Gatwick is at an absolute standstill today, and while you could make some snide comments about the airport's usual efficiency (the budget airlines aren't generally known for being 100% prompt) you have to concede that this whole situation is an absolute shitshow. All thanks to some dickhead that's been flying a drone around the airport, and stranding thousands of people.
With the latest update confirming the airport will be closed until at least 10pm, more than 24 hours after the drone incident began, it's now been revealed Sussex police have requested help from the military to hunt down the bastard with his stupid flying toy. This was then confirmed by defence secretary Gavin Williamson who told journalists that the armed forces will use “unique military capability” to help but an end to the person (or people, I assume) responsible.
— Lucy Fisher (@LOS_Fisher) December 20, 2018
As you can see in the above quote, it's not clear what capacity the military operation will involve. Obviously when the military are being called in, you know your stupid drone 'prank' has gone to far. If I were the person behind it, I'd be shitting myself right now. Let's hope the people with wrecked travel plans don't get their hands on him, because it won't be a pretty sight.
No doubt this incident is going to lead to some big changes. While the wheels of drone regulation are already in motion, something will probably be done to keep flying machines away from the places they don't belong. Short of actually causing a plane to go down or killing someone, this is probably the worst possible situation that can occur thanks to a drone being flown where it shouldn't.
At the very least airports are going to get extra serious about keeping them away, and drone-maker DJI has released a statement calling for a 'modern framework' to better manage potential drone-based problems. A framework that includes a Remote ID system that can identify drones mid-flight and transmit the location of it and the pilot. Funnily enough the company has been working on one of those, which has already been deployed in some places.
This situation isn't going to end soon, and whatever the outcome let's just hope the government does a better job of trying to regulate drones than it has done with all other technology in the past. [The Guardian]