A number of aviation associations have called for all small drones in Europe to be registered, due to fears surrounding their potential to cause accidents and issues for the industry.
Owners of drones in the US already have to register their drones if they weigh more than half a pound and the associations want to see the same guidelines rolled out across the UK.
This follows news that near-misses involving drones are on the rise, with 10 cases of near collisions recorded this year, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Drone sales have also risen this year due to increased demand and popularity, and drone manufacturers and operators are seeking greater access to airspace, including airspace in which commercial aircraft are operating.
In a joint statement, the associations have announced their support for ‘the European regulator to produce a robust harmonized EU-wide regulatory safety framework for drones’.
The associations, namely: Airlines for Europe (A4E), Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe), Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), European Cockpit Association (ECA), European Helicopter Association (EHA), European Regions Airline Association (ERAA), International Air Carrier Association (IACA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA), have also spoken of their concern regarding safety issues of unmanned aircraft in controlled and uncontrolled airspace.
In short, the proposal calls for: an extensive public awareness campaign, registration of all drones, mandatory training and certificate/licence, technical performance limitations, in-depth research into the impact of collisions between drones and manned aircraft, integration of recreational drones into national Model Aircraft Flying Regulations and an increase in the effectiveness of enforcement.
The CAA, however, has not joined calls for drone registration. “Our overall aim is to prevent any kind of conflict in the air from happening in the first place,” a CAA spokesman told the BBC.
“Registration has advantages, but it’s a complicated decision to make about what the benefits of registration are.”