In recent years, more and more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have begun to pop up in the supposedly clear zones surrounding airports. UAV users choose to fly their drones in such locations for the wide open space without high buildings or other obstacles in the way. Their behavior poses threat to aviation safety and even national security.
Statistics show that currently, around 20,000 UAVs are flying illegally. While four UAV-related accidents were reported in 2015, the number soared to 23 in 2016, and so far this year, 10 accidents have occurred in the southwest region alone. For aviation authorities, these incidents are a big headache, and call for strengthening UAV supervision. Relevant punishments are rising.
As early as 2009, the Civil Aviation Administration of China issued regulations concerning UAVs. These regulations, however, are not widely known. UAV users are often confused as to whether pilot licenses are needed, what procedures are necessary, and which departments handle these procedures. Also, many UAVs are made of plastic and fiberglass and are difficult to detect by radar.
As a result, most people who are determined to fly UAVs do so illegally. To stop them, we need more feasible and practical measures on UAV use. For example, so-called electronic fencing could be incorporated into UAV software, so they cannot fly in restricted airspace, and UAV approval procedures need to be streamlined. Explicitly informing users of their rights and obligations can also make a great difference.