THE Gibraltar Government is cracking down on high-tech aerial ‘toys’ on the grounds that in the wrong hands they could be potential killers.
Small Unmanned Aircraft – popularly known as ‘octocopters’ or ‘quadcopters’ – are widely available in shops and are marketed as toys. The rapid development in the industry has led to an increase in popularity and demand for the radio-controlled aerial copters in recent years.
But Gibraltar owners of the aerial toys must apply to the Director of Civil Aviation (DCA) for permission to fly their copters in the Gibraltar skies.
A statement issued by the government said that the popular flying ‘drones’ are “considered to be aircraft under the Law and as such there are Civil Aviation Regulations that apply to their use in order to ensure the safety of the general public and property that are not involved in the activity.”
The government said that flying Small Unmanned Aircraft in congested areas and close to airports is prohibited and that the person in control is responsible for the safe operation of any flight.
“As all of Gibraltar is considered a highly congested area, Small Unmanned Aircraft cannot be flown in Gibraltar without the permission of the Director of Civil Aviation,” said the statement. “While this may seem somewhat draconian, the aim is to ensure that the general public is not endangered by persons operating them without proper training or awareness of the dangers posed by the activity.”
The Director of Civil Aviation said: “That while buying such equipment is easy, it must be remembered that a small unmanned craft weighing several kilogrammes being flown at several hundred feet above the ground is a potential killer if it is poorly operated and falls to earth!”
As a result, anybody considering buying such equipment for use in Gibraltar should contact the DCA for information on the limitations in Gibraltar.