No more droning on | Breakthrough Funding

Thursday, August 2, 2018

No more droning on

The fun could be over as the Government proposes a ban on children using heavyweight drones

Just as remote controlled cars, planes, boats and helicopters have fascinated young people – and some big kids – for decades, drones have been capturing children’s imaginations for some time now.

Unlike the toys of previous generations, drones not only tend to offer more agility and power, but also added features such as video and photo capability. This makes them captivating devices for anyone with an interest in aerial photography or snooping on the neighbours…

But what goes up must come down, it seems, or at least some of them. The Department of Transport is on the warpath and has proposed that children should be banned from flying drones weighing over 250g, unless the gadgets are owned and registered by an adult. Apparently, drones weighing 400g can smash a helicopter windscreen and anything much heavier could pose a serious risk to other aircraft, so this is a pretty sombre issue.

It’s unclear how the Government will ensure that adult-owned drones are never flown by unsupervised children – or reckless grown-ups. But the threat of £300 on-the-spot fines should be enough to ground any unsuitable pilots, regardless of age.

Once again, we’re seeing innovation take flight before running into the realities of day-to-day life, along with the limitations of its users. Bans on flying drones above 400ft and within 1km of an airport must have been introduced in response to thoughtless behaviour by human beings. So, we really can’t assume that everyone will be sensible once they have exciting new technology in their hands.

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