80% of drone airprox reports are misclassified by the UK Airprox Board
Following a Freedom of Information Act request, the UK Airprox Board, the official body which collates airprox (‘near miss’) reports from pilots, described the process they use for classifying a drone airprox:
the Board adopts a pragmatic approach wherein if a pilot can positively identify the object as a drone (e.g. number of rotors, recognition of a particular type) then the reporter’s identification is taken at face-value. If a reporter can only describe the object in generic terms (e.g. a rectangular object) then the UKAB classify it as an unknown object.
Airprox 2018089 – ‘Drone’
Airprox 2018222 – ‘Drone’
Airprox 2018275 – ‘Drone’
Simon Dale of Airprox Reality Check said “Using the UK Airprox Board’s own stated ‘approach’, more than 80% of drone airproxes should in fact have been published as ‘Unknown Object’. In other words, in the last two years the UKAB’s figure is in fact forty three drone airprox reports, not two hundred and sixteen. The rest are literally UFO reports.”
“The UK Airprox Board must reclassify all of their more than three hundred and fifty published drone airprox reports and notify the Minister for Aviation as soon as possible. New legislation which will come into force in November is based on this incorrect data and it is essential that this is corrected before the change is implemented and irreparable harm is done to the drone industry, model flying community and, in the longer term, the whole aviation industry.” said Mr Dale.
ABOUT AIRPROX REALITY CHECK:
Airprox Reality Check (www.airproxrealitycheck.org) was formed as a response to the misrecording of drone airproxes in the UK, and the resulting economic and societal damage this is causing. It analyses drone airprox reports using a series of filters and awards each one a ‘Reality Score’.
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