Attack of the drones?

The drone over Rye chimneys

Who is the phantom drone flyer? This afternoon – a lovely day – a drone appeared over the centre of Rye, flew about a bit, hovered here and there and undoubtedly shot a lot of pictures.

The operator ought to know that it is illegal to fly a drone above a built-up area. And this is the third time I know of that a drone has fluttered over the town.

Naming no names, I have seen a couple of photographs that might well have been taken by one of them, and very interesting they are, but perhaps residents catching the sun (or doing something else) in their gardens do not wish to be spied upon.

I didn’t think I would have time to get out my super-telephoto lens and so my pictures are not wonderful (on the ordinary image, look for the spot over the chimney) but, drone pirate, I will be ready next time!

There is one bright side to this intrusion – it drove the seagulls berserk, so perhaps we should make an exception to the law during the nesting season and have a drone posse to frighten them all away.

But I want copies of those negatives.

Photo : Andrew Bamji

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  1. A glance at the web will reveal aerial images of Rye, probably taken by unattended/unmanned air vehicles or systems (UAV or UAS – drone is a US term). In Sussex and Kent there are companies advertising such aerial photography. Rye Harbour Nature Reserve has recently secured images of the whole Reserve by a company using aerial platforms fitted with cameras. Registered UAVs are now widely used by the Police and private companies providing power, telecoms, agriculture and logistics. The UK regulations covering UAVs are still evolving. Platforms over 20kg are limited to certain controlled areas but for lighter equipment, for non-commercial use, there are only general rules: should avoid CAA controlled airspace, should be retained “in line of sight” by the pilot, at a maximum height (400 ft) and avoiding places such as “congested areas” (by 150m) and other people (by 50m). Importantly any UAV used for surveillance purposes requires permission from the CAA and any images collected are subject to the Data Protection Act. General registration of all UAVs and a requirement to be able to trace flight paths is some way off, but meanwhile, like many other regulations (such as parking rules in Rye!) the existing rules are often ignored, particularly by many who buy small UAVs for “domestic” use. Prosecutions by the CAA for misuse are rising but most involve individuals piloting UAVs over restricted installations or congested areas such as transport infrastructure. Technology is advancing; some nano or micro UAVs look like insects or birds. Is that seagull really a seagull? Therefore Andrew Bamji may be concerned about his privacy but even if he identifies the pilot or operator of the UAV near his home, enforcing the rules may be challenging. He should keep his telephoto lens at the ready.

  2. Government allowed the sale of drones in the UK without any restrictions or requirements for registration (and they benefited from the increased tax revenue due to the hike of the sales) Not even thought about the consequences.
    All the traders selling the drones are happy that lots of drones being bought during Christmas (increase in revenue)
    Most of the parks have banned the drones as it’s too much of trouble for them to manage.
    CAA’srules are fine and it’s not difficult to comply.

    My question is where can they fly their drones ?
    They should have banned the drones altogether or allowed in certain areas for the drone flyers.

    There are allocated spaces for horse riders, bicycle riders, cricket, football etc in the parks but not for drone flyers.
    I think it’s unfair on drone flyers.

    It’s a sign of irresponsibility of the people in power.


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