A Drone user has been prosecuted after flying too close to a Police Helicopter.

Steven Micklewright of Kangs Solicitors discusses the case

The Facts | Kangs Regulatory Team

  • The incident happened when a police helicopter was airborne searching for a missing person.
  • During the flight, the crew saw the drone pass underneath them which was recorded on their on-board CCTV.
  • The Crew were able to follow the drone and watch it land in a garden. The crew then guided police on the ground to the property in question.
  • The drone user was charged with two offences;
  1. Failing to maintain direct, unaided visual contact with a small unmanned aircraft contrary to articles 94(3) and 265(6) of the Air Navigation Order 2016; and
  2. Flying a small unmanned aircraft when not reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made contrary to articles 94(2) and 265(6) of the same Order 2016.

Air Navigation Order | Kangs Aviation Law Advisors

  • The law states that drones must not be flown above 400ft or within 1km of an airfield.
  • It is a criminal offence if the drone is flown recklessly or it negligently endangers an aircraft
  • A prison sentence of up to 5 years may be handed out.

The Court Case | Kangs Drone Use Advisory Solicitors

  • The drone user was convicted of both charges and fined £184 with £280 court costs.
  • The user was also forced to forfeit his drone.

James Cunningham, Head of Aviation Safety for the National Police Air Service said:

We welcome the prosecution as it provides absolute clarity that flying a drone in this way is unacceptable and dangerous…not only did it put our crew in danger, it disrupted our search for a vulnerable missing person’.

Jonathan Nicholson of the Civil Aviation Authority said;

‘Flying a drone like this is totally unacceptable. Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and follow the rules and regulations which are designed to keep airspace users safe’.

How Can We Help? | Kangs General Aviation Law Solicitors

Not only is Steven Micklewright a qualified solicitor but he also holds a full EASA Private Pilot’s Licence, offering a unique insight into the complex Air Navigation Order and Rules of the Air.

Steven has been flying for a number of years and knows first-hand the pressures for GA pilots when flying.

Steven’s dual pilot/lawyer qualification puts him in the best position to represent pilots facing Prosecution by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Steven is able to represent GA pilots from the start of the investigation process all the way through to the Prosecution and ultimately, and appearances in the Criminal Courts.

Who Can I Contact For Help? | Kangs Aviation Offences Defence Solicitors

If you face an investigation or prosecution by the CAA for any alleged aviation offence, please feel free to contact Steven Micklewright who will be happy to provide you with some initial advice and assistance.

Steven Micklewright
smicklewright@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396