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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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Yueltide: FMWH reopens closed section of Murtala Muhammed Bridge in Kogi

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Yueltide: FMWH reopens closed section of Murtala Muhammed Bridge in Kogi

By Friday Idachaba

The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has reopened the closed section of the Murtala Muhammad Bridge, Jamata on Abuja-Lokoja highway to ease movement of traffic movement during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

Engr. Kajogbola Jimoh, Federal Controller of Works in Kogi State disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lokoja.

Kajogbola said that though the rehabilitation work on the dual carriage bridge was yet to be completed, a substantial part of it on Lokoja-bound portion had been done and could be reopened to traffic to address heavy vehicular movement during the festivities.

According to him, what remains for the Lokoja bound bridge to be completed is to change the damaged expansion joints which have to be ordered from abroad adding that the contractor has some constraints in this area.

“Presently, all other works are completed and we have asked him to cover the edges of the old expansion joints so that when the new ones arrive, he will simply remove the old ones and replace them with new ones.

“If the closed section is not opened, Nigerians will suffer during this festive period and that is why we are insisting that they should open it for now till when the contractor is able to get the new expansion joints”, he said.

Kajogbola said he collaborated with Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Corridors Commander, Sector Commander and other officials to remove the barricades and redirect the traffic all in the presence of the contractor’s representative.

He pointed out that the reopening was an interim arrangement saying, “This is just temporary reopening, the work is for two years and the contractor has not spent up to a year.

“So, it’s just to let Nigerians know that the Federal Government cares for them and that we are working and to tell them what stage we are on the project.

NAN reports that the bridge which is currently under rehabilitatinon/ maintenance work, being handled by Hallekem Ltd., had only one functional 2-lane carriageway in use before this reopening.

The Controller appealed to motorists to be patient, resist temptation to drive against traffic and to keep their vehicles in good condition to avoid break down. (NAN)

FDJ/

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Senator Opeyemi lampoons Buhari over refusal to sack service chiefs

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Senator Opeyemi lampoons Buhari over refusal to sack service chief

The senator representing Ekiti Central Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele has asked President Muhamadu Buhari to respect the resolution of the National Assembly that he should sack the service chiefs without further delay.
The senator while contributing to the motion on the beheading of 67 farmers in Borno, by Bokoharam insurgents: Need for Urgent, Decisive action pleaded with the service chiefs to voluntarily resign based on national interest.
He said they can then wait to be appointed as Presidential Advisory Panel on security.
“For me the number one resolution that I will like to reemphasize on this floor of the senate is for the President to allow the service chiefs to go, they have done their best, they have worked so hard, the best anybody can give is his best.
“You cannot give what you do not have and if the President believes so much in these service chiefs he should remove them as service chiefs and constitute them as Presidential advisory committee on security matters and they will still be there to be advising him and let the younger ones take over as service chiefs to move the country forward.
He said, “It is yet another moment when we run the risk of Nigerians looking at us as a group of elected representatives who sit in the red chamber to shed crocodile tears but we know that is not what we do.
“We are victims of certain circumstances that make it look like that. There is probably nothing any of us could say here today that has not been said, the only thing that is new is that more people have been killed in most barbaric manner. Yet we have to say something as representatives of the people.
“We are unhappy about what happened in Borno, Katsina and Niger States and some Northern parts of the country. Even in the South South, south East and south west where people are being kidnapped, there are some forms of insurgency.
“In Ondo State just last week a paramount ruler was killed. My own contribution is this, let us stand on existing resolution, in addition of course to the prayers that the mover of this motion made clear to us.
“Fighting Bokoharam cannot be something we do by habit, it cannot become part of our national life, it cannot become what we budget for year in year out as a routine.”
He lamented that the war was becoming a routine adding that there is a need to bring it to an end as lives are being lost on a daily bases.
He also made refrence to a constitutional provision in section 14(1)b which defines the primary purpose of Government to be the welfare and security of the people.
“We all agree that this is not being fulfilled and where a Government is deemed to be in breach of section 14(1)b the Government is also automatically seen to have breached section 32 and 34 of our constitution which provides for the right to life, right for personal liberty, and life against torture.
“These are things that goes together once you fail to fulfill the provision of section 14(1)b so what are we talking about let these service chiefs go.
“If the President would not remove them we call on these service chiefs in the interests of the public to resign and look forward to being appointed as members of Presidential committee on security. So this is one contribution that I really want to make.”
He also made reference to the budget of over N800b set aside for all of the armed forces, whereby more than 60% of it is specifically tailored towards prosecuting the war against insurgency.
“I believe before this budget is passed it is either the president come to address this parliament on the way forward on how to address the security matter or we hold a joint session and do a public hearing and allow Nigerians an opportunity to also speak to this issue.
“I dont think it should be a question of us sitting down to pass this budget it should not be business unusual.”

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Buhari tells mothers to admonish their wards on need for dialogue over #EndSARS

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Buhari tells mothers to admonish their wards on need for dialogue over #EndSARS

 
Apparently piqued by the growing youth restiveness which engulfed parts of the country in the last few weeks,
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged women to engage with children and youths on the need for dialogue that would yield better understanding.

The President spoke on Thursday while hosting the representatives of women at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said Nigeria remained committed to ending violence against women and girls in Nigeria and the rest of the world.

According to him, although the country had not achieved the 35 percent affirmation on the participation of women in governance, the current administration intended to exceed the benchmark.

“I want to assure you that this administration remains resolute to not only meet the 35 percent National Gender Policy, but to exceed it across key decision-making role in government,” he said.

He restated his commitment to end child marriage and boost girl child education in all parts of the country.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, earlier appealed to President Buhari to ensure that the issues responsible for the ongoing strike by university lecturers were resolved amicably, to enable universities reopen and students go back to school

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