Drones are step forward
9:49am Thursday 24th April 2014 in Letters
I have read several letters in the Tivy-Side on the subject of 'drones' over the past weeks with a growing sense of unease, as it seems that most correspondents on the subject seem to be pursuing various hobby-horses with scant regard for any simple facts that get in the way. May I take the opportunity to set the record straight?
Firstly, Unmanned Air Vehicles are a subset of a technology that encompasses land, sea, air and undersea operations. Far from being evil, this represents a step forward in transportation, much as the railways superseded the stage coach or the aeroplane replaced the ocean liner. The key word is vehicle - put hay bales in a Land Rover and it's a farm implement, put in soldiers and it's a weapon of war. Either way, it's the future. Think robot submarine looking for the missing Malaysian airliner. Similarly, think small unmanned aircraft searching mountain for missing climbers in appalling weather conditions; thus able to direct rescuers straight to the appropriate place.
Secondly, all UK airspace is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority. UAVs are subject to the same rules as manned aircraft in relation to where they may or may not fly. None of us own the sky over our homes so anyone with a pilot's licence is free to photograph my house (whether I like it or not) if they so choose, provided they abide by the minimum height and distance rules, so there is no big deal if an unmanned craft does likewise.
Thirdly, I have to say that anyone buying a home close to an airfield and then complaining about aircraft noise is rather similar to someone buying a house next to a farm and then complaining about the smell! After all, West Wales Airport is hardly Heathrow.
I have a great respect for those who oppose war generally but I wonder whether those who direct their anger towards UAV development here should also visit Kabul and campaign against those making and deploying the Improvised Explosive Devices that maim and kill indiscriminately.