Travel: Heathrow gets ready for ‘drone protest’ on Friday - PressFrom - US
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TravelHeathrow gets ready for ‘drone protest’ on Friday

01:25  12 september  2019
01:25  12 september  2019 Source:   thepointsguy.com

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Activists from Heathrow Pause, a splinter of the environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion, have “We have got tactics in place to detect and identify drone usage. I’m confident that we have got a plan Protesters are planning to launch the first drone at 3am on Friday morning before the first

Image caption Climate protesters held a demonstration outside Heathrow Airport on 19 April. The police have warned climate protesters they will He said: "If flown into the path of an aircraft, a drone has the potential to cause great harm to those on board. "Endangering the safety of an aircraft can

Heathrow airport is recovering after two days of British Airways cancellations due to a pilot strike that grounded the airline worldwide on Monday and Tuesday. And now, the largest airport in Europe by passenger traffic has to prepare for another operational risk on the horizon.

Heathrow gets ready for ‘drone protest’ on Friday© Provided by Bankrate, LLC

A group of climate activists are planning a demonstration during which they will fly drones within the airport’s five-kilometer (three-mile) exclusion zone. The group, which calls itself Heathrow Pause, is protesting plans for a third runway, which will ultimately increase the airport’s carbon emissions. They’re hoping to cause disruptions to flights throughout the day.

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A plan by climate protestors to shut down Heathrow Airport with drones on Tuesday has been postponed. Extinction Rebellion had threatened to cause disruption by flying drones in June and July, in protest against a planned expansion of the airport. On Friday , police warned those involved they

Image caption Cilmate protesters held a demonstration outside Heathrow Airport on 19 April. Extinction Rebellion activists are threatening to shut down The climate change protest group vowed to stage a one-day demonstration in June and then 10 further days in July - unless the government

The BBC previously reported that the protestors have vowed to keep their drones out of aircraft’s direct flight paths, fly them at a low altitude (roughly head-height), and begin the protest early in the morning, before the airport’s daily operations really kick into gear.

So, how likely is all this to cause travel woes in London on Friday? Not very, said Kristy Kiernan, an assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

“If they keep to that, below head height, they would be quite difficult to detect anyway from the normal ways we have of detecting,” she said. But, she added, if they expand the scope of their protest or fly the drones farther afield, “there is a potential for tremendous disruption.”

Heathrow gets ready for ‘drone protest’ on Friday© The Points Guy Photo by AmandaLewis / Getty Images.

Kiernan’s colleague Ryan Wallace, also an assistant professor at Embry-Riddle, agreed with her assessment.

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Image caption Climate protesters held a demonstration outside Heathrow Airport on 19 April. The police have warned climate protesters they will He said: "If flown into the path of an aircraft, a drone has the potential to cause great harm to those on board. "Endangering the safety of an aircraft can

A plan by climate protestors to shut down Heathrow Airport with drones on Tuesday has been postponed. Extinction Rebellion had threatened to cause disruption by flying drones in June and July, in protest against a planned expansion of the airport. On Friday , police warned those involved they

“The risk is relatively minimal and it sounds like they are purely doing this to get attention more than anything.” But, he added, that doesn’t mean this demonstration is completely safe, either. “For example, what if they lose the data link and the drone flies away? That could introduce new risks that they’re not prepared to deal with.”

In many places, civilian aviation regulators like the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S. or the Civil Aviation Authority in Britain do not have the jurisdiction to “mitigate” unmanned aircraft near airports.

“Even if there is a knowledge that there is a drone out there, the limitation is detection only,” Wallace said. In order to get drones out of an airport’s airspace, the airport operators need to coordinate with local law enforcement.

“If the operator isn’t co-located with where the protest is taking place, they’re going to have difficulty tracking them down,” Wallace added.

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Climate protesters are planning to fly drones over Heathrow on Friday . Police have vowed to draft in extra officers and arrest anyone flying drone . He vowed that the protest would not be a 'repeat' of the drone disruption at Gatwick Airport last winter. Ready for her close-up: Meghan Markle gives a

Heathrow Airport may be forced to close for up to 10 days this summer due to action by climate activists Extinction Rebellion. The environmental protest group says it intends to fly drones on an airfield nearby.

Heathrow Airport has said it’s working with London’s Met Police to keep airplanes on schedule throughout the demonstration.

Kiernan said that law enforcement officers are likely to have a head start in mitigating any disruptions the protest could cause. The action’s announced 3 a.m. start time, she said, “gives law enforcement ample time to track them down.”

But, she said, the protest could still have broader implications for aviation safety, security and scheduling.

“The greater risk is that this becomes an effective method of protest,” Kiernan said. “The greater concern is that this becomes a tool that disrupts the efficiency of the system.”

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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