October 5th, 2015, 01:02 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Are drones dangerous or harmless fun? [BBC News]
Interesting article, just appeared today I believe. There's a number of videos linked in the article, but those outwith the UK may not be able to view them.
Footage posted online suggests people across the UK are frequently using drone cameras illegally - and incidents reported to police appear to be rising. So why have only three people been prosecuted? And are drones actually dangerous?
YouTube vlogger Stefan Michalak bought a drone camera so he could take breathtaking shots for his videos - but he ended up being questioned by police and threatened with prosecution.
"I was flying it in central London, I was getting crazy shots over the Thames, it was just incredible for a while," he says.
But one day he was filming outside the Natural History Museum on his birthday when security guards spotted the drone.
"I got a four-hour intense interview with the Metropolitan Police," says Mr Michalak, who makes video diaries about family life with his wife Hannah and their young son.
"I had to show them our videos to show that I wasn't a terrorist."
He said police were not sure about the law themselves, but eventually let him go.
He decided to be more careful about where he filmed in future and avoid flying near public buildings.
But eventually, he was contacted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which had seen his videos and warned him he could be prosecuted for breaching Air Navigation Order legislation.
He is now training to use the drone safely and legally.
"You finish the course and you walk away thinking 'Oh my god I was so irresponsible flying that bloody thing for so long'," he says.
"I mean I had one just fall out of the sky once. If somebody was underneath that thing that would have been fatal."
He believes someone will inevitably be killed or seriously injured as drones become more popular.
"In the industry they call it 'The Incident', and it's an incident that everybody knows is going to happen one day," he says.
"Everyone will be looking at the drone industry, saying 'why the hell weren't these regulated more?' There will be such a knee-jerk reaction to it. So people are kind of ready for this to happen."
So far, the CAA has prosecuted two people for using drones - Robert Knowles, who flew one over a nuclear submarine facility, and Mark Spencer, who flew one over Alton Towers.
But the CAA is now concentrating on educating people about drones, recently launching its "Dronecode", and will only prosecute in cases when there is a threat to other aviation.
Other cases will be dealt with by the police.
Last edited by Colin McDonald; October 5th, 2015 at 03:08 AM.