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Keep your stupid drones away from piloted aircraft, rages CAA

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Launch a code of conduct with no repercussions if any wannabe TopGun (2) ignores it. There are laws to govern the size of remote controlled airplanes, surely that should be extended to cover quads.

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The same laws apply to these quadcopters, including restrictions on the size, airspace they can be flown in, altitude, distance from obstacles, etc etc. Unfortunately some cretins fly them who seem to think that these laws don't apply to them, and equally seem to be oblivious to the risks they're exposing other people to. The sad thing is they're probably the same people who'll carry on regardless when their actions provoke even more restrictive laws that ruin everything for the law-abiding majority.

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Anonymous Coward

A code of conduct is a description of actions that you should take to avoid falling afoul of the law of the land. There are existing laws under which drone users could be prosecuted for stupid behaviour - this is a way of pointing out what they can do safely and legally.

Compare with "The Highway Code" for road users

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What you say is true about "codes". But if you feel like you won't get caught, what's to stop you? Like speeding? No cops... feel free. If there's cops, mind the speed limit. Not condoning this behavior, but that's the way it is.

Law is only valid if it's a) enforceable and b) if it is actually enforced. How many times have we read or heard that something bad going on is ignored by LEA's because it's too minor, even though there's a law against it?

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This is well covered by The Air Navigation Order, I hate the phrase "Drone" when used to describe a quadcopter, these are the vermin of the skies when bought as toys and flown by muppets ! They give responsible pilots a bad reputation, as per other vermin these toys should be shot on site with a 12 bore !

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x 7
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"as per other vermin these boys should be shot on site with a 12 bore !"

there, fixed it for you

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Or, perhaps, with this?

http://www.sciencealert.com/nightmarish-video-of-gun-firing-drone-to-be-investigated-by-us-aviation-authorities

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Since this problem is only going to get worse, and will result in a mass murder incident at some point, we need a register of all drones, with sizeable penalties for not registering a drone, for example 10 years in jail for possession of an unlicensed drone. Fly them near protected airspace, massive fine and/or jail time. It's the only language certain idiots understand.

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Self-built drones and quads?

I can see that it would be straightforward to require a licence to buy a fully-built drone or quad, and to have every one of them fitted with some sort of RFID or similar (would need greater distance) identifying it and thus its owner, but you will get DIY types building their own and flying them and relishing that "The Man" can't stop them. All you can do there is have serious punishment for them if caught -- if they are caught. I could see some lumpen basement-dweller bringing down a passenger plane, threatening his Mum upstairs not to breathe a word, and quietly going about his business, undetected.

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Trollface

Open Season

...or declare open season on drones.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Trollface

Re: Open Season

Do you mean shooting at them or (not sure how high they fly) running them down on horseback?

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Yeah, let's get mega-authoritarian over something pretty minor. Ten years in jail for not registering a toy, that's reasonable, right? "It's the only language they understand" seems to fly in the face of everything we've ever learned imposing prison sentences.

It wouldn't be too hard instead, perhaps, to require any drone over a certain power level to be transponder equipped. I'd even be OK with needing to pass a test to operate anything bigger than x size, as we do for many other forms of equipment. At least then they'd be educated on how airspace regs work. People who want to muck around in their yard still can, people who want something that can do 2000ft for half an hour need a licence.

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You mean the laws we already have

The issue is that quadcopters are much easier to fly than traditional fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters, and even powerful ones are really quite cheap.

So people are buying and flying them without thinking - "Planes are big, they'll be fine" or "It's miles away from my quadcopter".

Publicising the rules and the likely consequences of entering controlled airspace is the best way to handle this.

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Consequences

"considering the likely outcome of a quadcopter's entrance into a jet engine at 700ft above ground level"

I'd actually be interested to know how a jet engine would cope with a quadcopter going into it. Don't they test engines for resistance to consuming birds etc? Obviously a quadcopter is potentially a bit more solid than a bird but not substantially so in most cases.

Sounds like a job for Mythbusters/Braniacs etc.

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Re: Consequences

A flock of seagulls ( thought I would never use that phrase) vs a largish sized QuadCopter or two.

I would easily prefer the Flock o'Gulls due to their meaty/bony disposition.. Flesh, feathers and bones would basically disintegrate... Plastic and metal would probably just bend and become lodged in amongst other parts that don't want pieces of plastic or metal lodged next to them...

Within 20ft of an aircraft should be considered as potential manslaughter.... ( 20ft sounds a bit exaggerated though as the trailing turbulence should have knocked the quad out of control.

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Re: Consequences

There's some delicate parts, in theory the engine should survive a strike and is designed and tested to, realistically you do not want the possibility of Murphy turning up and showing you what you missed on a real plane with passengers.

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Re: Consequences

The tests for aircraft engines typically involve firing a frozen chicken into the intake.

The engine WILL be destroyed. The tests are intended to check that the resulting debris doesn't make it out sideways from the engine and so penetrate the cabin. A quadcopter strike would be similar in mass to a bird strike.

A pilot will be left with a hugely unbalanced aircraft, and so an immense workload right at the point when the normal workload is highest - at take off or landing.

A bird striking other parts of the airframe has serious consequences too. Hitting anything solid at a couple of hundred miles an hour is bound to cause havoc to the lightweight materials used.

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Re: Consequences

They don't use frozen chickens.

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Re: Consequences

The results of a BASH (Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard) with commercial flights is well known. The thing is that birds are pretty much all of a certain density with known momentum but a drone might add some variables that weren't considered since the blades are already moving at high speed and the motor windings are considerably more dense than any part of a bird. It would be an interesting experiment to take a aged jet engine and feed it drone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Consequences

The tests for aircraft engines typically involve firing a frozen chicken into the intake.

Frozen chicken? That doesn't sound realistic. Where will they encounter those, at extremely high altitudes?

Curious minds (or at least I) want to know :)

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Re: Consequences

Frozen chickens is a myth, I used to work for a high-performance aerospace glass manufacturer. One day we did a bird test, the chicken was 'rescued' from a battery farm that morning, and had a very confused couple of hours of stretching her wings and freedom before having her neck wrung and being stuffed in a 'supergun' pointed towards a fighter jet cockpit cover at 600mph.

Of course this needs recording with high speed film, a 400' reel takes 1.5 seconds to spin up to speed before there's about a second or so of useable shots - but that's plenty. It means a LOT of light is needed, has to be flicker-free, so high-temperature tungsten glowing. It's shot in a white room with a missing wall (massive pressure change would blow out windows). When the bird is fired, the room turns pink, there are no shreds of feather or anything, the chicken is atomised. Those super-hot lights instantly start to cook the splatter, so suddenly you feel like Sunday lunch.

I, too, would take the bird over the drone. It may not finish the engine off, but would certainly mean everything would need to be checked, tested, take a plane out of service for an age.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Consequences

"I'd actually be interested to know how a jet engine would cope with a quadcopter going into it. Don't they test engines for resistance to consuming birds etc? Obviously a quadcopter is potentially a bit more solid than a bird but not substantially so in most cases."

US Airways Flight 1549 ended up in the Hudson river because it consumed a couple of birds... The engines are simply tested to ensure they don't explode into a shower of high velocity sharp bits, which would cut the fuselage into shreds. Birds will still total then engine. At takeoff, you need every bit of power you have, you've got your maximum fuel load, and you're trying to climb. Lose an engine and you're going down, hopefully you're lucky enough to have a nice fire-quenching river locally and a damn good pilot behind the stick.

A strike during landing isn't "quite" as bad, but at low altitude you could do without a sudden reduction in power because some idiot has flown an RC plane into your engine, and if you are forced to do a go-around, you're back to wanting all the power you can get again.

Only the other day we were hearing about fire fighters in the USA being prevented from doing helicopter water drops because there were drone sightseers buzzing about.

So I'm erring towards the "open season" solution. Airports are controlled airspace, you're not supposed to be there, end of! You shouldn't need to see written rules to realise flying a drone near "real" planes isn't a bright idea... So as they never manage to track the owner for punishment, maybe a blanket rule that you're allowed to bring down any drone trespassing into controlled airspace....

... and I'll go fetch the 12 bore.

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Re: Consequences

This is what ingesting a crow at the wrong moment does to a jet engine:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1jZvlFmqQU

The longer version of the video is an object lesson on how to deal with serious doo-doo happening to the plane you're driving IMHO:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KhZwsYtNDE

I agree with other commentards, a drone would make more of a mess.

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Re: Consequences

They use an explosive charge on one of the turbine blades. 10 million quid up in smoke

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnnxqQj_dDs

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Re: Consequences

>>The longer version of the video is an object lesson on how to deal with serious doo-doo happening to the plane you're driving IMHO:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KhZwsYtNDE<<

Oh my, that's such a good example of why ATC and pilots have to speak with calm authority - communication so clear and complete with no wasted words or information, all calm, no hysteria, clear thinking, still friendly, really showing the best of professionals being the best of professionals.

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Re: Consequences

"Airports are controlled airspace, you're not supposed to be there, end of!"

Try flying a kite anywhere near an airport .You'll have a few very tetchy people descending on you in no time flat.

Drones are harder to spot and track, but there are penalties already on the books for violating controlled airspace.

WRT: "Recklessly endangering an aircraft" - this one should be used against those oiks who think it's fun to lase planes. It'd be even better if this was extended to enable similar penalties when they lase train drivers and passing cars.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Consequences

> really showing the best of professionals being the best of professionals.

Nothing to do with being "the best" (or even "professionals" for that matter, aside from getting paid to sit there). It is just that we practise the scenario so many times that in the end it sort of becomes a "normal" situation. The risk perception is certainly much different than what the untrained eye sees, but to me the merit is not on flight crew or ATC, but on those anonymous people who years ago thought up the idea of pre-rehearsed procedures and constant training. They made look good even the most useless amongst us (I rank pretty highly on that score).

Disclaimer: I flew commercially for a few years until that felt a bit much like work. I never had a serious emergency for real, or if I did, I never realised.

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Re: Consequences

You are confusing a bird strike test with a blade off test.

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Re: Consequences

I think you underplay your hand AC. It is professional, and the fact that it is second nature rehearsed is what makes it so. Professional armies don't just run around with rifles on day 1, they get acclimatised through practice and repetition. Likewise surgeons. You could say they just stand there and play with red goo, which is also true, but after much repetition and based on learning from others and previous results.

You may feel like you're 'just sitting there', but you aren't doing so recklessly (almost all of the time), and much like a paramedic you deal with the problem of the moment measuredly and without panic or flapping. No matter if you crap yourself later, not doing so whilst in a problem is professionalism.

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Ru'

Perhaps the drones also scare away birds, making a bird-strike less likely...

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Anonymous Coward

Not in my experience - in fact, it's the other way around. The birds see it flying and think "what's this odd looking bird? I'll go and have a closer look"

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"I'll go and have a closer look"

If they're magpies then the call is "Attaaaaaaaaack!"

We gave up flying lightweight stuff in the back paddock because of this.

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Drone users must understand..

Do you see what you did there?

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Have they still not.....

...banned them yet? Not long now if this brainless f*ckwitted behaviour keeps up. And then the world will be a nicer place again, but the brainless f*ckwits will have to find some other useless gadget to splurge their cash on instead. Sigh.

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Re: Have they still not.....

Yeah, just ban everything that is abused by a small minority,.regardless of the fact that the primary purpose of these things is to obtain some great photography and viewpoints otherwise not available.

Just ban them, ban cars, ban motorbikes, ban alcohol, ban chainsaws, ban football crowds, ban dogs ban everything.

Just ban it. Ban ban ban. Make more laws, remove privilege. Oppress the masses, keep 'em down under the heel.

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Re: Have they still not.....

So those of us who use one of these gizmos for checking guttering and stuff in hard to get to places should lose out because some assholes think it is funny to fly by a real plane?

Fine - ban drones. I'll agree to that...on the proviso that you agree to my demand - ban cars. More people have died due to intentional acts of harm committed by drivers than any from drones. Then when you count the injuries and deaths due to inattentive morons and substance abuses it is extremely clear that the only purpose of a car is to slaughter people. Right?

Or maybe you can accept that a headline generated by a dumbass or two absolutely does not represent the majority.

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Re: Have they still not.....

Reading that made me think of trainspotting.

I chose not to choose drones, I chose something else.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have they still not.....

> I chose not to choose drones, I chose something else.

Who needs drones when you've got heroin, anyway.

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Trollface

Re: Have they still not.....

>Ban ban ban

Sounds like the state of Victoria...

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If flying drones near aircraft is really dangerous ...

... surely additional legislation is inappropriate, given that (a) existing legislation would appear to suffice and (b) there are, as we are constantly reminded, a non-zero number of people who would endanger aircraft on purpose.

Can't those people charged with ensuring our safety come up with some electronic counter measures and some electronics / software to trace operators?

I'm pretty sure there's going to be a market in anti-drone devices, as an anti-paparazzi measure for wealthy celebs, if nothing else. Wonder what you'd need for safe capture? Anyone fancy going into business?

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Stop

defense system

its a problem that's relatively easy to solve. Install some UAV denial systems around sensitive installations (airports, nuclear reactors etc)and be done with it. Sure the systems are expensive, but they'll be far cheaper than the consequences and costs of a crashed passenger jet..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: defense system

Or this guy who seems to be well prepared http://redneckrepairs.com/how-da-ya-make-it-full-auto/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: defense system

There is still a cost which everybody else has to pay because of the existence of idiots.

Perhaps we should be awarding a prize for someone who finds a way to detect the operators, and for designing an extremely small and light surface to air missile that could be deployed against the drones. Rather than lumps of steel, perhaps the shrapnel could be small plastic shot that would be effective at a few metres but otherwise harmless.

Failing that, of course, fricking great lasers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: defense system

Perhaps we should be awarding a prize for someone who finds a way to detect the operators, and for designing an extremely small and light surface to air missile that could be deployed against the drones

Alternatively, award a prize to someone who could design a small missile to take out the control signal and the associated operator. Darwin would take care of the rest, and it avoids year long legal battles to bore people with and enrich lawyers. I like to be efficient about these things.

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Devil

Re: defense system

I'm sure you could adapt one of these for the purpose :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: defense system

"Alternatively, award a prize to someone who could design a small missile to take out the control signal and the associated operator."

A micro version of the HARM missile. I always liked that one. "Oh look, there's something on the radar. Now it's moved right to the centre of the screen and it's staying there. Bang."

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THE solution

Grow SmartPeople.

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Re: THE solution

Sadly, that's already been proven to be unpossible.

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Joke

Re: THE solution

> Grow SmartPeople.

Sadly the stats show that for each SmartPeople you grow you get an average of 99 DumbPeople as a by product and since these can't be discarded some of them might end up owning a drone.

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Re: THE solution

Sad but true - almost half the population are of below average intelligence.

Thus shall it always be.

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