Drone fliers 'should be jailed' say Brits

Survey shows that over half of us think only properly-trained people should operate drones

Updated: 
Drone rules

More than half of us think someone flying a drone that endangers an aircraft should be jailed, according to a survey.

And around two out of five believe that only properly trained people should be allowed to operate drones over urban areas. WORDS: PA.

The survey of 2,036 adults, compiled for pilots' organisation Balpa, was presented at a drone safety summit involving pilots, police and operators of remotely-piloted aircraft systems (RPAS).

The survey showed:

- 52 per cent think that the most appropriate level of punishment for someone flying a drone that endangers an aircraft, but does not cause the aircraft to crash, is a prison sentence;

- 24 per cent think that a fine is the most appropriate level of punishment;

- 40 per cent reckon that only someone with a licence requiring the same amount of training as for piloted aircraft should be able to fly drones over urban areas;

- 31 per cent say no one should be able to fly drones over urban areas.

Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: "Drone technology is taking off and we want to make sure the country can benefit from the business and leisure opportunities that it could offer without putting flight safety at risk.

"Pilots and the public want the UK to be a 'safe drone zone' and these polling results show that the public backs stricter laws on training for drone pilots and punishment for endangering aircraft.

"The UK can lead the way on safely introducing small drones and set the standard for the passenger aircraft of the future.

"Pilots are also calling for the British public to be informed, involved and consulted before companies fly large, remotely-piloted aircraft over their homes and alongside their passenger planes."

Last July a drone came close to an Airbus A320 plane flying at 700ft as it approached Heathrow airport.

Two months before, the pilot of an ATR 72 aircraft reported seeing a helicopter drone only 80ft away as he approached Southend airport at a height of 1,500ft.

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