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Drone Proliferation Puts Civil Aviation On The Spot

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Drone Proliferation Puts Civil Aviation On The Spot
Posted on June 22, 2016 by Wole Shadare
Drone
The rapid growth in drone use has increased concerns about safety and privacy. Curiously, regulators have been unable to keep pace, writes WOLE SHADARE

In the beginning

Until recently the domain of the military and a handful of hobbyists, play an increasing role in businesses, including agriculture, engineering and real estate. Still more untested uses are under consideration, such as using drones to deliver packages to customers.

Millions of consumers also are buying the machines and taking to the skies. The violation of airspace by the deployment of drones has raised concern over air travel and not a few said it is a matter of time before a drone causes an air disaster.

Incidents

Not long, a drone crashed into an Airbus A320 approaching Heathrow airport.

Thankfully, the plane landed intact, but the incident is the latest in a series of increasingly worrying events. Just last week, Dubai International Airport, said to be the world’s busiest airport for international travel, closed its airspace for 69 minutes due to unauthorised drone activity, causing 22 flights to be diverted, aviation authorities said.

Government-owned Dubai Airports, which operates Dubai’s two main airports, said in a statement the closure lasted between 11:36 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. (0639-0745 GMT), and Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths said thousands of passengers suffered disruption to their journeys.

Spokesperson for Dubai airport said 16 of the diverted flights went to Dubai World Central and Dubai’s other main airport. Dubai, a trade, tourism and investment hub for the Gulf region, is one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

 

Africa grounds drone usage

Across Africa, drones have been grounded because the governments don’t fully understand the technology, and amateur pilots don’t understand how to fly them properly. The regulation of drones in Africa is about more than if a machine can fly the skies of the continent unburdened; it forebears Africa’s relationship with new, disruptive technologies.

NCAA frets

In Nigeria, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) recently said it is worried about the use of drones in the country and has taken cognisance of the growing requests for the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) leading to its proliferation in Nigeria. The development of the use of RPA nationwide has emerged with somewhat predictable safety concerns and security threats. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is yet to publish Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), as far as certification and operation of civil use of RPA is concerned. NCAA has therefore put in place Regulations/Advisory Circular to  guide the certification and operations of civil RPA in the Nigerian airspace” The agency, through its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye reiterated that the NCAA would ensure that applicants and holders of permits to operate RPA/Drones must strictly be guided by safety guidelines while in addition; operators must ensure strict compliance with the conditions stipulated in their permits and the requirements of the Nig.CARs. Violators shall be sanctioned according to the dictates of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs). According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), there have been 23 incidents involving drones at UK airports over the past six months, including 12 “category A” near-miss scenarios – four of them in January alone. The threat isn’t restricted to British skies. The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) receives over 100 reports of drone incidents every month. One was reportedly seen flying over Los Angeles Airport at 8,000 feet – the altitude at which aircraft fly in a holding pattern.

Kenya shows concern

There is a general concern that without regulation, drones could be misused to create acts of unlawful interference, terrorism and other negative things,” said Capt. Gilbert Kibe, the Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. Kenya is developing drone regulations that will be two tiered, Kibe said. Recreational drone users will have less restriction, while commercial pilots will face higher barriers to fly.

Drone abuse in Europe, US

Last year, one was spotted over Istanbul Airport, the fifth busiest in the world, despite claims that the airport had been geofenced – that is, protected by an electronic exclusion zone that prevents the remotecontrolled craft from entering.

The White House has had drones flown onto the lawn, and French authorities reported over 60 incidents over their nuclear facilities between October 2014 and February 2015. Meanwhile, the global UAS (unmanned air system) market is predicted to grow 33 per cent to around $6 billion by 2020.

What started as a niche pursuit has turned into something potentially far more serious. So as their number is only going to increase and a serious crash is not beyond the realms of possibility. In the UK, the CAA has mandated that drone should be within direct, unaided, line of sight of the pilot. Experts said they should also be no higher than 400 feet above the ground, and 500 metres from the operator.

Drones need to remain more than 150 metres away from congested areas, and should not be flown directly above people, vehicles, vessels and property, unless those persons are “under the control of the person in charge of the drone”.

Unsurprisingly, these rules are constantly and flagrantly flouted. Internationally, most aviation authorities are trying to enforce similar regulations – but with equally limited success.

The problem is mainly one of detection: air traffic control radar systems are designed to identify large aircraft,  not tiny drones flying at low altitudes at up to 45mph. IATA cries out The Director-General of International Air Transport Association (IATA), Tony Tyler, said drones flown by the general public are “a real and growing threat” to civilian aircraft. Tyler called for drone regulations to be put in place before any serious accidents occur.

He said the threat posed by unmanned aerial vehicles is still evolving. “I am as excited as you are about the prospect of having pizza delivered by a drone,” he told a conference in Singapore recently. “But we cannot allow [drones] to be a hindrance or safety threat to commercial aviation,” said Tyler.

“The issue is real. We have plenty of pilot reports of drones where they were not expected, particularly at low altitudes around airports,” he added.

“There is no denying that there is a real and growing threat to the safety of civilian aircraft coming from drones. “We need a sensible approach to regulation and a pragmatic method of enforcement for those who disregard rules and regulations and put others in danger.”

Drones were recently involved in four serious near-misses at UK airports, the UK Air Proximity Board said lasat January. The board, which investigates near-miss incidents in UK airspace, said a drone had come very close to colliding with a Boeing 737 that had taken off from Stansted airport. IATA’s primary concern is drones flying at low altitudes near airports that could threaten planes taking off or landing.

US floats guidelines

Aviation regulators also want to make sure that the radio spectrum used to control the drones does not interfere with air traffic control systems, he said. Last December, the US government set up a registration system for Americans who own drones. Anyone who has a drone must register with the Federal Aviation Administration before the device takes its first flight.

Owners have been told to register their details or face being fined. The move comes after several reported incidents of drones hindering emergency services’ efforts in fighting fires and other dangers.

Conclusion

Drone experts say that regulations are necessary, but that there is a way to target the problem without stifling innovation. They argued that despite the threat they pose to civil aviation, pilots are flying anyway. Restrictions, they said can be put on flying around airports or major cities, for example, but still allow for drones to fly in the rest of the country.

Drone Proliferation Puts Civil Aviation On The Spot

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Buhari returns to Nigeria after weeks of medical trip to the UK

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Buhari returns to Nigeria after weeks of medical trip to the UK

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buharihas returned to Abuja after weeks on medical trip in London.
This was according to a statement from the presidency on Thursday.
The president had been heavily criticized for his perchance for medical expedition inspite huge budgetary allocation to the Presdential Villa clinic.
His critics also blamed him for embarking on such trip even when resident doctors in his country were on industrial action.
The presidential aircraft that brought Buhari and some of his aides touched down at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at about 4.45 p.m.
Dignitaries at the airport to welcome the president included the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammed Bello, and the National Security Adviser to the President, Babagana Monguno.
Others were the service chiefs, acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali, the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufa’i, the Director General of the State Securitt Services, Yusuf Bichi and other presidential aides.
President Buhari, after a brief welcoming ceremony at the airport, boarded a presidentrtial helicopter that conveyed him to the Presidential Villa.

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Participants urge Kogi to key into Open Government Partnership

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Participants urge Kogi to key into Open Government Partnership

By Friday Idachaba

Participants at a one-day stakeholders strategic meeting on Open Governance Partnership have called on Kogi government to urgently key into the global concept to promote transparency, accountability and good governance.

The participants made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting organised by Conscience For Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) in partnership with African Centre For Leadership Strategies And Development (Centre LSD) on Tuesday in Lokoja.

The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the Communiqué was signed by Mr Idris Miliki, Executive Director of Kogi-based CHRCR and made available to newsmen in Lokoja.

The Communiqué said that in view of the importance of the global OGP concept with potentials to check corruption and enhance good governance, 16 states in Nigeria had presently signed up.

It however revealed that Kogi State was yet to key into the global concept and urged the state to, as a matter of urgency, sign up for the state to derive inherent benefits of the partnership.

Objective of the meeting in line with the OGP concept, according to the Communiqué, is to encourage accountability, transparency and reduce corruption in Kogi State.

It is also to build on the existing Networks on Anti-Corruption, Transparency and Accountability (NATA), to mobilize Media institutions and professionals in reporting activities on OGP in Kogi State.

The participants however, urged multi-lateral financial institutions particular the World Bank to begin to hold State Governments accountable by verifying the situations of implementations on ground before rating them on financed projects.

The Communiqué reiterated that there should be no rivalry but rather, a broad based relationship and partnerships between the state government and the Civil Society Organizations as both work for and in the interest of the citizens.

The Communiqué said there was need for the current House of Assembly members to live up to their constitutional responsibilities by performing their oversight functions on all institutions of the state, “particularly the local government councils.”

It also called on Media Professionals to take more interest in OGP issues and partner more with the Civil Society Organisations in particular and other relevant institutions to drive the OGP Concept.

“The Civil Society Organizations needs to do more in raising awareness and sensitization of the general public on the OGP and with the Government to get the OGP.

“There is need for the development partners to continue to work with the Civil Society Organizations in the state to promote the OGP process”, the Communiqué added. (NAN)

FDJ/

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Again Presidecy tackles Bishop Kukah over damning sermon

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Again Presidecy tackles Bishop Kukah over damning sermon

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, of Sokoto Catholic diocese, has come under attack again from the Presidency for describing Nigeria as a killing field under the Buhari administration.
Kukah in his Easter homily on Sunday, said both the government and the citizens have become helpless as criminals continue to cause havoc in parts of the country.
The battle over insecurity in Nigeria has continued unabated especially in the northern parts of the country where bandits and insurgents have turned to a killing field.
Kukah said the security situation has frustrated many citizens making them to believe the government has gone AWOL (absent without official leave).

“Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart” the bishop said.
“Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession, as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel. Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits.
“The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly. A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last.”

However in a statement issued in Abuja Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman said Kukah’s “bashing” of President Muhammadu Buhari is “ungodly.”
“All citizens have their individual ideologies, even their own versions of truth. But if you profess to being a man of God, as Father Mathew Hassan Kukah does, ideology should not stand in the way of facts and fairness,” he said.
“Father Kukah has said some things that are inexplicable in his Easter message. But, in saying that the Boko Haram terrorism is worse than it was in 2015, he did not speak like a man of God. 

“Kukah should go to Borno or Adamawa to ask the citizens there the difference between 2014 and 2021.”
Shehu also faulted the bishop for saying Buhari is not concerned about those displaced because of the security crisis, citing the creation of the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development as part of the president’s efforts in that regard.
“Some of the comments are no more than a sample of the unrestrained rhetoric Fr. Kukah trades in, which he often does in the guise of a homily,” the presidential spokesman said.
“We urge well-meaning citizens to continue to support the ongoing efforts by the administration to secure the country and move it forward.”

With additional reports from Cable

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