps in the facts. Calling a quad a drone, conjures up images of a military killing machine, and any near-miss story, is a quick adrenaline rush, a near disaster. I can’t imagine what would happen to my Q500, if it flew any where near a commercial plane, doubt it would survive long. Birds use to be a huge problem for planes, not so much anymore. Guess they figured out ways to keep them from getting sucked into the jet engines, or splattering on the windows. Drones just replaced UFO, as the new demons in the sky. Think the best we can do, is try to fly responsibly, and hope something new comes along, that makes for better headlines.

  9. ” that it presents a very one-sided view, and takes at face value the assertion that the sighting was a drone, when in fact there is no proof at all of that being the case”…. Well, what proof do you want? A plane crashing with 90 people inside is good enough?.

    Regardless of journalist’s knowledge, ANYTHING flying close to airports is dangerous… And considering drone are hype right now it is easy to connect the dots here. So please just stop defending the ‘community’ and start measuring REAL WORLD consequences

    1. Proof comes in many forms. The pilot could snap a picture of the “drone” with his phone. He could ask the passengers to look out their windows and verify that he’s not imagining things. The authorities could find evidence of someone being nearby in a place that would normally be off limits (for example, tire tracks, doritos bags, etc). No one suggested that a crashed plane with 90 casualties is the only thing that could constitute evidence except for you. Then again, you’re clearly blowing things out of proportion because you don’t have any real support for your opinion, but are convinced that it’s correct. So perhaps you could tell us what type of evidence you would consider to be sufficient short of crashing planes and killing people.

      I can imagine that a kite flying next to an airport wouldn’t really be dangerous. Funny thing that you mention hype. I don’t think it means what you think it means. I think you want to say popular. Hype generally means excitement with no evidence of substance. Hype would basically be the opposite of what you appear to be arguing. That aside, you’re saying we should stop defending the community and start measuring real world consequences, but up to this point, the only real world consequences have been the restriction and/or outlawing of the community. Nothing happened to the airplane. Those 90 people you mentioned earlier weren’t real. They were hypothetical. So lets stop defending politicians and regulators who operate in a cloud of ignorance and start considering the real world consequences that are affecting people who want to enjoy some small part of this shitty life without endangering the lives of others by flying their model airplanes responsibly and without being marked as outlaws.

    1. I agree. I came to this thinking terrorists had used a drone to blow up a runway or something and they were going to explain the apparent tech used in the drone. A lot of assumptions, I know, but this is hackaday, and drone strikes insinuate damage caused by a drone. It didn’t seem likely I would be far off. Talk about clickbait! What we get instead are a bunch of bootlickers defending the asinine expansion of an already bloated legal system by writing new laws and regulations to restrict the activities of people who have done no harm. Hurt them before they can hurt us, right? Fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here? Using the GW Bush Doctrine to fight hobbyists. What a world we live in.

  10. Journalist’s jobs are to sell papers (views, clicks, etc.), NOT to be accurate or truthful. Catering to the fears and lusts of the populace are just what they do.

    1. “I make my living off the evening news
      Just give me something-something I can use
      People love it when you lose,
      They love dirty laundry

      Well, I coulda been an actor, but I wound up here
      I just have to look good, I don’t have to be clear
      Come and whisper in my ear
      Give us dirty laundry

      Kick ’em when they’re up
      Kick ’em when they’re down
      Kick ’em when they’re up
      Kick ’em when they’re down
      Kick ’em when they’re up
      Kick ’em when they’re down
      Kick ’em when they’re up
      Kick ’em all around”

      1. Tonight at 10
        The world is ending again
        And we know why and when
        So you better watch
        We got a bit with some feminist chick
        And also a picture of a starlet’s crotch!
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        And we tackle the flaws
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        In this segment that’s sponsored
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        We’ve got violence, danger, sex, and drugs
        And it’s awesome cause all of it’s real!
        We do the illusion of news and while you think you’re choosing the views
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        All of this and more and live
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  11. I have a solution that can already be enforced under current laws and policing powers:

    Presume ALL idiots who fly their devices blatently within a reasonably close radius* at an airport runway as a suspected terror attack and shoot them on sight! (and on-site).
    That’ll solve the issue.

    *within 2x length of the largest runway or so and if the suspect is within a 3rd length, then, “Put down the controls, or we’ll shoot, you have from the count of 15 to comply”.
    outside the danger zones… normal (current) rules apply

    1. The law in the UK already bans RC aircraft within **5 miles** of an active airport, which is frankly *far* too conservative.

      There’s really no need for any new legislation on this, at all – unless it’s to loosen the existing regulations such that people don’t have to break the law to fly a RC aircraft at all.

  12. I drafted a long response to this article and some of the comments, but I’ve decided to trim it to:

    I’m not happy with the slant on the article. Identification chart jokes aside, commercial airline pilots take passenger safety (and their own reputations) very seriously. They might mis-identify a nearby object, but they don’t jump to “drone” as the default option.

    1. At those speeds they see just a blur of an object. Used to be they would just say “Bird!”. Now they say “Drone!”

      It is inevitable that there will be a “drone incident” just as certain as there have been “bird incidents”. Just ask Skully.

  13. The only way to fight a drone is with a drone. One of you hackers needs to come up with a drone the the airport could deploy once a drone was spotted. It would lock on to the unknown drone and track it back to its source reporting the location to the authorities. I’m surprised the military hadn’t developed this kind of drone already.

  14. It’s a shame, but it is an unfortunate facet of human nature: when remote-control flying required a considerable investment of time, energy, will, money, and technical expertise into the hobby, this was enough to ensure the maturity and common sense of the participants. When remote-control flying became “Here’s this thing which will fly and you don’t even have to think, or do ANY work; just pay me money”, it got taken over by just that–“hobbyists” whose attitude includes instant gratification and the inalienable right and NEED to PLAY with the latest technology.
    Sorry to appear to tar you with the same brush, serious-drone-and-quad-enthusiasts, but you are in the very small minority; the majority of your ‘comrades’ are either millennials or retarded-development, advanced-age millennials, neither of which group has an iota of responsibility about them. Worse yet, they know they’re irresponsible, and don’t care.

    All it’s going to take for “Shoot Drone and Quad Operators On Sight” legislation to be enacted is for ONE drone or quad taking down an airplane. Any airplane.

    It’s inevitable. The mathematics of large numbers, ‘statistics’, dictates that.

    1. Except that toy drones can’t actually take down aircraft.
      Well.. MAYBE some RC plane?

      Meanwhile I think you find that you cannot get on any highway worldwide and drive 5 miles without your life being at risk by some dimwit or aggressive asshole – with giant bits of steel going at a brisk pace.

        1. A drone has very little mass, it has to rely on a battery you see and those are just not capable of delivering the wattage to keep a heavy thing in the air for long, so they make them as light as possible.
          The hobbyist commercial ones at least, the armed forces have the more capable ones, but even they often use the light cheap ones in the field.
          Not that a cheap drone can’t harm you, but it prefers soft flesh over heavy duty airplanes for such activities.

  15. SIGH… man the contorted webs Hackaday contributors weave in between useful content. Sorry Jenny in regards to the corporate media IMO Hackaday looks like that pot calling the kettle black. In response to someone alleging that a “drone” was sighted, the response is alleging a drone wasn’t sighted. The hobbyist community should move away from the term drone, which has become a negative, what term to use I wouldn’t know.

  16. A drone landed/crashed in my garden a few days ago. My terrier dog was naturally quite interested and got very/too close. The dumb-ass who was “flying” it kept repeatedly throttling-up in an attempt to take off again. All the rotors were intact and spinning but it could not become airborne.

    So, I grabbed a long handled hoe (couldn’t find a pitchfork) and flipped the thing over on its back and turned it off by the visible switch underneath. I assumed the owner would come looking for it soon enough. When he did, via a neighbour’s garden, with his daughter, it was apparent that he was an eastern-European who spoke no English and just stood laughing whilst the girl asked across the fence for her toy back.

    Make of this story what you will. I don’t think that drones should be banned or that all EU citizens should be “sent home”. But I do think that some drone “pilots” are stupid, irresponsible, arseholes.

    1. Sorry, not really. I’m not sure what you mean. I was being slightly sarcastic in that I don’t think it was the girl’s toy at all. It seemed likely the adult male (father?) was using the child to deflect blame or conflict. I stand by my assertion that the behaviour was stupid & irresponsible.

      1. “…the behaviour was stupid & irresponsible…”

        I totally agree with you, and I meant that your (timely) encounter lends credence to my post, above; the one starting with, “It’s a shame…”.

        Your characterization of this unfortunate situation as “stupid and irresponsible”, does, unfortunately, characterize the problem, generally, created by allowing people with no sense of responsibility easy–and almost free–access to this technology, with what they know is no responsibility for their stupidity…oops…”lack of expertise”.

        (Got to be careful, and be absolutely politically correct, to forestall any accusations by the bleeding hearts of ‘xenophobia’, ‘islamophobia’, ‘francophobia’, ‘homophobia’, ‘misogynistic’, or whatever else they choose to manufacture to deflect attention from real issue: the fact that these devices are dangerous in the wrong hands, and that ‘the wrong hands’ are, obviously, those of millennial–and post-millennial–room-temperature-IQ mouth-breathing airheads with NO sense of responsibility.)

        Thank you for helping to crystallize the thinking on this important problem.

        1. Well… dAAAHHahhhh! A ‘puter was put inside them so no pilot skill is needed, they fly themselves and just go where the joystick is pointing. What you figger was gonna happen once the need for “skill, education, and talent” were removed from list of required operator capabilities?

  17. Gatwick has 2 runways, only one is in use at a time due to their closeness.

    In doubt? Check out the picture posted in the article which clearly shows 2 runways! They use the 2nd runway when they’re working on the first.

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