New year; same drone idiot problems

There are times when you have to feel sorry for serious drone users out there who just want to use the welcome technology of drones for the greater good.

Professionals who are trying hard to convince aviation regulators that drones are safe to use and their integration into the lower skies will move society forward in a good way.

You even have researchers from organisations like Drone Industry Insights plotting the progress made by drone technology over the years, and how it will impact on drone laws and regulations going forward.

But then…

You get these kind of drone hobbyists who find entertainment in disrupting people’s days by flying drones dangerously close to aeroplanes, and in full stadiums during a Premier League match watched by millions all over the world.

As if the world does not have enough problems

They struck again at Dublin Airport in Ireland yesterday. And not for the first time too. Flights had to be diverted for the third time in four days at Dublin Airport after sightings of a drone on the airfield.

“Flight operations at Dublin Airport were once again suspended this evening (Monday) for safety reasons after a drone was spotted on the airfield,” airport authorities said in a tweet.

“Following a suspension of around 40 minutes, flight operations restarted around 19.45.

“The reckless and irresponsible behaviour of those causing ongoing drone disruptions at Dublin Airport is unacceptable. “Those found responsible will face prosecution. While safety and security remain our top priorities such disruptions cause huge inconvenience to our passengers.

“Again, we would remind the public that it is illegal to fly drones within 5km of the airport.”

According to Irish broadcaster RTÉ, four flights were diverted to Belfast, one to Shannon and one to Manchester as a result. On Friday, a number of Ryanair flights were diverted to Shannon Airport, while on Saturday, three routes, from Manchester, Bucharest and Amsterdam, were diverted to Belfast International Airport.

Only two days before on Saturday, the airport had to issue a statement after a drone was sighted on the airport grounds.

“Flight operations at Dublin Airport were suspended for safety reasons this afternoon (Saturday) following two confirmed drone sightings on the airfield,” the statement said.

“Operations have now resumed.

“It is illegal to fly drones within 5km of the airport. The safety and security of airport users is DAA’s key priority at all times and staff at Garda Síochana remain vigilant in relation to drone activity in the vicinity of the airport.”

Meanwhile, you may find this hard to believe, but the English premiership fell prey once again to a drone prank, when referee Michael Salisbury ordered players off the pitch during a league match between Southampton and Aston Villa at St Mary’s Stadium.

The suspect on the controls of this particular drone – which looked like a DJI Mavic 2 – was brazen enough to fly his drone so low and too close to Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez’s goal for comfort. It was the world cup winning goalie who alerted the referee to the drone, which flew around other parts of the stadium after spooking the Villa goalie.

“What’s he pointing at,” asked one commentator of Salisbury. “The players are coming off! Some idiot has ruined the afternoon for 33,000 people!”

In accordance with Premier League safety rules, play had to be halted and players asked to return to the dressing rooms for their own safety.

They returned after five minutes and the match resumed and ended without further incident.

This would be a good time to remind readers that this is not the first time a drone has disturbed a live match in the English premiership; exactly a year ago, play had to be stopped for nearly 20 minutes, after a drone was sighted hovering above the Brentford Community Stadium during a league match between the home side Brentford and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

It is high time something was done about this.

Before the one percent of unscrupulous drone owners ruin the whole industry for the rest.


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