Have you ever heard of the Gatwick airport incident? If not that’s one of the key reasons, people are not allowed to fly drones near the airport. So take a look at some of the reasons:
- Drones may hit the engine of the plane.
- Hindrance while taking-off & landing.
- Interference with the flight path.
- Interference with radio communication tower
Therefore, flying drones near the airport could be fatal for both passengers and airport authorities. Coming back to the Gatwick airport incident. What was it? In this incident, Airport authorities reported continuous sightings of drones near the runway. Although this incident took place between 19-21 December 2018, It affected approximately 140,000 passengers and 1000 flights.
Why It’s Not Safe To Fly Drone Near Airport?
So I’m gonna tell you about Bird Strike now. In general, It refers to the situation where birds collide with the aircraft which can result in damage to engines (not always). Sometimes this leads to emergency landings, you would be surprised to know how common is this. Now coming back to the topic, If it can happen with birds similar situation can arise when drones fly near airports.
If a drone flies in the controlled airspace or on the runway chances are it will hit the plane. So to minimize any sort of damage to the airplane and passenger, drones aren’t allowed near the airports.
Some Possible Outcomes
1. Hindrance While Taking-Off & Landing
If the drone gets in the way i.e. on the runway, it can interfere with the take-off and landing of the airplane. It can hit the critical parts of the airplane like landing gear, engine, etc. Therefore, It leads to disruption to travelers & loss of revenue for airport authorities.
2. Interference With Flight Path
In a situation where the drone flies in restricted airspace, it can cause interference in the flight path. As the pilot would need to change its path in order to evade any collateral damage.
3. Interference With Radio Communication
Suppose a drone enters the airport area and for countering the drone jammers are used. In this situation, Radio Frequency used with jammers ranges from 2.4 GHz to 5.8 GHz. Therefore in an airport, it can affect several ongoing events like air traffic controllers. Hence results can be a catastrophe.
So far now, we’ve understood why drones are not allowed in the airport. But you must be wondering of events where drones caused the mishap.
Some Drone Related Mishaps
Now we’ll take a look at some of the incidents where drones affected airports, flights and, similar events. Starting with the popular Gatwick airport incident, We’ve already talked about it at the beginning of this article. So coming to the next incident. In 2017 in the Canadian province of Quebec, a light engine aircraft crashed into a drone at a height of 1476 feet or 450 meters. By gods’ grace, none of the people in flight were harmed and were left with minor injuries only. Researchers stated it could’ve more serious. Here’s the video proof of the statement:
So in the end, I’ll recommend drone pilots to look at the height limits given by the respective authorities of the countries. You can check about it here because you’re responsible for the safety of people around you.