Safety warning over 1.5million drones bought for Christmas

Aviation regulators have issued a warning after it was claimed 1.5 million drones could be placed under Christmas trees across Britain this festive season. 

The un-manned aerial devices can be flown within minutes of being unpacked from the box and are capable to travelling more than a mile and at heights of more than 1,000 feet. 

However, new drone users are risking the possibility of a five year prison term if their new toy endangers the safety of an aircraft.  

Some 1.5 million drones are expected to be sold in the period running up towards Christmas

Some 1.5 million drones are expected to be sold in the period running up towards Christmas

Drone users face five years in prison if they endanger a manned aircraft with their device

Drone users face five years in prison if they endanger a manned aircraft with their device

Safety experts at the Civil Aviation Authority have expressed concern, because these downs could inadvertently interfere with the safety of helicopters, passenger jets, motorists and people on the ground. 

Many of those who will be unwrapping their new devices - which range in price from around £50 to £5,000 - are unaware of the regulations concerning their use. 

Failure to adhere to the law can result in a criminal conviction, and if they endanger an aircraft, can lead to a five year jail term. 

It is estimated more than two million drones have been sold in Britain over the past five years. 

The government is considering plans to force all drone owners to register their devices in advance of flying them. 

The Civil Aviation Authority has developed its own DroneSafe code. Users are warned they must always be able to see their drone so they have the ability to avoid other objects. 

The Civil Aviation Authority has released a drone safe code to allow users to remain legal

The Civil Aviation Authority has released a drone safe code to allow users to remain legal

Importantly, drones must keep below 400 feet, as this reduces the chance of them interfering with manned aircraft. 

Owners are also warned that they are not allowed to fly a drone within 150 feet of people and properties, while they must keep 500 feet from crowds and built up areas. In addition, they are not allowed to fly over crowds, railway lines or roads. 

The pilot of a drone is legally responsible for each flight and there are additional restrictions around airports. 

Drone present greater risk to aircraft than bird strikes 

Drones that collide with planes cause more damage than birds of the same size because of their solid motors, batteries and other parts, a study released by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The study's researchers say aircraft-manufacturing standards designed for bird strikes aren't appropriate for ensuring planes can withstand collisions with drones. The FAA said it will depend on drone makers to help develop technology to detect and avoid planes.

Reports of close calls between drones and airliners have surged. The FAA gets more than 250 sightings a month of drones posing potential risks to planes, such as operating too close to airports.

Canadian officials say a drone hit a small charter plane carrying eight people last month over Quebec City, the first such incident in Canada. The plane landed safely.

A team of researchers from four universities used

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