back to article Essex drone snapper dealt with by police for steamy train photos

A drone photographer who took pictures of the Tornado steam engine has been given a community punishment by Essex Police in the UK – after Network Rail complained his craft was being flown too close to a railway line. The force said in a statement that the 28-year-old man from Kirby Cross, who it declined to name, "was dealt …

  1. usbac

    "Only our team of highly trained authorised pilots and specialist-approved contractors are permitted to fly drones near the railway. It's just too dangerous for anyone else to fly a drone near the railway and you could face a penalty of up to £2,500."

    So, in other words: We need to protect our cushy revenue sharing agreement we have with the ''approved contractors''.

    I get it!

    1. ideapete
      Pint

      De railed plod

      Plod belts photog to protect master

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Those "approved contractors" spend many hours in a class room being told not to fly the drone into or near the train they then take a test with the following multiple choice question.

      What should you not fly a drone near or into?

      A. The Sky

      B. An empty Field

      C. A Train

      D. A printing shop where you have exclusive pictures that network rail can sell giving you a cut.

      Once you pass you get an "I'm allowed to make money for Network Rail" badge.

    3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Mr. Prosser: Do you know how much damage this train would suffer if it hit your drone?

      Arthur: How much?

      Mr. Prosser: None at all.

      1. Mark 110 Silver badge

        Having seen first hand the damage a soft fleshy human body did to the front of a Virgin train - there wasn't much of the windscreen left (and me subsequently getting home to Liverpool at 3am instead of 10pm) can we please keep anything vaguely solid away from the front of a train please.

        I appreciate your snarky comments about self interested railways just wanting to maximize revenue streams . . . but if I was piloting 300 tonnes of metal at 120 mph I would appreciate people not flying bits of metal around in my vicinity that just might end up hitting my eyes at said speed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Agreed but then that applies to Network Rail "authorised" pilots too.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          but if I was piloting 300 tonnes of metal at 120 mph

          Piloting? Not like you need to steer the bastard.

          I am yet to have witnessed a British train travel at 120mph and it's unlikely this one was.

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Someone's managed it and he's licensed, but only by the CAA it seems.

      1. Pedigree-Pete
        Pint

        Tornado by Drone

        @Dan55. Thanks for posting that link. Great view and good steady camera work. Though I doubt he got within the 150mtrs specified by the 2016 act so no harm done. :)

        But have one on me for the post >>

        EDIT> Having been pointed to Article 95 I see my error. He was also nowhere near 50mtrs of the "vehicle".

      2. captain semtex

        Legal drone snapped rogue drone??

        Nice link @Dan 55... but look in the top right quadrant between timestamp 0:36 and 0:54... is that the rogue drone in question??

  2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Fair cop?

    It's not entirely clear what actual offence he has been nicked for. Police say "within 50 metres of other people and property out of their control" but that doesn't seem to be what the law actually prohibits.

    Perhaps he did break the law but it wouldn't be the first time someone has admitted guilt and taken a caution or punishment when they could have been found not guilty of an offence if the matter were taken to court.

    1. James Turner

      Re: Fair cop?

      Article 95 lists the 50 metres rule if you don't have a licence that exempts you.

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: Fair cop?

        Article 95

        Thanks. It would have helped if the article had pointed to that rather than the CAA Dronecode which references something else.

    2. Peter Christy

      Re: Fair cop?

      He was charged for a breach of the Air Navigation Order - basically the law that covers all man-made flying objects in the UK. Model aircraft operate under specific exemptions from the ANO, the main ones being not flying over people or property which are not under your control, within certain distances of buildings or other property, or above certain heights (depending on location).

      Above all, the main rule is not allowing your aircraft to endanger people or property.

      Far too many idiots are getting hold of drones - which unlike model aircraft, require little skill to operate - and using them in totally inappropriate locations. I've had one flying very low over my house - close enough to hear it over the TV - before it zoomed off to track the nearby steam railway.

      Some of these drones are big and heavy, and could cause serious injury or major damage. A little bit of action by the powers that be is to be applauded in this instance.

      I was, however, amused to note that NR had a "Head of Air Operations"!

      Really??!!

      --

      Pete

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fair cop?

        'I was, however, amused to note that NR had a "Head of Air Operations"!'

        Perhaps all this drone talk is causing them to reboot the nuclear powered flying saucer project

      2. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: Fair cop?

        Back in the day after a storm say men on little engines which can be lifted on and off the rails whose name I will remember would have to trundle along sections checking them. The same thing happens in NZ after earthquakes to check things like no rock fall in tunnels.

        I imagine a lot of that work, at greater speed and area coverage could be done via helicopter. So if I were running NR (in my dreams) if they don't already do that I would strongly recommend they do so.

        Those little engines are the motorised equivalent of the same much beloved of Westerns with two men and see-saw handle.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > little engines which can be lifted on and off the rails whose name I will remember

          "Jigger". And the see-saw handle ones are definitely the most fun kind.

          1. Spasticus Autisticus
            Coat

            Mongo

            Perfect handle for:

            "Campdown ladies sing this song, do dah, do dah" - while on a Jigger (oh dear that's so close, 'my Gandmother was Dutch').

            I'm sorry, I'll go for some correction now.

        2. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Fair cop?

          I imagine a lot of that work, at greater speed and area coverage could be done via helicopter.

          Have you ever seen National Grid inspecting power lines by helicopter? They come around here occasionally and it's almost like being at an aerobatics display.

          M.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Re: Fair cop?

            @Martin an gof

            Have you ever seen National Grid inspecting power lines by helicopter?

            ..power line inspection and repair by helicopter

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tzga6qAaBA

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x94BH9TUiHM

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Martyn 1

        Re: Fair cop?

        Re:

        I was, however, amused to note that NR had a "Head of Air Operations"!

        Really??!!

        They use Helicopters to fly the tracks using Infra red cameras to check for heat discrepancies in the points & joints, so not that surprising really.

    3. Mike007

      Re: Fair cop?

      He was not operating under the rules for non-commercial drone operators. He was selling the photos, that means he was flying a commercial aircraft without a license. That's the law he probably wouldn't be confident arguing about in court.

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: Fair cop?

        He was selling the photos

        But was he flying with intent to obtain photos to sell (commercial use at the time) or was he flying as a hobbyist (non-commercial use at the time) and only decided he had photographs which could be sold after that flight had finished?

        I don't know but I would expect it to be something a lawyer would argue to create reasonable doubt if the evidence that it was commercial and intended as such isn't there.

        The police report seems to suggest it was proximity regulations he had broken and the commercial use was secondary. That's why I earlier said it wasn't exactly clear what the actual offence was.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    New Steam Engines

    Tornado is unique because it is the only British steam engine ever to have been built in the 21st century, following decades of public fundraising

    There are several other new builds on their way.

    These are links to just three of them

    http://www.82045.org.uk/news/82045_news-sep17.html

    http://www.4709.org.uk/pages/LatestNews.html

    https://www.p2steam.com/

    This last one is being done by the same people who built Tornado.

    I suspect that there will be plenty more drone pictures of these and Flying Scotsman being offered for sale in the not too distant future.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: New Steam Engines

      Having visited the National Rail Museum in York twice in the last decade to see how much of the Flying Scotsman was left (basucally a coupe of wheels) as the rest was being rebuilt as part of the "major refit" then I'd say there's an argument that the current FS a steam engine built in the 21C!

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: New Steam Engines

      Plenty of narrow gauge steam locomotive have been built this century as well. The "decades of public fundraising" claim is bit dodgy too, since work started four years after fundraising began and was finished fifteen years after that. Oh, and the single biggest component - the boiler - was built in Germany.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: New Steam Engines

        The "decades of public fundraising" claim is bit dodgy too

        Not really - they are still raising funds to buy the tender which is currently leased from the company that made it. The boiler was made in the former East Germany because they have experience in modern boiler design. It's welded and stainless steel IIRC, which should make it last a lot longer than a traditional boiler, and best of all the Prince of Wales (the p2 in the links above) that they are building is designed to use exactly the same boiler pattern so they will be interchangeable.

        My son, a big steam fan, actually put some Christmas money towards buying a few small bits for the Prince of Wales.

        A couple of weekends ago we met Tornado and Flying Scotsman at the Barrowhill shed. Impressive (apart from FS's whistle, which is frankly a bit pathetic)

        M.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just take the photo's from public land like on a bridge and with the required distance. You probably don't even need the drone.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      The problem is that these (and many other unsuitable locations) are now getting very crowded when special trains are known to pass. They've stopped announcing the exact timings of Flying Scotsman services because of people putting themselves in danger trying to take photos.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "Just take the photo's from public land like on a bridge and with the required distance. You probably don't even need the drone."

      I use a fibreglass painter's pole with a camera mount on top to get elevated photos. Works a treat and doesn't require a license.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > I use a fibreglass painter's pole

        Little known fact: although everyone just assumes that the painters of fibreglass would be members of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass, owing to a long-running dispute about the essence of fibreglass their Guild is actually Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Protecting commercial revenues.

    This is more about protecting commercial revenues, setting a precedent for that (paid aerial drone photographs), than any real safety issue. I could maybe understand if something had happened (hit an overhead electicity cable etc) but nothing did. Complete waste of Police resources, and we as taxpayers are all paying for this pointless head clipping.

    And yet, in other news, a girl aged 17 can't even walk back home a night in London without being sexually assaulted. So sad, that will blight her for life. The drone incident will be forgotten about tomorrow.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Protecting commercial revenues.

      The first half of your comment is correct except for the overhead electricity as it's a steam train.

      The second half while sad belongs somewhere else, in case you hadn't noticed this is an IT related website so that would not be reported here anyway so any correlation isn't valid.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Protecting commercial revenues.

        The first half of your comment is correct except for the overhead electricity as it's a steam train.

        The line running past Kirby Cross is electrified, and the overhead lines aren't going away or even get switched off when a non-electric unit is running.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Protecting commercial revenues.

          I stand corrected.

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Protecting commercial revenues.

      "This is more about protecting commercial revenues ... waste of Police resources"

      Pretty much sums up British Transport Police, a Police force that exists to protect the revenue of a few private monopolies.

    3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Protecting commercial revenues.

      This is more about protecting commercial revenues, setting a precedent for that (paid aerial drone photographs), than any real safety issue.

      It's good to see how many people who actually fly are chipping in and making sensible comments here.

      Oh, wait: I'm guessing the AC who started this thread isn't a pilot.

      Every time something like this comes up, we get the same arguments... nothing happened so there was no issue, plod being plod, just let people do what they want, little thing like that couldn't hurt a nasty great steam engine, or a plane, blah, blah, blah...

      Those rules are there for a reason. Safety - of the pilot in command, of other airspace users, and people and objects on the ground. In this case, there was no *direct* safety issue - but so what? It takes a moment's inattention in *any* aircraft to get into trouble; sometimes that trouble is painful, crippling, or fatal. It matters not one whit that "it's only a little thing, a couple of kilos or so"; trust me; meeting one of them mid-air will ruin your whole day. So will one falling on your head, or coming through your window.

      Sure, most of the rules are just common sense: keep your distance from people and things. Drive on the right if you're following a feature like a road or railway. Maintain your altitude. Keep a good lookout for other stuff in your airspace. Turn right to avoid a collision. Doesn't mean that's a reason to scorn them...

      Non-commercial pilots from model planes through foot-launched to GA stuff are exempted from the majority of the provisions of the ANO, but as soon as you decide to operate commercially, then the appropriate considerations apply. Airspace in general, and UK airspace in particular, is complex and busy. A glance at an air map will show you that; on the south-east UK map, somewhat under half the surface is class G. The rest of it - you can't fly there without making the appropriate arrangements. Do you know where they are? If not, why not?

      My friend: if you're going to be sharing airspace with me, I want to be bloody certain that you both know and follow the rules. Because flying is fun, but also highly risky.

  6. DropBear Silver badge

    My heart bleeds for the savagely and cruelly menaced railway personnel and their officially anointed contractor cronies. Not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ DropBear

      F*** you mate.

      People working on the railway (or anywhere) should be entitled to go about their daily job without any ADDITIONAL risk of death or injury over and above the aspects that are inherent and unavoidable, and even then their employer has a very clear duty of care.

      Sorry if that seems a bit aggressive, but I feel really strongly about this. I'm pretty right wing, even reactionary, but the day to day jobs that keep the human world tuning are done by people on low salaries and crap wages. The people who bash railway ballast back under the line, the people who scrape white collar workers' toilets clean, the people who maintain armco on the highways, why should they have to risk injury or death just doing a pretty poorly rewarded job?

      I'm not asking you to socialise with these people (I don't), but at least accept that they should not be additionally endangered in their job by twat-head drone operators - or for that matter people speeding through roadworks, or other incremental hazard behaviours.

      Alright. I retract and apologise for the "f*** you", but perhaps you might display a bit more humility about inflicting additional risk on other people? Please?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ DropBear

        That's a bit at odds with the Tory vision of removing workers rights and safety laws once we get out of Europe.

        Maybe you're not as right wing as you believe, you would also be surprised at a lot of these people you don't socialise with as some of them are highly educated. The uneducated one's are from the UK.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        why should they have to risk injury or death just doing a pretty poorly rewarded job?

        You're right, they shouldn't. The disagreement centres over the reasoning for what is legally considered a safe distance. Why does a drone have to fly 150m away or even 50m for it to be considered safe? IMO most drones could be operated safely closer than this, provided you exercise care and common sense.

        Most times a drone fail will mean it drops like a stone. If a rotor is lost it will spin out of control, but the operator should know to cut the power. If drones would automatically power off in this situation they could safely operate in a more confined space.

        The public persona of drone hobbyists is being damaged by a minority of amateurs who flagrantly endanger other people, while more experienced flyers are probably more skilled than some licenced drone operators.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "You're right, they shouldn't. The disagreement centres over the reasoning for what is legally considered a safe distance. Why does a drone have to fly 150m away or even 50m for it to be considered safe? IMO most drones could be operated safely closer than this, provided you exercise care and common sense.

          "

          Go to YouTube, search on "Drone fail" and see what happens.

          "The public persona of drone hobbyists is being damaged by a minority of amateurs who flagrantly endanger other people, while more experienced flyers are probably more skilled than some licenced drone operators."

          Yes, that's true. But the licensed operator had passed their test and might possibly be insured against accidents. It's not that hard to get the license and it shows that you are serious about what you are doing. Race car drivers don't need a license on the race course and can be much better drivers as they have trained to anticipate and react to their environment much more quickly, but they'd still need a license to drive on the motorway. That's shouldn't be an issue if they've studied up on driving codes.

          1. PM from Hell

            Rcing licence

            I think you will find that racing divers are required to hold a licence from the BRDC. This determines what events they are allowed to compete in, what warning logos need to be displayed on the car etc. A racing driver also has to abide by racing regulations and point can be added to the license for breaching the rule see. This can result in a ban. Ra ing cars are also scrutinised for conformance to safety rules. Even amateur track days have rules and drivers are black flagged for breaking them

            1. Orv Silver badge

              Re: Rcing licence

              The same is effectively true in the US -- while closed-course auto racing here is basically unregulated by the government, the only way to get liability insurance for it is to go through a sanctioning body like the SCCA. They have their own licensing requirements. These often include limitations on the power of vehicles driven by inexperienced drivers, making them rather more strict than on-road driver's licenses. It's much like aircraft, where you need a certain amount of time at the controls before you can be checked out in something faster and harder to handle.

  7. gypsythief

    Ha, haaaa, ha ha ha! Ha, ha ha! Hee ha, ha *cough* *splutter*, ha ha ha ha ha!

    "If you witness what you believe to be a dangerous use of a drone please contact 101"

    Where upon you'll get some bored operative who'll tell you "well, if we see it again, we might do something about it. But only if we see it again..."

    They couldn't give a flying drone fart.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Ha, haaaa, ha ha ha! Ha, ha ha! Hee ha, ha *cough* *splutter*, ha ha ha ha ha!

      You pay to call 101 as I found out when I did my civic duty upon happening across a drug deal going down behind my our garages. 80p it cost me to give them the reg plate of an a dealer's car. Why does this feel wrong?

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Ha, haaaa, ha ha ha! Ha, ha ha! Hee ha, ha *cough* *splutter*, ha ha ha ha ha!

        Shouldn't have done; 101 is fixed fee 15p per call. Ask for a refund.

        Crime in progress (where there's a realistic sense of urgency, so not a call center scam) should be 999.

  8. JaitcH
    FAIL

    Banned in Britain

    Britain is ruled by Nannies!

    What business is it of the CAA, an agency that has a pro-air industry bias, just what the hell is sold? Whether a flight, lawful or otherwise, results in a commercial transaction doesn't affect safety. So what is their nose doing in that part of the business?

    It is unlikely the train was in any form of danger, irrespective of the legality of the flight, given the size ratio and the fact the train is of sturdy construction.

    Next time the UAV operator will know to obfuscate any connection between a flight and the sale of some of product.

    It's not as if Plod doesn't have real crimes to solve - but low hanging fruit is the easiest way to bolster their reputation.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Banned in Britain

      Yes, it was unlikely that the train was in any danger. That isn't the point really.

      The Drone regulations are there to protect the people on the ground from drones flown by twats that fall out of the sky.

      Also, you need a proper drone operators license if you want to make money from the photos. i.e you are a professional photographer.

      As soon as you start charging for pictures all sorts of Jobsworths get in your way and then the Inland Revenue want their cut.

      As a photographer myself, I have no time for these plonkers. They are making life more difficult for every other photographer. All it needs is for one child to get injured and the kneejerk reaction of Whitehall will be to ban all of us even if we don't use drones.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Banned in Britain

        The Drone regulations are there to protect the people on the ground from drones flown by twats that fall out of the sky.

        Indeed, I'd rather not have a twat drop out of the sky on top of me, irrespective of whether he's controlling a drone at that moment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Banned in Britain

          I'm not sure that's what Vitalstatistix meant.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Banned in Britain

      There has to be a line drawn somewhere to avoid aerial anarchy and much of the first world has put one line at how a drone is being used. If it's for a commercial purpose, there isn't any reason why a pilot shouldn't be licensed. If you like to fly as a hobby, there are also guidelines to follow on a less formal basis. Flying on a club field or in an area that isn't being used by other people is a good start. The bleedin' things are annoying as hell.

  9. RichardPH

    Drone down

    This is the sort of thing that a mis-piloted drone can result in. Being yankee land the threat of litigation probably weighs heavier than the fear of an extremely unlikely minor fine.

    http://www.cyclingweekly.com/videos/watch/watch-drone-crashes-cyclist-mid-race

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Drone down

      I was expecting the camera being used was going to crash into someone, when that cyclist went acrobatic I was wondering what the hell had happened at first!

  10. Craig100

    A Part Time Drone Pilot's Perspective

    I fly one of these things. I certainly wouldn't want one dropping on my head from any height at all. The issue with getting close to HV lines (rail or otherwise) is interference. There's a significant risk of a "fly away". I've been flying one, on and off, for about 3 years and to be honest, it's getting embarrassing. Never want anyone seeing me fly it in case some busybody calls the cops. I'm insured, always carry a copy of the ANO with me and always fly legally and safe. There'd be no issue in the end, but just an awkward conversation between someone who's fully cognisant of the situation and another who isn't but bent on dispensing ritual humiliation. One day I'll take the course and maybe get permission to do paid work (which, to be clear, I don't do!), but it's not cheap.

    1. Peter Christy

      Re: A Part Time Drone Pilot's Perspective

      Quite right! And there are lots of responsible drone pilots out there. But as usual, its a stupid minority getting all the publicity, and messing things up for others.

      I fly "conventional" R/C models, both fixed wing and helicopter. I carry substantial 3rd party insurance, just in the unlikely case that one of my models does go astray. I fly responsibly and in remote locations. But like all other enthusiasts, I am now being threatened with legislation which will require me to register all my models (no doubt at great expense!) and to notify the authorities of all the sites where I intend to fly them, just because of a few idiot drone pilots.

      The "powers that be" accept that ordinary r/c model enthusiasts are not the issue, but seem incapable of drafting a definition that distinguishes between "drones" and ordinary models.

      The idiots flying these things in public places and around prominent landmarks deserve all they get, and it is refreshing to see at least one police force waking up to the problem.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: A Part Time Drone Pilot's Perspective

        The "powers that be" accept that ordinary r/c model enthusiasts are not the issue, but seem incapable of drafting a definition that distinguishes between "drones" and ordinary models.

        How would classify the difference? More than two props?

  11. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    To those say they're not dangerous

    Have you actually ever flown any sort of drone? Cheap drones can be very dangerous.

    Very expensive drones have a lot of safety features built in, self correcting, safe-land, return-to-base, video feedback and easier to control. The cheaper end of the market are the ultra-cheap stunt drones. When I first started to play with drones I learned using a cheap £50 stunt drone. They have no safety features, next to no self-correction and are almost 100% manual control and take a serious amount of concentration. My first drone was a small 6" model, learning to get it up in the air it once shot across the floor straight into my legs and left me with tiny cuts and bruises on my shins. When the battery cut out you had 15 secs to get it down out of the air or it would simply crash down. Now imagine one twice the size, falling from sky into a crowd of half a dozen people or more, someone is going to lose and eye or get some minor injuries.

    Not everyone buys state of the art pukka £1500+ drones with full video feedback, incredible self-correction and flight control, some people do it on the cheap and buy £200 jobbies off fleaBay that are almost completely manual and are very dangerous in the wrong hands. I love manual drones but you take them into the arse-end of nowhere so that no one else is around if something bad happens and you lose control, you don't fly them over a crowd watching a train!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To those say they're not dangerous

      Don't blame the tool.

      Learn to fly something tiny/light (E.G. Hubsan X4), put the time in to the point where you don't have to think what stick to move for what operation, go up in size and if eventually you find camera craft is your thing you will have innate ability to (hopefully) save it in a fix, buy "fully automated" from the start and you have no learnt ability to get out of a sticky situation.

      If someone bought a fast off-road motorbike then rode it first time (on any motorbike) in the park with people about they might expect issues, most sensible people don't do that, they progress in vehicle size (power) and well away from others. What you are basically saying is balancing on a bike is hard and dangerous buy a more expensive one that balances for you, then you are safer, er no, you have the illusion of being safer but are actually a greater risk to the public as you may have skipped ability steps.

  12. HKmk23

    I feel sorry,

    For all you poor buggers having to live in a police state.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: I feel sorry,

      Written from where, exactly?

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Yes, it's sad to see what Britain has come to

      when its people can no longer exercise their ancient right* to fly drones anywhere they please.

      *It's in the Magna Carta somewhere, isn't it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes, it's sad to see what Britain has come to

        @Francis Boyle, re: *It's in the Magna Carta somewhere, isn't it.

        Don't worry, there's a whole bunch of politicians currently salivating over how many rights they'll soon be able to take from Joe Public.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I feel sorry,

      It is true. It has never been the same since they decided people could not go around murdering others on a whim with impunity. That was the start of our slide down a long slippery slope. We should never have allowed that, should have seen what would come, but it is too late now.

      </sarcasm>

  13. ben kendim

    So go get a commercial license and tell the railway to go jump in a lake...

    Let me get this straight, if he were to get a CAA commercial drone operator license, then the railway would have no standing in the matter, right? (Unless he actually hit a train or landed on their tracks or right of way.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So go get a commercial license and tell the railway to go jump in a lake...

      Well the commercial drone pilot is still operating under the same 'rules of the air' as an unlicenced drone pilot. So could still infringe the 150 metre congested area or 50 m vehicle restriction.

  14. Orv Silver badge

    I saw a video recently from the US, of a drone flying around a freight train while it was in motion. At one point the pilot flew the drone alongside the engineer's side window for several seconds, until the engineer got annoyed and closed the window. It occurs to me that while the drone probably wasn't any kind of physical threat, it probably isn't the best idea to distract someone who's controlling something that weighs thousands of tons.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drones - too popular to ban outright, so let's just make them useless.

    Drones have a lot of uses, some commercial, some scientific, some personal, some artistic... but if you can only fly them nearby, away from any structures, roads, or people, there is very little that you can do with them, except fly around in circles.

    All the innovative and beneficial uses that a large population of users might develop are far less likely to occur.

    A bunch of amateurs doing what they enjoy can develop remarkable capabilities that we all benefit from. Most people are not aware that almost all the radio spectrum we use for a myriad uses was opened up by techniques developed by radio amateurs who were allowed to go play with little or no restriction in the 'useless' wavelengths shorter than 200 meters.

    In the absence of any demonstrated real world evidence, restrictive or draconian regulation is likely to do more harm than good.

    No human activity is completely safe. You can die from drinking water improperly. In the United States, 400 people a year die from taking penicillin. Every major construction project involves deaths, as does any power technology, and any transportation tech, and hospitals, and sports, and so on.

    Furthermore, basing policy on anecdotes rather than statistical data is much more often than not, a guaranteed way of getting bad policy.

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