U.K. Man Convicted for Dangerous Operation of UAV


The hammer has been brought down on a U.K. man who lost control of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near a nuclear submarine facility.

Robert Knowles is the first person in the U.K. to be convicted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for dangerously operating a recreational UAV, according to an article by The Guardian.

Knowles has been fined roughly $1,327, in addition to an order to pay costs of about $5,807. He pleaded guilty to flying a UAV within 50 meters of the Jubilee Bridge and over the BAE System submarine-testing facility.

The television-repair shop owner explains that he lost radio contact with his UAV, and video from the on-board camera indicates that the aircraft continued flying for more than 3 minutes. Knowles says he has years of experience flying the drone and does not know why the radio failed.

The UAV eventually crashed in the Walney channel. Workers from the nuclear facility were able to procure the drone and give it to law enforcement officials. Knowles' name and address are on aircraft.

Recreational UAV use is legal in the U.K., providing that the activity occurs away from urban areas and raised structures. Commercial UAV operations require clearance from the CAA.

Read the full Guardian article here.

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