Gatwick's chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe is about to star on BBC's Panorama, where he'll make the claim that the drone chaos that struck the airport late last year was almost certainly an inside job.This matches up with what local police have previously said, with Woodroofe saying that whoever disrupted the airport "...seemed to be able to see what was happening on the runway," adding that "...it was clear that the drone operators had a link into what was going on."They also chose a model of drone that wasn't on the tracking databases of the airport's DJI Aeroscope off-the-shelf drone detection system, which is either a big coincidence or shows someone had at least a technical "in" into the airport's methods of operation and the hardware being used.He's also sure there actually was a drone and it's not all a case of mass paranoia, as he said the reports came from "...members of my team, people I have worked with for a decade, people who have worked for thirty years on the airfield, who fully understand the implications of reporting a drone sighting."A Panorama special, The Gatwick Drone Attack, including these words and 28 other minutes of investigative content, goes out on BBC One tonight.
Police say the drone attack that disrupted flights at Gatwick Airport for 33 hours last December may have been carried out by an insider at the airport.Sussex Police said the possibility that an insider was involved was “credible”, while Gatwick’s chief operating officer said the attacker appeared to have knowledge of airport procedures.“It was clear that the drone operators had a link into what was going on at the airport,” said Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick’s chief operating officer, who oversaw the facility’s response to the incident.He said the attacker could apparently see what was happening on the runway, or was eavesdropping on the airport’s radio or internet communications.The drone used was “specifically selected” as one that could not be seen by the DJI Aeroscope drone-detection equipment Gatwick was testing at the time, Woodroofe told the BBC’s Panorama programme, in his first report since the incident.Sussex Police said it expects its inquiry to take “some months” to complete.
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Flights have resumed at London’s Gatwick Airport after a full day of cancellations yesterday due to a mysterious drone that was spotted repeatedly in the area.The military was even called out to search for the drone operator, but they still have no idea who’s behind this deliberate disruption of a major transportation hub.It’s still unclear what kind of drone or drones may be the problem, though the local police have announced that the “devices used are of an industrial specification.” No clear pictures of the drone have been released.It’s an international issue,” Gatwick’s chief executive Chris Woodroofe said today after flights resumed, according to the Guardian.The decision that it was safe to resume flying was taken after police, Army and RAF specialists lined up an armory of counter measures.They included a hi-tech tracking system of the kind used in the struggle to liberate Mosul in northern Iraq, deployed in tandem with “drone killer” equipment that can disable them.
One of the UK's busiest airports had to suspend or divert all flights after drones were seen over its airfield.The disruption at Gatwick Airport, which is 30 miles south of London and Britain's second busiest, started around 9 p.m. local time Wednesday after a pair of drones were spotted, according to the BBC.The runway remained closed until 3 a.m., but was shut down again 45 minutes later after "a further sighting of drones."It was still closed as of Thusday morning and police are hunting for the drones' operator, Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick's chief operating officer, told the BBC."There are no indications to suggest this is terror related," Sussex Police tweeted on Thursday, before seeking the public's help to identify the operator.It's illegal to fly a drone within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of an airport or airfield boundary, and you can't fly it above 120 meters (400 feet) because it increases the likelihood of an aircraft hitting it.
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Christmas tradition of travel chaos continuesNo flights have left London's Gatwick Airport since just before 21:00 UTC last night after drones were apparently spotted over the airspace.Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick's chief operating officer, told the BBC's Today programme on Radio 4 this morning that 20 police units from two forces were hunting down the drone operator as "that is the way to disable the drone".Reg reporter Richard Speed, literally our man on the ground, is one of the 2,000 people whose flights have been unable to take off."Flight crew and cabin crew are also milling about.'We know as much as you do – no one is telling us anything'."
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Today marks the start of new regulations for the technology with more to come at the beginning of next yearNew drone laws are been enforced across the UK today which carry height and boundary restrictions, with a £2,500 penalty for breaches.The new laws were introduced last May by the Department of Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority, but came into force today.Under the new rules drone operators must fly below an altitude of 400ft and are not allowed within a 1 km zone of airports’ demarcated boundaries.Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg commented in the announcement of the legislation that: “We are seeing fast growth in the numbers of drones being used, both commercially and for fun.”“Whilst we want this industry to innovate and grow, we need to protect planes, helicopters and their passengers from the increasing numbers of drones in our skies.
The UK has announced new stop-gap laws for drone operators restricting how high they can fly their craft — 400ft — and prohibiting the devices from being flown within 1km of an airport boundary.The measures will come into effect on July 30.The government says the new rules are intended to enhance safety, including the safety of passengers of aircraft — given a year-on-year increase in reports of drone incidents involving aircraft.It says there were 93 such incidents reported in the country last year, up from 71 the year before.And while the UK’s existing Drone Code (which was issued in 2016) already warns operators to restrict drone flights to 400ft — and to stay “well away” from airports and aircraft — those measures are now being baked into law, via an amendment to the 2016 Air Navigation Order (ahead of a full drone bill which was promised for Spring but still hasn’t materialized yet).UK drone users who flout the new height and airport boundary restrictions face being charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft — which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both.
400ft height limit will not apply to first-person-view fliers, says aviation regulatorNew drone laws will be brought forward by the British government today in Parliament – but we won't see the long-awaited Drones Bill.In addition, the existing 400ft legal maximum height for drone flights will be applied to drones weighing between 250g and 7kg (at the moment that only applies to craft weighing more than 7kg) and a 1km exclusion zone will be applied around all airport boundaries, defined as EASA certified aerodromes, licensed aerodromes and government aerodromes.This suggests that unlicensed but active aerodromes such as Popham airfield in Hampshire, as well as farmyard "field strips" used for microlights and other light aircraft, will not be subject to the 1km exclusion zone rule.Failing to register with the CAA or pass the online tests before flying will become a criminal offence carrying a £1,000 fine.A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman confirmed that these new laws will not repeal the existing 1,000ft height limit for consumer drones fitted with first-person-view tech, telling The Register: "Certainly for the time being, FPV flying will not change," and emphasising that FPV flyers must follow the existing guidelines in the exemption.
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