Gatwick closed by drones

Author
Discussion

JagLover

Original Poster:

24,504 posts

172 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
Two drones flying over the airfield result in Gatwick being shut down.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-46623...

El stovey

24,482 posts

200 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
Pretty bad, the busiest single runway airport in the world closed for 9 hours (so far) with a brief opening window from 0300 to 03:50.

Initially aircraft were diverting to stansted but later on aircraft were going to Cardiff and even Liverpool and Paris as airports filled up or couldn’t accept them.

What can they do though if someone is flying drone(s) over the airport. It must be very difficult to find out who’s doing it.

This video from NATS shows the disruption a brief drone incident caused last year. Imagine it going on for 9 hours.

https://youtu.be/SdfVIdsufI8

Edited by El stovey on Thursday 20th December 06:17

schmalex

12,482 posts

143 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
I’m surprised LGW doesn’t have a C-UAS capability.

ukaskew

4,538 posts

158 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
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So drones were spotted at 9pm and then again within 45 minutes of the runway reopening at 3am. That's surely well beyond some idiot hobby flying their drone? If correct that sounds like somebody intending to cause massive disruption (or worse).

schmalex said:
I’m surprised LGW doesn’t have a C-UAS capability.
Wondered how long it would be before somebody posted an un-Googleable acronym in another aviation thread, bingo!

Edited by ukaskew on Thursday 20th December 06:18

OtherBusiness

501 posts

79 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
schmalex said:
I’m surprised LGW doesn’t have a C-UAS capability.
I'm surprised they don't just shoot them down, or jam them
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GT03ROB

6,788 posts

158 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
ukaskew said:
schmalex said:
I’m surprised LGW doesn’t have a C-UAS capability.
Wondered how long it would be before somebody posted an un-Googleable acronym in another aviation thread, bingo!

Edited by ukaskew on Thursday 20th December 06:18
Well my google turned up what he was on about!!

Time to ban the sale of the things without a license.

OtherBusiness

501 posts

79 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
I would also issue a massive fine if caught using illegally/flying in restricted airspace/etc - £500,000 or thereabouts. Really wipe the moron out. Given our destroyer ships can track something as small as a tennis ball at 100miles, I am sure it it not beyond the realms of possibility to track/destroy drones. There should also be some sort of identifier system on each drone so you can ping it and get the owners details. No details, shoot it down. I wouldn't want to risk one with a bit of explosive attached landing on the wing of a parked plane and detonating.

Jonesy23

3,914 posts

73 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
I'd be surprised if there were genuinely one or more people managing to fly drones around at night around there for that many hours to get the later sighting.

Quite apart from battery life the airport isn't really very close to anything apart from fields, a few houses and some industrial bits (at least if you look within a kilometer or so) so anyone flying the things would (you'd think) be obvious to the helicopter they were flying around.

So I wonder how much is a real sighting and how much is someone getting a bit overexcited and then because of the difficultly of proving the things are 'gone' the incident continues.

Glasgowrob

2,160 posts

58 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
9 hours closure at a busy airport


How much is that Likely to cost Gatwick ?

Are there any airlines predominantly using Gatwick


To enforce that length of closure is definitely edging into the financial gain for someone somewhere territory

V8 Fettler

6,882 posts

69 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
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Ban drones.

Camelot1971

1,109 posts

103 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
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I remain sceptical that someone was flying a drone at 9pm over Gatwick - most drone software these days won't let you physically fly in restricted space and even the bigger drones are hard to spot in the day, let alone at night with all the other lights around an airport.

Why would someone want to fly at night in any event?

Even if it is true, fining and banning people won't stop the idiots flying them.

GT03ROB

6,788 posts

158 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
Glasgowrob said:
Are there any airlines predominantly using Gatwick
Sleazy have a lot of cancellations this morning. But they obviously use other airports as well.

El stovey

24,482 posts

200 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
Jonesy23 said:
I'd be surprised if there were genuinely one or more people managing to fly drones around at night around there for that many hours to get the later sighting.

Quite apart from battery life the airport isn't really very close to anything apart from fields, a few houses and some industrial bits (at least if you look within a kilometer or so) so anyone flying the things would (you'd think) be obvious to the helicopter they were flying around.

So I wonder how much is a real sighting and how much is someone getting a bit overexcited and then because of the difficultly of proving the things are 'gone' the incident continues.
There’s thousands of houses and places you could hide within drone range of Gatwick airport. If you have a couple of operators and batteries, you can easily keep drones airborne for hours.

At least 2 drones flying were around at night, difficult to see and track but keep getting reported by aircraft taxiing around and other observers throughout the night.

How long do you wait after seeing one before letting aircraft take off and land?

LHRFlightman

1,208 posts

107 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
Camelot1971 said:
I remain sceptical that someone was flying a drone at 9pm over Gatwick - most drone software these days won't let you physically fly in restricted space and even the bigger drones are hard to spot in the day, let alone at night with all the other lights around an airport.

Why would someone want to fly at night in any event?

Even if it is true, fining and banning people won't stop the idiots flying them.
So if it's not drones (it is) what is it then? As for geofencing airports, anyone with access to google and 30 minutes can bypass that.

Drones need licensing, end of. And if these morons get caught, the entire cost of these delays should fall on them.

El stovey

24,482 posts

200 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
Camelot1971 said:
I remain sceptical that someone was flying a drone at 9pm over Gatwick - most drone software these days won't let you physically fly in restricted space and even the bigger drones are hard to spot in the day, let alone at night with all the other lights around an airport.

Why would someone want to fly at night in any event?

Even if it is true, fining and banning people won't stop the idiots flying them.
There were reports from pilots taxiing around seeing them over the apron and runway plus passengers filmed them and the airport operations vehicles were driving around observing them all night.

HTP99

13,401 posts

77 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
If your plane is diverted to land at; say Manchester, is it down to you the passenger to make your own way back to Gatwick or do the airports help to get passengers back to where they should be?

CthulhuTheGreat

11 posts

54 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
These may not be being flown in the traditional sense. Even the DJI drones can be operated autonomously with some cheap software you can basically draw a route on a map, set altitudes, way points and so on and then send it on its way.

I guess it would be fairly easy to have a stash of batteries and a couple of drones and just keep sending them out, change the battery when it returns and then off again for another sortie.

These may well be drones which don't have any form of geo-fencing so will happily fly anywhere, unlike the more readily available DJI or similar drones which will typically just slowly land if you try and send it into a protected area.

I do have to say though that the wind and weather conditions overnight do make me think that these are not run-of-the-mill drones as battery endurance is severely hammered in the cold and gusty conditions overnight so that 20 minute flight time may go down to 10 or less. I've flown mine in gusting winds up to around 38Mph under controlled and safe conditions and while it flew, endurance wasn't great and it was a bit scary.

I gave up on my drones earlier on this year due to the number of tards doing stupid things with them but when I did have them I was insured and sensible, unlike a lot of users these days.

REALIST123

10,501 posts

90 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
quotequote all
Camelot1971 said:
I remain sceptical that someone was flying a drone at 9pm over Gatwick - most drone software these days won't let you physically fly in restricted space and even the bigger drones are hard to spot in the day, let alone at night with all the other lights around an airport.

Why would someone want to fly at night in any event?

Even if it is true, fining and banning people won't stop the idiots flying them.
Santa on a practice run?

DrDeAtH

3,073 posts

169 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
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Get a sniper in....

CAPP0

14,272 posts

140 months

Thursday 20th December 2018
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Bizarre. Even the top-end drones only fly for 20-25 minutes.

It would take a lot of organisation for a group of people to be ferrying drones in and out of the airport for constant battery changes & recharges all night long. Surprising that they couldn't be traced/followed. The police have drones, could they not follow them to locate the "base"?

I wonder whether some sort of climate anorak group were behind it.