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Attack of the drones - a very real threat

Air Partner - 21 Dec 2018

So it’s Christmas 2018 and guess what, we’ve a travel shutdown in the UK. Amazing how these always seem to happen at this time of year.

Gatwick said flights planned for yesterday (Thursday) would have about 126,000 passengers on board, but instead they were all stranded as 140 flights were cancelled – due to drones flying over the airport. This is a very new problem on the one hand, but on the other it feels more elementary to us at the Air Partner Group, because we’ve been helping to protect airports from airborne threats since 1994 – they’re just normally feathered, rather than mechanical gadgets controlled by people!

Our desire to take to the skies for a well-deserved holiday means there are more aircraft flying than ever before in history. Most of us are unaware of the teams on the ground working tirelessly to assist the aircrew in keeping us safe, especially with the challenge of keeping the airspace around the airport free from wildlife, as wildlife strikes have the potential of causing catastrophic damage to aircraft.

As technology becomes readily accessible  to all, a fresh challenge has become prevalent, as witnessed at Gatwick Airport: the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), more commonly referred to as “drones”. Unfortunately, existing methods of wildlife control have no effect on drones, so a new approach is required to mitigate this serious threat.

The first stage of mitigating a threat is detection. Just as radar has been used for nearly two decades to detect birds flying within close proximity of airfields, radar technology is rapidly evolving to identify small, non-natural targets that illegally encroach into these critical areas.

Armed with real time information, the ground teams specialised in Wildlife Hazard Management can take appropriate action to respond to the threat, utilising counter-UAV technology to neutralise the drones before they can pose a risk to aircraft, passengers and everyone else on the ground below.

With over 100,000 passengers grounded in one day of ‘drone-jacking’ over Gatwick, you can see why the Air Partner - Wildlife Hazard Management division is focused on developing its counter-UAV services to provide our clients with the highest risk mitigation services available, keeping everyone safe from this modern and sinister, tech based threat…. 

For more information, click here.