It is “absolutely wrong” for pilots to misreport drone incidents in the event of ambiguity, a representative of the Civil Aviation Authority said.
Jonathan Nicholson, the Assistant Director Corporate Communications of the CAA, stressed that when near misses or collisions occur, pilots should not report unidentified objects as being drones if they are unsure.
Speaking exclusively to DronePunks he said, “We must maintain the integrity of the reporting systems that we have and it’s absolutely right that things that do involve a drone get reported as a drone but it’s absolutely wrong that things where people aren’t sure what it is get reported as a drone. They should be reported as, ‘I’m not sure what that was.'”
Though he has spoken to light aircraft pilots with first-hand experience of near misses, he noted that in cases of uncertainty there is a risk that the aviation industry will throw up drones as a first port of call.
“It is very, very important that the aviation industry as a whole realises that accurate reporting is key and that we can’t get into a cry wolf scenario,” he said. “Obviously a lot of the traditional aviation industry is apprehensive about drones because they hear of safety incidents, they may even have experienced safety incidents themselves.”
Earlier this year it was reported that a drone had hit British Airways flight BA727 as it landed at Heathrow. Later it was speculated that the “drone” had actually been a plastic bag.
Jonathan also discussed the Amazon Prime Air testing, the future of drone regulation and the CAA’s Dronecode, providing safety guidelines for consumer users, which you can read about in more detail here. The Dronecode advises operators that they must stay clear of all airports and aircraft, remain 50m away from people, buildings and vehicles, and fly below 400ft.
You can read the full interview with Jonathan Nicholson here.
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