There can be few people who are not aghast at the irresponsible use of drones around Gatwick.
Pro operators of Drones regard them with contempt
From our perspective as fully licensed professional operators we can view these events, with utter dismay. We also regard them with contempt. Whoever these clowns are they need to be found, and found quickly. And when they are found they need the full force of the law to descend upon them. The problem is that current legislation cannot compensate hundreds of thousands of people involved.
The punishment must fit the crime
What is clear is that new legislation is needed to make the penalties for misuse of drones as stiff as possible. Not only to deter the rogue operators, but to assist the legit ones. Longer jail terms, life-time bans and huge fines are all measures that need to be introduced. We use drones for a living, creating well received aerial shots. These are integrated into our usual footage to create quality video. To us aerial footage is now the norm and expected by all, whether an expensive corporate shoot or a wedding.
So where does this leave the unlicensed, uninsured majority? Either they go down the path to legal use or they take a chance. Regrettably too many are taking that chance. Unlicensed operators need to be hammered and hammered hard to reduce this tendency for illegal use.
Authorities need to get their act together
It’s fairly clear that the Gatwick lunatics are simply out to create mayhem and they are almost certainly not professional operators, and most definitely not responsible, licensed operators. So it’s fair to say that no increase in the levels required to become licensed will make any difference, but the CAA can at least start looking at those who use drones for profit who are not legal. Unfortunately it is also true that the CAA itself is not equipped to handle the issue of licences. Their performance over the past few years, even in issuing simple renewals to long standing operators has been nothing short of lamentable. Increasing costs and the time required to issue documentation will only serve to push more operators into the unlicensed world.
Drones are here, and here to stay. It is up to the UK authorities to deal with them in a serious way immediately