Photo: Don McCullough/Flickr
The Danish Transport and Construction Agency said on Wednesday that a passenger plane nearly collided with an illegal drone during its approach into Copenhagen Airport last Friday, narrowly avoiding “fatal consequences”.
According to the agency, the drone was flying 450 metres above ground, well above the 100-metre allowed height for drones. The agency said that the pilot of the passenger plane, which was not identified in detail, described the drone’s position as “very close” to the passenger aircraft.
“We strongly condemn these types of illegal flights with drones. It is a sign of stupidity and it puts passengers’ lives at risk when a drone is flown in the vicinity of a plane,” agency spokesman Jesper Rasmussen said.
“Drones are becoming more and more widespread and it is important that people who fly drones make sure they understand the applicable rules,” he added.
Danish legislation states that drones can not fly higher than 100 metres and they must stay at least eight kilometres away from military bases and at least five kilometres from public airfields. Drones are also barred from densely populated areas or near public roads.
Speaking with Berlingske newspaper, Rasmussen conceded that as drones gain in popularity it will be hard to enforce the rules.
“It’s not possible to stop all illegal activity, and the same applies to drones. I can’t imagine how one can stop people from flying them near airports. We can only hope that in this case it was a person who mistakenly flew too close to the airport,” he said.
The Danish Transport and Construction Agency is working with other public institutions, including the Defence and Justice Ministries, to create a new set of rules for drones. Among the suggestions is to outfit all unmanned aircraft with a ‘licence plate’ to make it easier to identify the owner.