A 38-year old man has been charged with flying a drone near Heathrow Airport on Christmas Eve.

The suspected drone flight happened just days after Gatwick experienced the same, which grounded more than 1,000 flights. The airport reopened on 21 December after three days of chaos, affecting more than 140,000 passengers.

Reported by The Independent, George Rusu, of Blunts Avenue, Hillingdon, allegedly used a drone on a field near the runway at Heathrow on 24 December, court documents have revealed.

According to The Telegraph, Rusu will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. He is charged with flying a “small unmanned aircraft without permission of air control” according to the documents.

On Friday, the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) safety body revealed there were 18 near misses between aircraft and drones between July and October 2018 in the country. 12 of the incidents, they said, took place in greater London.

Officials at both Gatwick and Heathrow said they were investing millions of pounds in equipment to prevent future flight disruption.

The Department of Transport said it plans to introduce new police powers and safety rules to tackle the misuse of drones.  

A Guardian article, written by Simon Moores, wrote that drones have been used before to disrupt airports. In Dubai, he said, it’s become almost commonplace – and there are frequent occurrences at smaller airports in the UK. He did say there hasn’t been a serious incident in UK airspace, but there have been in other countries, for example, a Boeing 738-00 belonging to Aeromexico on 12 December on the final approach to Tijuana in Mexico.


Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

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