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Gatwick Airport news: Pilot REVEALS 'catastrophic' damage drones can cause to planes

December 20, 2018 10:10 PM
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Gatwick Airport news: Pilot REVEALS 'catastrophic' damage drones can cause to planes

GATWICK Airport drones could cause "catastrophic accidents" to planes and helicopters as flying at the right speed they could even "go through the windscreen" of an aircraft, warned UK Captain Dave Smith.

Speaking to Sky News, the British Airline Pilots' Association spokesman claimed to have warned the Government to implement new drones regulations as 2017 research revealed the "catastrophic" extent of the damage a drone could cause to aircrafts. Mr Smith claimed drones could hit the tower of a rover helicopter and go through the windscreen of an aircraft if flying at a considerable speed. The warning comes as London's Gatwick Airport descended into chaos on Thursday with the army being called in to help the police track down the pilots of drones which have forced the closure of the airport.

Mr Smith said: “We feel very let down by the Government because we invested in some research last year with the department of transport and the military aviation authority which proved that these drones - which only weight two kilograms but they have batteries and motors - if they hit an aircraft at the right speed they can go through the windscreen, they can hit the tower of a rover helicopter.

More than 110,000 people were due to either take off or land at the airport on 760 flights today.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "There are ongoing discussions with the police about any military capability that could be provided to assist with their operation."

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told Sky News: “Sussex police have requested assistance and support from the armed forces and we will be deploying the armed forces to give them the help that they need to deal with the situation with the drones at Gatwick airport.

“It goes to demonstrate how our armed forces are always there ready to support the civilian authorities.”

Police said there was no indication of a terrorist motive as they hunted unsuccessfully for the operators of the drones that first appeared on Wednesday night.

Authorities resisted shooting the drones out of the air for fear of stray bullets, Gatwick Chief Operating Officer Chris Woodroofe said.


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