Why BBC? - Britain's Next Air Disaster? Drones 🤦‍♂️

5 years ago   •   6 min read

By Alex

WARNING – Ranting below – WARNING

So who watched the BBC documentary “Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones“?
I got no more than 5 minutes into the program and it started to anger me and set the negative tone for the rest of the programme.
This shows is really biased to all the negative points of drones and doesn’t cover any of the really good points, I will.

So to start and to be fair to the show drones can be dangerous and can cause damage, accidents can happen and stupid people will always be stupid. But if you are flying in the right areas and away from airports and built up areas, our mistakes will have much less of an impact if they happen.

OK so they start off by covering the Gatwick incident where the airport was closed down for 36hrs by a drone?
WHAT DRONE? There is/was no proof of any drone in or around the airport. There isn’t ONE video or picture of a drone.
This drone was meant to have been of an industrial size…. i.e. BIG
With all of the people at the airport with camera phones, the BBC, the Police and airport staff how did nobody get a picture in the most covered CCTV country in the world. Vice wrote an interesting article looking into why there is no evidence of an actual drone.

Next up…. Firing a phantom at a plane wing.

So they start off with firing a fake gelatin bird simulator directly at the leading edge of the wing.
It does damage to the section of the wing.

Then cause there air cannon can’t fit a phantom, they have to break it up and use the heaviest parts; motor, arm and lipo. They are already altering the phantom to fit there test… it gets better.

Just look at that picture. They cover the parts in a adhesive foam to stop it from rattling, which gives it more mass.
All the parts are wrapped in elastic bands and held tight together and for extra support those black rods; what are they? They weren’t in the phantom.
So again they have changed the test from firing a phantom, to firing a sold object made up of phantom parts.
If a phantom hits something, it’s plastic, it will bend and inevitably brake up….. this thing won’t!

So here is the damage from the phantom missile….
Did it cause more damage? – Yes it was a sold object with support rods.
But wait, that’s the same wing from the last test. The already damaged wing that is now weaker.
So again a unfair test.
When a plane is in flight there is airflow going above and below the wing. A lot of airflow. The chances of a drone hitting the leading edge dead on is slim, it’s more likely the drone will be deflected over or under the wing. It may still cause damage but that extent?

Air Speed

So they fire the objects at the wing at 250 knots to simulate a plane taking off or landing; WHAT PLANE? after spending 10 minutes with google this is what I found.

AircraftTakeoff speed
Airbus A320150kts
Airbus A340155kts
Boeing 747155kts
Cessna 15055kts

A Cessna 150 is one of the most common small aircraft’s around and flys around 100 and 110 knots.
Most aircraft are not allowed to fly at 250kts until they have reached 10,000ft.

And what’s that? Looks like some sort of brick. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t part of the phantom!

AIRPROX report

So now he is covering a AIRPROX (Air Proximity Report).
How does anyone spot a small drone white, black or any colour while flying a plane at roughly 150kts that’s 172mph? A 50cm drone at any distance would be gone in a blink of an eye.
Most drones can’t even get high enough to reach a plane. Either the remote link dies or the drone battery just runs out. Plus the higher you go the less dense the air is and the less thrust the motors produce, eating away at the battery reducing fight times even more.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request released by the AIRPROX Reality Check group (formerly known as the Flight Safety Board) has revealed that there is NO concrete proof that a drone has ever flown close to a manned aircraft in UK skies.

The FOI request also revealed that there is NO confirmation that a drone has ever been involved in any of the 350+ drone AIRPROX reports which the board has published to date.

Last gripe then some positive notes

The FPV section and weaponizing a drone

First off about weaponizing a drone…… Anyone that flies a drone, specifically a freestyle drone, knows that if you strap any weight to it, it flies like a brick!
They already have a reduced flight time of less than 4 minutes on a single charge.
He says you could fly out a mile… Sure in an empty field! We all know that if anything gets between you and your drone, the video drops and you crash.
That’s even if your battery lasts that long.
What about weaponizing a mobile phone, car, backpack or lunchbox? Even a remote control plane or car? They can all be fitted with a device that could do mass damage, should we ban those too?

The freestyle pilots

I feel sorry for those guys. I bet most of their interview was cut out due to them trying to promote the hobby and show us all in a good light.
Why on earth was that plane grave yard place selected as a spot to fly?
We can’t fly there normally it’s an active airfield. So why use that location and not a nice rural spot in fields and tree’s or parks like most of us fly? A much more realistic setting maybe?

The Good points

None from the show for us, apart from how drones will help in the future and provide aid in remote locations transporting emergency health care items.

My Good points from the hobby

Welcome to the end of my rant assuming you made it all the way down here.
Simply put, this hobby is amazing. If it wasn’t for this hobby, I wouldn’t be posting blogs, have a YouTube channel or working with drones.
I wouldn’t have made new friends all over the country, I travel hours in car to meet them and go for a fly, even just for a couple of hours.
I run a Discord server where I help with others so many people and pass on any help where we can, supporting others new to the hobby and giving back to the community.
I’ve learnt so much about electronics, power, motors, props, design, remote links, soldering – it’s been a challenge and fun at the same time.
Nothing like building your first quad and getting in the air for the first time, then crashing it and fixing it. ( Build, Fly, Crash, Repair, Repeat ).
I’ve shared the hobby and flights with random strangers that I’ve met whilst I’ve been out and they all loved it and stopped to ask questions, I have, to this day never been met with any form of hostility.
This hobby brings people – we work together, we work together we fly together.
We get flying footage of places you would never normally see. When we get to fly, most of us never go above 200ft ( limit is 400ft ) cause there is just nothing up there for us ( freestyle pilots ). We fly low and through challenging obstacles and we challenge each other to do better.

In Summary

Drones are great, no mater which type you fly. Most of us stay within the law and have fun whilst staying out of trouble. But there will always be some that ruin it for the rest of us.
Will drone registration help? Not at all. People that will do stupid things won’t register. Just because someone has a driving licence for a car, doesn’t mean they won’t speed or jump red lights. People even drive cars with out a licence, insurance or MOT; does it stop them? No!

How many people have been killed by a drone…. NONE.
How many planes have been brought down by a drone…. NONE.
How many planes have been brought down by birds…… LOTS.
How many people have died falling down stairs or crossing the road? I’ll give you a clue….. ITS A LOT.

This hobby is growing fast. Its fun, enjoyable and engaging. Make friends, make memories and always fly safe.

Spread the word