U.K. to require mandatory drone registration

Posted Jul 22, 2017 by Tim Sandle
Drones, both consumer and business types, in U.K. airspace will require registration. This is due to a rise in drone related incidents.
Investigators in Paris have been left puzzled by a string of sightings of drones -- like this remote...
Investigators in Paris have been left puzzled by a string of sightings of drones -- like this remote-controlled helicopter, operated using a smartphone
Patrick Kovarik, AFP/File
Because of a low number of accidents plus a higher number of recorded 'near-misses', the British government has put forward plans to introduce drone registration. As part of the registration process, a drone owner will be required to undergo a safety awareness course.
Sales of drones are rocketing. In the U.S. alone there are projected to be 7 million drones by 2020 (based on analysis by the Federal Aviation Administration). Many of these drones, Fortune predicts, will be of a higher caliber, costing over $500. The types of applications for drones include photography, racing, transport of goods, and search and rescue.
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So far most countries have urged users of drones to be more responsible for the control of their unmanned aerial vehicles. This includes using GPS tracking technology like Trackimo to keep the drones in check. However, many drones have been involved in incidents or potential incidents. In the U.K., for example, in 2016 there were 70 recorded drone near-misses involving aircraft at London's Heathrow airport. In 2017 a near-miss involving a passenger jet and more than one drone was recorded at Heathrow for the first time. At the second biggest airport, Gatwick, in July 2017 a drone flying close to the airport led to the closure of the runway and forced five flights to be diverted.
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For these reasons the U.K. government has decided that a law will be passed requiring registration of each drone which weighs more than 250 grams (8 ounces). No date has been set for the bill being laid before parliament, however Aviation Minister Lord Martin Callanan told the BBC: "Our measures prioritize protecting the public while maximizing the full potential of all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones and introducing safety awareness tests to educate users, we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public."