A chilling series of “near misses” between airplane and drones has prompted the European nation of Portugal to implement some stringent new regulations. By the end of July, Portuguese officials expect new rules to require mandatory insurance for any drones weighing over 8.8 ounces. Owners will need to register their drones with the Portuguese government.
Chilling News Reports
Reportedly, a series of near-tragedies prompted the issuance of the new regulations. During June, 2017, Portuguese officials recorded eight situations in which drones nearly collided with commercial aircraft. Portugal’s Infrastructure Minister, decided to expedite legislation to require drone registration as a result of these findings. He indicated that new laws concerning drones won’t go into effect in the European Union until next year. A series of near collisions between Portuguese drones and airplanes prompted him to push for faster action.
In addition to seeking new laws mandating drone registration, officials in Portugal have authorized the development of new radar technology to reveal the activities of small unmanned aircraft over Portuguese airspace. Concern about the possibility of drone collisions with commercial aircraft prompted this action. Drones have gradually obtained wider acceptance in Portugal recently. For instance, Footage recorded through the use of drones revealed the tragic results of a forest fire in Portugal during June, recording a series of burned vehicles.
A Longstanding Aviation Concern
Portugal previously issued comprehensive drone regulations. These rules imposed heavy fines for abuses, but did not require the registration of drones. Under the earlier rules, drone operators had to retain the ability to see their machines during operation. Those regulations also mandated the use of warning lights on drones at all times.
The issuance of new rules apparently gained impetus following several near-tragedies in which drones narrowly avoided colliding with commercial aircraft in Portuguese airspace. Globally, drones have collided with aircraft on two confirmed occasions since mid-1997. The most recent near-collision reportedly occurred on June 16th, 2017.
As a commercial aircraft attempted a landing at Cascais Municipal Airport in Portugal, the airplane had to perform a series of evasive actions in order to avoid hitting a drone in the vicinity. The Aero VIP airplane transported some 14 people. It encountered the drone while flying over the airport at 1,000 feet.