On behalf of 5,000 members working in aviation safety, Prospect has today highlighted the risks of the increasing use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones. The union says the risks are not fully understood, but will become real when the commercial use of drones becomes widespread. The government and the CAA are urged to protect the public with comprehensive regulation of this new industry.
Prospect’s Aviation Group has published a position paper detailing members’ concerns and calling for a review of drone regulation in a number of areas:
- The integration of commercial UAVs within controlled airspace
- ‘Pilot’ training and licensing
- UAV Airworthiness and certification
The Queen’s Speech earlier this month announced a Modern Transport Bill which will encourage the economic development of the drone industry through ‘light touch’ regulation. Prospect believes this will not be adequate and puts commercial interests before public safety.
Prospect’s Aviation Group Secretary, Steve Jary, said “It is only a matter of time before a drone collides with an airliner or suffers a mechanical failure and crashes to the ground. Both scenarios have obvious potential consequences. The government and the aviation industry must act now to assess these risks and then act to minimise them.”
Coincidentally, the Civil Aviation Authority reported today on a Category A ‘airprox’ incident in March where a drone came within 100 feet of a Boeing 737 descending into Glasgow airport. The drone was at around 700 feet – almost twice the height allowed under existing rules.