Heathrow ‘drone’ arrest turns out to be model aircraft pilot

George Rusu, who was reportedly arrested for flying a drone near Heathrow airport, was found to be flying a model aircraft 500 metres from the perimeter fence, a court heard on Tuesday.

The news follows initial reports that the man was arrested for flying a drone near to the airport just days after the Gatwick disruption.

Appearing in court in Uxbridge on Tuesday to admit the charge of ‘flying a small unmanned aircraft without permission of air traffic control’, the judge branded Rusu ‘reckless’ for flying his £160 model aircraft in nearby proximity.

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A model aircraft similar to the one used.

Deputy district judge Robert Roscoe, sentencing, said:  “To my mind, the word reckless seems to be appropriate. It was stupid of you, to say the very least.”

He added: “You didn’t engage with your brain to think about the consequences of what you were doing. You committed this offence in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport.”

This comes after weeks of drone finger pointing, something which the industry wants to put a stop to.

In a statement asking for caution in drone sighting incidents, Brendan Schulman, DJI’s VP for policy and legal affairs, said: “This recent rash of unconfirmed drone sightings may reflect the power of suggestion more than actual use of drones at airports.”

He added: “As more airports and airlines use drones for their own inspection, surveying and security purposes, aviation stakeholders must determine how to respond to drone sightings in ways that help ensure safety but cause the least disruption. DJI stands ready to assist the industry with this important work.”

The statement, released by DJI, also described how drone blame had been wrong in the past, referencing a plastic bag in the UK in 2016, structural failure in Mozambique in 2017, a bat in Australia in 2017 and a balloon in New Zealand last year.

Tags : CourtcrimeGatwickheathrowNewark
Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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