PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
22nd December 2018

Commercial Certified Drone Pilots Fear Knee-Jerk Reaction to Illegal Drone Activity at Gatwick

Drone Safe Register (DSR), who represent around 500 professional, commercially approved CAA certified drone pilots, are expressing concern that due to public pressure authorities and legislators will rush to make legal recommendations for the use of drones that will not be fit for purpose.

Baroness Randerson has already today launched ill-informed political rhetoric on increasing further legislation in particular widening the airport perimeters from 1km to 5km, despite knowing that this would have made zero difference in the situation at Gatwick this week.

In the commercial sector there is already a large body of regulation that governs the deployment of drones for commercial purposes and it works well. In fact, the regulations are in many ways too restrictive. Organisations such as BALPA have already seized upon the bad drone news story to request further restriction on ALL drone use around airports, when clearly this would have made no difference to the events at Gatwick this week.

There have never been any problems or incidents reported by commercially approved drone pilots such as those represented by DSR, due to their comprehensive training, qualification, maintenance procedures and natural risk averse nature. Any future action taken to minimise or eradicate the misery caused by airport closures as seen at Gatwick this week, needs to be taken in consultation with the commercial sector and exclude them from further restrictive procedures or legislation.

DSR offers all media outlets, police and government departments, BALPA as well as Baroness Randerson an open invitation to come out on a commercial drone operation to see the process we follow and the risk assessments we make to ensure safe operations. We would like to demonstrate to you that commercial drones are locked and cannot fly near airports, they will automatically land or not take off. Come out with us and understand the commercial industry and learn how safe it is.

Commercial operators, and DSR members, such as Steve Fisher, a commercial drone pilot who lives and works a few miles from Gatwick Airport, has flown drones for commercial purposes adjacent to the airport multiple times without incident or complaint. Steve tells us.

Every time I need to work near the airport around the commercial district of Manor Royal, I have to unlock my aircraft formally by providing the appropriate documentation from the Airport themselves, NATS, police and the drone manufacturer. I then complete substantial risk assessments and flight plans, before the work is completed. There has never been any issue and those involved with granting the permissions have always been helpful, efficient and compliant.”

From the information released so far, the events at Gatwick Airport this week have little to do with the Commercial Drone industry, which PwC has forecast will contribute in excess of £40bn to the UK economy by 2030. They have more to do with the agenda of an organised and planned criminal group, whose political weapon of choice is expected to be a homemade drone or drones.

Chris Grayling has confirmed that “It’s fine to have systems that work for those people using drones responsibly or even irresponsibly, it is much more difficult to legislate against wanton criminal behaviour of this kind”.

Therefore, Drone Safe Register request that cool heads prevail in the face of an unprecedented event and that the steps taken to prevent this happening again in the future include all stakeholders, in particularly those operating in the safely regulated commercial sector.

Drone Safe Register boast an extensive membership of drone professionals with the expertise and technology understanding to assist airports such as Gatwick when counter measures are reviewed moving forward. We are ready to help and assist.

Drone Safe Register as an organisation has obtained substantial investment following their appearance on the BBC programme Dragons Den by serial investor Peter Jones.