Drones taking over the airways pose serious security risks

The DJI M210 RTK quadcopter in flight.
David McGlynn

For years, security experts have warned about the myriad threats presented by consumer-grade unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones.

Aside from UAVs being used to carry out physical attacks on crowds of innocent civilians or against targeted individuals ­– a capability demonstrated in last year’s assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro – perhaps the greatest threat posed by the drones is the potential for collisions with commercial aircraft.

But while pilots in the U.S. and elsewhere have reported drone sightings around airports for some time now, very few, if any of these incidents resulted in significant disruption of air traffic or caused damage to aircraft.

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However, all of that changed in the space of several weeks last month when what is believed to be a drone collided with an Aeromexico jetliner near the U.S.-Mexico border in early December and multiple drones spotted flying over Britain’s Gatwick Airport just before Christmas forced the delay or cancellation of numerous flights over the span of several days.

Unfortunately, these types of incidents will likely become the norm in the future as the skies become increasingly crowded with drones used by consumers and businesses alike.

In fact, according to a statement issued by the Federal Aviation Administration in early 2018, the agency, which has required drone operators to register their aircraft with the government since 2015, announced that the registry had topped one million drones. That figure included 878,000 hobbyist UAVs and 122,000 commercial, public and other drones.

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By |2019-01-18T10:32:24+00:00January 18th, 2019|News|Comments Off on Drones taking over the airways pose serious security risks

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