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Published on Thursday, October 10, 2019

Pilots welcome Select Committee recognition of drone risk to flights






The British Airline Pilots Association has welcomed calls by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee for the Government to introduce further measures to ensure the safe integration of drones into UK airspace.

BALPA says the committee has recognised the danger posed by a collision between a drone and an aircraft and is now urging the drone industry 'to stop ignoring the issue' and take proactive steps to ensure future flight safety.

BALPA praised the committee for joining its calls for extensive collision testing, introduction of a registration scheme, standardisation and enforcement of restricted zones, the introduction of mandatory drone safety features and standards at the manufacturing stage and further penalties for irresponsible or nefarious drone use.

The report also highlights the particular vulnerability of helicopter operations, especially Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) and police search and rescue flights, to drone collisions.

Pilots say the Government should now act swiftly to stop the increasing use of drones becoming a threat to the safety of the travelling public, as well as those on the ground.

BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said: "I am pleased to see the Science and Technology Committee has understood the serious threat posed by drones and recommended measures to keep drones and manned aircraft apart.

"We support calls for further assessment of the risks they pose and have renewed our calls for further research in to drone-manned aircraft collisions to be carried out urgently.

"The drone industry needs to get on board with this and stop downplaying or ignoring the risks.

"Comments made by some drone users and the drone lobby to the Committee are very concerning and show a deep disbelief that drones could prove dangerous to manned flying. They can do.

"It is very simple. We all need to find ways to keep drones away from manned aircraft. We can either work together to make that happen, or the drone industry can continue to pretend there is no threat, no risk and no danger.

"Either way, BALPA will continue to put safety first and work with the Government to ensure UK airspace is shared safely by all."
 

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