Thanks to lowered weight, new energy dense batteries and reasonable prices, drones are becoming more popular everywhere.
The coveted toy with cool cameras and GPS is fun for hobbyists, but the FAA quickly added the restriction of unauthorized use near airports for security reasons. There’s even talk about implementing drone detection systems. With hundreds of reports of drones flying too close to aircraft including the British Airways A320 that possibly had an encounter with one shortly before landing, drones and airports don’t mix.
Or do they?
The French civil aviation authority has granted Charles de Gaulle International Airport as well as Paris-Le Bourget Airport permission to use drones. The drones are used to help with inspections and maintenance, and assist with the calibration of air navigation assistance instruments.
Low cost carrier easyJet employs drones to assist with maintenance and pre-flight safety checks.
The drones at the airports aren’t free to roam the skies. They’ve been given special tethers that provide the control tower real-time data on their locations, unlimited power supply so they don’t conk out over an active taxiway, and ensure safety in the case that the drone operator goes a little nuts.
It may not be long before airports in other countries allow drones to work there, as long as they are on leashes. Do you foresee them being used here at airports in the United States?