With drones continuing to be high on many people’s Christmas lists this year, Manchester Airport is warning users of the dangers they pose to aircraft after a spate of incidents this year.
The airport has seen incidents involving drones in the airspace around Manchester Airport (MAN/EGCC) rise by 113% in 2017.
Drones can seem like harmless toys, but the airport says they can actually pose a risk and a range of issues to the aviation industry. It is also important to remember that the owners are legally responsible and could face prosecution if they breach Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations.
Manchester Airport says people should follow these simple steps to make sure they fly safely, and legally:
- Make sure you can see your drone at all times and don’t fly higher than 400 feet
- Always keep your drone away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields
- Use your common sense and fly safely; you could be prosecuted if you don’t.
- Drones fitted with cameras must not be flown:
- Within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or structures
- Over congested areas or large gatherings such as concerts and sports events
Rad Taylor, Operations Director for Manchester Airport, said: “after a series of incidents in our airspace and ahead of the Christmas period when many people will be receiving drones as a present, we wanted to remind people of the dangers they pose to aircraft. If they pass into our airspace (and permission is needed for this) they can cause issues which may result in delays for our airlines and passengers.
“It is also the user’s legal responsibility to know about the CAA regulations for flying a drone in the UK.”
The new Christmas Drone Run game from National Air Traffic Services (NATS) challenges virtual drone pilots to demonstrate they can fly their machines responsibly through a festive wintry landscape, keeping them in sight and below 400ft, as per the Drone Code, while simultaneously avoiding hazards such as Christmas trees, airports, snow-dusted buildings, and other aircraft – including Santa’s reindeer-led sleigh!
As well as the Christmas Drone Run game, NATS has a free app, Drone Assist, which provides users with an interactive map of airspace showing where it is safe to fly and where to avoid, as well as a Drone Portal that offers practical and useful tools, advice and resources for those flying drones in UK airspace. Commercial drone pilots can also take advantage of NATS training courses, which prepare participants for the CAA permissions needed to fly commercially.