Drone Flying
Why Would A Drone Shut Down An Airport?

Why Would A Drone Shut Down An Airport?

Why Would A Drone Shut Down An Airport? Interesting stats you should know

Over 1.3 million drones have been registered with the Federal Aviation Administration as of today, according to statistics. 

There has been a massive increase in drone registrations since the law requiring their registration was approved by voters in 2016. This number only goes to show how dangerous these flying machines are becoming to the aviation industry.

Drones can be used for a variety of exciting purposes, including agriculture, filmmaking, police patrolling, and more. Even if these flying machines are used as a hobby, they can still be dangerous. 

Everything you need to know about drones closing airports and how it happened will be covered in this article.

So, what would cause an airport to be closed because of a drone?

It is possible for a drone to shut down an airport, even if it is only flying in a restricted area once in a while. Due to the fact that drones are capable of delivering explosives, the airport will be closed.

If you’re interested in learning more about how drones are shutting down airports, keep reading. Also, take a look at this quick video to see where you can legally fly a drone.

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World's biggest drone related shutdown

Until recently, what was the most significant drone-related shutdown?
The largest airport closure caused by a drone It is estimated that more than 140,000 commercial and economic passengers have been affected by the drone problem. 

A wide range of viewpoints can be expressed on this subject. 

A drone could shut down an entire airport system for days because of these numbers.

What prompted the public’s attention to the fact that drones were closing airports?
The Gatwick airport drone incident was what first brought attention to the problem. 

Passengers rushing to make Christmas season dates between December 19 and December 21 of 2008 were particularly hard hit by this tragedy.

In response to reports of drones flying near its runway, Gatwick Airport, one of the busiest in the United Kingdom, was closed for two days. A total of 1,000 planes were grounded or diverted as a result of the shutdown, affecting 140,000 passengers. 

Greater regulation of drone use may give us a false sense of security, but it will do nothing to improve our safety in the long term. In light of the incident at Gatwick, it would be unwise and counterproductive to rush into new regulations.

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What is it about drones that can cause such havoc at the Airport ?

Every 45 seconds, Heathrow or JFK airports moves a plane onto or off its runways because of the just-in-time nature of airport operations.

If planes have to reroute, a drone could disrupt the current flow. Air traffic controllers must exercise caution if they spot a drone because they have no idea what it will do or where it will fly.

Is it even possible that drones were used at Gatwick and Heathrow Airport?

It’s hard to say for sure, but the odds are in your favour. 

Two people arrested in connection with the incident were released without charge after a Sussex police officer said before Christmas that there was a “possibility” no drone was present at Gatwick. 

However, during the Gatwick shutdown, 67 sightings were reported. Heathrow was forced to close after a BBC cameraman claimed to have seen a drone(Source)

Why are Drones dangerous to an aircraft

A manned aircraft faces two main threats from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Radio signalling is very effective for controlling the drones because they are piloted remotely from metres away. 

There is a risk that these radio signals will interfere with manned aircraft’s signals. If the pilot loses control of the plane due to this, it could result in a crash.

Another, more serious danger is that these drones are capable of being as lethal as an arrow shot at a bird. If this were to happen, the drone would collide with the plane, possibly causing it to crash. 

Drones can carry explosives, which makes them a danger if flown over people or buildings. Drone usage has increased in tandem with an increase in close calls between aircraft and drones, according to many journalists.

This is why all flights are immediately grounded when a drone is spotted near a runway at an airport. This is for the safety of the passengers as well as the airline companies themselves. 

There are a lot of pilots who want an in-depth look at the real-world effects of a drone strike on an aircraft. Manufacturers typically conduct these tests using birds because using drones would be prohibitively expensive.

How come a drone can't be flown near an airport?

As per FAA Regulations as  manned aircraft cannot see and avoid a drone while flying, pilots of unmanned aircraft should avoid flying near airports. 

Keep in mind that drone operators must avoid flying near manned aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazards their drones may cause in an airport( Source).

Drone operators must obtain an airspace authorisation prior to flying. Altitude restrictions and other operational provisions may be part of an airspace authorisation. FAA’s  B4UFLY app lists restricted airspace and other flying restrictions.

How simple is it to fly a drone in violation of geo-fencing restrictions?

It’s a piece of cake. When using GPS-powered “restricted zones,” drone manufacturers like DJI in China prevent users from flying over airports, prisons, and sporting venues. 

Even so, users who contact the company with the appropriate authorisation can have the restrictions removed – and companies like Russia’s Coptersafe will remove the restrictions for a fee.

The patchwork of local, national, and international laws makes it difficult for companies to know their obligations, and some drone models lack the GPS control needed to perform any sort of gating. Other drone manufacturers do not implement these restrictions

Why do they fly over airports when there is nothing they can do about it?

However, in an airport, jamming the signals used to control the drone poses a risk of damaging other critical communications.


Endangering people by flying a drone illegally can result in a five-year prison sentence, but police have found it very difficult to identify operators of drones that have been spotted by pilots, hence the calls for a mandatory register of drones and their users and for “geo-fencing.”.

Drone dangers to airport infrastructure

The real danger that these drone attacks pose to airport infrastructure is one of financial loss. International airport disruptions lasting 30 minutes can cost tens of thousands of dollars, according to incident statistics. 

Drones hovering over the runway and near-misses between manned aircraft are just a few of the new types of attacks that have emerged.

Another problem is that the reports of sightings are sometimes inaccurate. It would be inefficient if a person’s report of seeing a hovering balloon resulted in an airport being closed. In the future, airports will need precise protocols for detecting and responding to drone sightings around their perimeter, as a result.

The measures taken to combat drones disrupting flights at airports illegally
This is a hotly debated subject, so we know how to stop the drones from flying over airports as efficiently as possible. 

Studies are being conducted to see if a “sky fence” can be implemented. When drones are detected, this system disables radio communications. 

The remote pilot will lose control of the drone if the signal is interrupted. Since airport systems rely on radio signals to operate, this system is typically ineffective.

Geo-fencing restrictions were used as an alternative strategy. Major drone manufacturers, like DJI, have implemented this GPS-powered system. When you buy a DJI drone, it won’t fly into any of the company’s restricted zones. To put it another way: the operator can’t fly over places like airports, stadiums, or prisons.

This feature can be unlocked by drone owners if they have the proper authorisation. Only with the proper authorisation and for a limited period of time can some companies remove the restricted zones.

Today, a large percentage of these machines are owned by hobbyists. Hobbyists who build model aeroplanes must follow a set of rules for the sake of the general public. Among them is flying their drones below 400 feet and away from passenger planes’ flight paths.

Is there any other way to deal with a misbehaving drone?

Various methods have been investigated by authorities all over the world. One of the simplest is to use a cannon on the ground to fire a nettat the offending drone, or a second drone to drop it ?.  Here are 3 most effective ways to deal with Drone attacks to the airports and public places.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Jammers

There are ways to jam a drone signal if you need something more stealthy than physical interception. One such solution is the Anti-UAV Defense System (AUDS). A high-powered radio signal jams drone control signals as they fly overhead.

The DroneDefender is another option if you want something more portable. Targeted radio signals are used by this anti-drone rifle to disrupt drone control systems. It’s very similar to how the AUDS works.

Lasers that Blind Drones

Drone laser jammers are similar to anti-drone lasers in that they both block radio transmissions from the drones. However, they interfere with a drone’s camera rather than its control signals.

Because digital cameras rely on a light sensor to capture visual data, flooding the sensor with too much light will cause it to malfunction and fail.

Have you ever walked out the door after filming yourself from inside your house? Everything goes completely black for a split second. 

To put it another way, that’s basically how a blinding laser works. An inexpensive, low-powered laser pointer and some accuracy are all you’d need.

However, exercise caution. It’s against the law to point lasers at the sky, for fear of blinding an aeroplane pilot by accident. When experimenting with lasers, extreme care must be taken. However, if you’re set on using a short-range laser, there are still risks involved, so we don’t recommend it.

Aerial Drone Detection Technologies

Unmanned drones are tracked and countered using drone detection systems. They operate by sending a signal to the drone and then receiving its reflection. They can calculate the precise location of the drone using this information.

Drone detection systems come in a wide range of configurations, each with their own set of features and operational methodologies. As we saw from above, jammers operate by emitting electromagnetic waves that interfere with the drone’s ability to communicate with its operators.

Acoustic Sensors are a subset of drone detection systems that listen for the drone’s unique sound signature.

Well , Why not? Simply shoot down the drone?

Since the drones  aren’t bulletproof, drones can be brought down quickly with a well-placed shot. In sensitive areas like airports, however, police are reluctant to use lethal force for obvious reasons: bullets are dangerous both on the way down and up, and collateral damage from a missed shot is high. 

And the likelihood of missing a shot is quite high. Only a skilled marksman will be able to take down a small drone travelling at close to 50 miles per hour.

Although this is the case, police armed with long-range rifles have reportedly been stationed along the runway in case a trespassing drone approaches.

What would be the best way to find the person who operated the machine?

Long-distance drones use a powerful radio connection to stay in touch with their pilot.

 A directional antenna can be used to follow the signal back to the operator, but only while the device is in use.  The operator, it appears, is aware of that fact, the police have discovered their drone

An airport police chief, said, “Every time we think we’re getting close to the operator, the drone disappears. A drone reappears whenever we try to reopen the airfield, for some reason.

Final Thoughts


Drone threats range from radio frequency interference to drug smuggling so far.

The use of drones will become more common as a result of statistics predicting an increase in threats. Most people who use drones have no idea what they’re doing or where they’re flying them, and they’re only doing it for entertainment purposes.
When it comes to public places, using a drone over a stadium or airport is strictly prohibited.

In the vicinity of an airport, flying a drone carries a number of dangers. This is because airports and other government-controlled airspace are off-limits to the general public.

These measures are being taken to ensure the safety of everyone in the affected areas, as well as everyone in the surrounding area.

The community of drone pilots should also take the lead and ensure that even hobbyist pilots are aware of these threats.

This can be accomplished by utilising a variety of current communication tools.

Because the future is in our hands, we must guard against the misuse of this incredible tool.

Once you’ve learned everything there is to know about drones, you’ll understand why knowing the rules is so crucial.

The last thing anyone wants is for civilisation to come to an end and miss out on all the opportunities it provided.

Is there anything that would happen if a drone was to collide with a plane?

It’s possible it’ll be harmful. Drone researchers at the University of Dayton Research Institute tried to shoot down a plane at nearly 400 kph with a 1 kg commercial drone but the results were disastrous. The wing’s leading edge had torn apart due to the force of the impact. The wing and the drone were chosen by the researchers because they were similar to those found on standard planes and in readily available drones.

Can drones that fly over airports be stopped?

Yes, in theory. However, in reality, it’s a bit of a challenge. Traditional radar cannot detect drones because they are too small. As a result, they have to be seen to be stopped, which makes any action slow and inaccurate.

Dozens of police officers were sent to search for the drones during the incidents at London’s airports.

Are there any safeguards in place for travellers at airports right now?

After the incident at Gatwick, the airport spent £1 million on a new security system. It has a radio jammer and 360-degree radar and thermal imaging systems. Several systems like this are in place at airports all over the world.

A 30-nautical-mile network of radio jammers at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., for example, is used to try to keep drones out of the airport’s airspace.

Deliberate attacks, on the other hand, can get around these defences. The only way to stop them without risking collateral damage is to prevent people with bad intentions from getting their hands on drones.

Flying near airports already has very strict rules set by the FAA, and adding more rules won’t prevent accidental infractions of those rules.

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