Drone sighting at Gatwick halts flights



So the couple who they arrested have been released without charge. The hunt for the Phantom Menace continues…


I could but they are classified.

This part of the Wiki article gives the basics. It is actually a simple concept. Climb, cruise and descent is standard GPS autopilot stuff. Take off and landing are handled a bit more precisely–it’s like the Autoland feature on modern airlines. An operating airfield is essentially “registered” with very accurate GPS coordinates–i.e. “the runway is exactly at these Lat/Long/Elevation points.” and the UAV just flies to those points. If you think about it, we do the same thing with JDAMs…except they explode on landing. :slightly_smiling_face:



Sorry, couldn’t resist :grin:


This is why a lot of RC flyers in the USA resisted the FAA’s registration mechanism. They were concerned that witch hunts would start and the first step would be to track down every registered user and haul them off to jail, in a guilty until proven innocent scheme. Unfortunately, as this proves, their concerns weren’t unwarranted.


So you’re saying…

“These aren’t the drones you are looking for…”


Unfortunate business that. Was happy to help though, even if we did end up with a few irritated aircraft for our troubles.

Got to watch one or two recover at Anderson AFB. Fascinating stuff, despite the annoyance of having the airfield essentially shut down for 15-20 minutes while it was recovered.


I don’t think it’s fair to call a police investigation into intentional and prolonged illegal activity that affected hundreds of thousands of people and cost millions of pounds of losses a witch hunt. Unless you are Donald Trump of course. :wink:

If anything I think this affair has strengthened the position of those calling for tighter controls. However, (aside from some sensationalism in the immediate aftermath) most of the coverage I have seen has focussed on the lack of preparedness by the security staff at Gatwick, the military’s inability to counter the threat, and the lack of foresight from government in not ensuring plans were in place, rather than on calls for registration of users.


Investigation? Sure. Outright arrest with insufficient proof? Crossing the line.


Drones just aren’t that prevalent or dangerous, IMO. In fact, other than the ones that I fly or intentionally go to a known place of flying, I’ve seen like 2 in the last 5 years. And I live in a city of 6 + million people which has the largest DJI dealer in the US. I see real estate adds and countless comercials, TV shows, and movies shot with them, but never see them. We have a huge movie and TV industry in Atlanta, but I never see them. When I fly mine at the beach, I never see another one.

Anyway, the chances of an encounter according to the supremely researched article that @Troll linked are thus, “the probability of any collision with any UAS is around 3.06x10−5 per 100,000 flight hours”. That’s 10 to the negative 5th. That’s all that I’m going to say on the subject. Will continue to follow the thread.


Remember the UK has vastly different civil liberties (or lack thereof) than the states. I imagine the detention of those two was completely legal, due to the vast differences in their legal system.


That’s a good point. I’ve only ever seen two drones other than mine. The first was probably hired by the small city I live in to take video of the 4th of July celebration that was going on downtown. I could see it flying around the periphery of the event. The second was over the YMCA soccer field a few months ago filming kids playing soccer. The operator was on the soccer field grounds…not sure if it was a parent or a YMCA person. He kept his drone high and out of the way, and was not a hazard at all…


So now the latest is there’s a possibility that there weren’t any drones at all? What the heck?


Well, people have called in fake bomb threats… Maybe calling in fake drone sightings is the new thing…?


It doesn’t help that there was a related report where what was claimed to be drones turned out to be crane lights:


«There’s like thousands of drones following that road, down there… No, wait…!»




Drones are the new Kalashnikov…


Every plane on a six mile final at night will look like a closer drone now. This should be fun.



Yeah…but even birds can do a ton of damage too. If you Google “wing bird strike” images the damage they can do is fairly impressive. Thankfully, all of my bird strikes have been small ones. leaving dents in the leading edges of the wings, and one through an engine.