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Drones threatening commercial a/c?

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Drones threatening commercial a/c?

Old 23rd Dec 2018, 16:40
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"Sussex Police say there is a 'possibility there was never a drone' despite finding damaged one near runway"


Almost as funny as the 'plastic bag drone' that bothered Heathrow a while ago!
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 16:41
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Originally Posted by Joe_K
The reporting was that the Crawley couple were "detained on suspicion of disrupting services of civil aviation aerodrome to endanger or likely to endanger safety of operations or persons". Not sure what piece of legislation this is pulled from.
Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990, S1(2)(b)
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 16:58
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So, the possibility there was never a drone? as in never a possibility in the claim of one appearing whenever it was supposedly last seen? or for the whole period LGW was on lock-down? that cannot be the case surely....that reporting must be a mistake or confusion of some kind?.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 17:02
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This is the UK in late 2018 - anything can happen................ one thing for sure - if they DO arrest anyone else DCSI Jason Wigly will be the FIRST person the defence call...................

lack of photo coverage from the police (who normally leak like a sieve) maybe indicates that it's going to be an interesting investigation
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 18:00
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I can think of one question Sussex police should be asked:
In the early stages of this saga, the police said that when the drone appeared and a police helicopter was put up, the drone would vanish. They seemed pretty confident at that time that a drone existed and was visiting Gatwick. And now not so confident? Hmm.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 18:45
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Originally Posted by keeprighton1974
"Sussex Police say there is a 'possibility there was never a drone' despite finding damaged one near runway"


Almost as funny as the 'plastic bag drone' that bothered Heathrow a while ago!
They actually say
He said there was "always a possibility" the reported sightings of drones were mistaken, ​​​​However, he said officers were working on a range of information from members of the public, police officers and staff working at Gatwick who had reported seeing a drone.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 19:55
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Originally Posted by DespairingTraveller
Thanks. Hefty tariff: "A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life." Has there ever been a conviction under this?
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 21:03
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Given the enormous pressure to find the culprit( assuming it wasn’t all false sightings and hysteria) then it seems perfectly reasonable for the police to question someone if there’s suspicion it could be them. It doesn’t have to be the police who leaked their names either- any neighbour, acquaintance etc can gossip on social media and the press pick that up in no time - it’s an awful consequence of the speed of communication and the lack of any self control in some people posting whatever they hear/see/think without actually knowing facts. In the past it was just gossip over the garden fence or down the pub- now it’s instantly spread to millions.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 22:27
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Devil No Drones at all??

According to both the BBC News Channel and the BBC News Webpage, there are no actual photos or videos of a drone over Gatwick Airport!!

a) This would make the determination of the type of drone exceedingly difficult.

b) It does raise the possibility that this is some kind of heightened sensitivity causing repeat mis-reporting.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 23:49
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Question No Drones at all??

The Guardian is also reporting:

​​​​​​Confusion deepened as a senior police officer in the case said it was “always a possibility that there may not have been any genuine drone activity in the first place”. DCS Jason Tingley added that although the damaged drone was a significant line of inquiry, wet weather could have washed away evidence. He also noted that there were no pictures or video of the drone incursions into the airspace around Gatwick despite 67 sightings. He said there was “no available footage and [officers] are relying on witness accounts”.
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 07:10
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I would suggest that the information supplied by crews and ATC would be on the whole reliable, being somewhat skilled at identifying what is around them and possessing documented levels of eyesight.

Last edited by currawong; 24th Dec 2018 at 14:18.
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 09:07
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Not necessarily - it's winter there - dark early (15:30 Zulu was lights on), and it's been a foul week for weather around LGW - I was there (or nearby) at the time - low cloud, showers, very poor light levels all day . There are birds, blowing trash bags, leaves in the air. It's very very hard to judge distances

Hard enough to spot a drone in a clear blue sky - and once one person says "is that a drone?" then you've got everyone pre-programmed to "see" one

I suspect that someone MAY have been flying drones around the area - one of the local guys told me there are a couple of oil well sites they've been protesting about a few kms away from LGW and the protesters use drones to spy on the oil works - but they may have been well outside the airfield boundary.
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 09:22
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Originally Posted by Asturias56
Hard enough to spot a drone in a clear blue sky - and once one person says "is that a drone?" then you've got everyone pre-programmed to "see" one..
That was indeed mentioned here as a theory here earlier today....

We don’t know (yet) if any of the reported observations were made by ATC and pilots.
There don’t appear to be any reports of confirmed sightings made by those equipped with binoculars/telescopes/image enhancement equipment.
There have been instances in the past of a flawed/mistaken observation of something being seen in the sky being published in a manner that has led to a cascade of “ copy cat” observations from other eyewitnesses.

I’d suggest until the authorities come up with something more concrete it is as valid a theory as to the chain of events at LGW as any other.

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Old 24th Dec 2018, 10:33
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FPV UK offer services of Aerial SWAT team
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 10:44
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
In many countries , there is the presumption of innocence and confidentiality of the investigation . Is that not the case in the UK ?
It it is the case then the person from either the police or the justice department that released the names and addresses to the journalists should face strong disciplinary action .
I fell very sorry for this couple, remember all too well when a similar cock-up ended in tragedy when a journalist released the name (and the village where he lived) of the air traffic controller working the aircraft during the Ueberlingen collision.
The father of one of the victims showed up in his house and stabbed him to death in front of his wife and kids. I always wondered how the person that leaked his name and the editor that published it still feel about it today ?
Whilst there is technically a presumption of innocence in Law, it is for all practical purposes an illusion. The great unwashed conflate investigation with guilt and the media are far more concerned with their right to publish the first thing that comes into their heads than with publishing facts - suggest that they hold back on pillorying some individual and they'll scream "censorship" at you. You'd've thought they might have learned a thing or two from how they treated Cliff Richard but apparently there really is no discenable thought process involved with journalism.
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 10:46
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Walking the North Cornwall coast path not too long ago, saw a guy on a headland who was clearly operating a drone about 400 metres ahead of us, kept eyes on it for ages. Walked onwards to pass him 5 mins later....... turns out he was photographing a Peregrine Falcon hovering and repositioning itself along the cliffs in darting manoeuvres. In fact it might have been 800m ahead or 300m when first spotted. Ranging is not easy without a surface reference point. Just saying.
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 11:00
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especially when most of us have no idea of how big (or small) the things are.......
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 12:06
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Originally Posted by Joe_K
Thanks. Hefty tariff: "A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life." Has there ever been a conviction under this?
It was recently used to prosecute the "Stansted 15" - the anti-deportation protesters who surrounded an aircraft at Stansted. Its use in that case has attracted a lot of criticism in some quarters. The "15" were convicted and sentencing is expected in February.
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 12:43
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Re "Was a drone spotted or not" arguments, this may be a good time to repost something I posted back in October:
I wonder how easy it is to identify an object passing you at 150mph and perhaps below or above you?
While watching departures at Heathrow recently, I watched as a Buzzard turned up and began circling to the South of the last couple of hundred yards of the runway. The bird's pattern was slightly elliptical so took the bird closer to the runway with each circuit. An aircraft departed and the bird was below and slightly to one side of the aircraft. The bird wasn't bothered by the sight and sound of his huge brother roaring by and continued focusing on his potential prey. A second aircraft then departed and this time the bird was slightly closer and slightly higher than previously. About this time, the controller was heard warning departing aircraft of the possibility of a drone being flown in the area. This warning was soon modified to include "but reports say it may be a bird", which of course it was. This incident highlighted how difficult it must be to identify something the size of a buzzard, 100 ft or so below and to one side and appearing in your peripheral vision for a matter of a second or two.
I once caught a Red Kite racing a landing G450. I guess the Kite decided it couldn't eat the G450 so cleared off:
Ship Photos, Container ships, tankers, cruise ships, bulkers, tugs etc
The confusion on that day was in excellent visibility, good sunshine etc.
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 13:29
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Originally Posted by KelvinD
Re "Was a drone spotted or not" arguments, this may be a good time to repost something I posted back in October:

The confusion on that day was in excellent visibility, good sunshine etc.
And had it been a falcon or similar hawk that would explain the difficulty of triangulation on its radio transmissions and the failure of the associated tracking systems. It would also explain sporadic return flights. Then the night observations could be blue-on-blue mis-idents in the poorly controlled 'crime scene' or straight forward suggestibility.

Overall a lack of professionalism in response - that led to considerable upheaval to thousands of the airport customer pax and to their user airlines.
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