Drone ban over London and Windsor during Obama visit


Drones have been banned from large parts of London and surrounding areas during Barack Obama's visit.

The US President and his wife Michelle arrive on Thursday night, just days after an unmanned aircraft is believed to have collided with a British Airways flight landing at Heathrow.

Detectives launched an investigation after the pilot of flight BA727 reported his aircraft being hit by a drone on Sunday afternoon with 132 passengers and five crew on board.

Flying restrictions will be in place at various locations until the Obamas depart on Sunday morning.

Drone operators are normally allowed to fly at least 150 metres (492 feet) over built-up areas such as towns and cities, while approved commercial users can fly as low as 50 metres (164 feet).

But guidelines have been issued by the UK's national air traffic service (Nats) and regulator the Civil Aviation Authority, stating that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin decided flights must be restricted "as part of the overarching security plan" for the presidential visit.

Drones will be banned from flying between 9pm on Thursday and 10.30am on Sunday over a large part of London, from Purley in the south to Haringey in the north.

Restrictions are in place for the skies between Windsor and London on Friday - when the Obamas will join the Queen for lunch at Windsor Castle the day after her 90th birthday celebrations - and between Stansted airport and London on Thursday night and Sunday morning.

The regulations prohibit aircraft - including drones - from flying below 762 metres (2,500 feet) within the specified areas unless they are using Heathrow, Stansted or London City airports, London Heliport, RAF Northolt or are being operated by the emergency services.

Pilots of other aircraft wanting to fly in the restricted areas must seek permission from the Metropolitan Police.

Similar rules have been put in place for previous significant events such as high-profile visits and major sporting fixtures.