Drones at Heathrow

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Yesterday some people were arrested prior to the Heathrow Pause protest at Heathrow this morning. Today another couple joined their colleagues.

panoramic view of Heathrow
Heathrow showing the area north of the runways and where the third runway is planned

The group gave notice to the airport and authorities some weeks ago that they would attempt to fly drones over the airport.

For those who may not know, Heathrow Pause is listed by some as a spliter group pf the climate change group, E xtinction Rebellion. It certainly has peole who are part of both including Roger Hallam, the co-founder of Extinction who was arrested yesterday.

Some mainstream media have reported that drone flying would be attempted without also reporting that the group said that flying would be limited to a height of six feet above the airport suggesting that they were aware of the significant danger to planes and passengers of drone flying. Nonetheless, flying drones at any height at an airport might be dangerous.

The group maintains that flying is a significant contributor to client change and that most flying is done by wealthy individuals although why they point out that these are westerners when rich people from around the world fly, I don’t know. They are also trying to stop the third runway expansion at Heathrow.

The first attempt to launch a drone was apparently at about 3am, a time when no flights are allowed at Heathrow except in the case of an emergency. They failed as it seems Heathrow used blocking systems so that the drones couldn’t take off. As of 10am, it looks as though no other attempt has been made.

The plan is obviously to disrupt airport traffic and potentially close the airport. That they haven’t succeeded so far seems to suggest that the technology that Heathrow employs is successful. It is to be hoped that all other airports have similar technology in place.

Heathrow Pause is treading a fine line. Just one plane crash would remove that any sympathy the group has. It needs to be very careful with the action it takes because their action will not only disrupt rich westerners but ordinary passengers who only fly one a year.

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