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MfD: Drones causing increasing problems in Czech skies

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Prague, June 8 (CTK) – An unmanned “spying” dirigible was spotted above the plant of the ArcelorMittal steel maker in Ostrava, north Moravia, in April, which has highlighted again the problem of the regulation of drones in the Czech Republic, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday.
The security men from ArcelorMittal eventually caught both the machine and the man who remotely controlled the dirigible, MfD writes.
The man said the dirigible belonged to Technical University of Ostrava. It monitored what the chimneys of the steel maker release, but without its prior consent, it adds.
ArcelorMittal has filed a criminal complaint.
“When illegally flying over the plant, the dirigible could threaten people’s security and cause a stoppage of production or environmental damages,” company spokeswoman Barbora Cerna Dvorakova is quoted as saying.
The Czech judiciary has never dealt with such a case.
Thousands of remotely controlled planes Czechs are buying are increasingly getting out of control, MfD writes.
The existing legislation is not sufficient to protect the public against drones, it adds.
The number of unmanned aircraft have been skyrocketing in the Czech Republic and experts warn that the legislation is unable to keep the step with this, MfD writes.
This must change, because it may happen that a “pilot” may lose control over a drone which may fall and cause injuries, if not fatalities, it adds.
The Czech Civil Aviation Authority (UCL) registers roughly 500 drones.
“However, the number of those that are not subjected to any registration may be estimated at tens of thousands. These are the drones under 20 kilogrammes for recreation and sport,” UCL spokesman Vitezslav Hezky is quoted as saying.
In the EU, the operation of the drones under 50 kilogrammes is regulated by its individual members. This is to be changed now.
“The EU wants to introduce uniform rules, uniting the considerably varied regulation of individual European countries,” Transport Ministry spokesman Tomas Nerold is quoted as saying.
“The main emphasis is laid on security and protection of privacy,” he added.
A month ago, six aircraft from the Prague Vaclav Havel international airport had to suspend their departures or landings over an unknown drone.
In addition, a search was made for a lost drone on the roof of the house in which Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, a protected person, lives in Prague, MfD writes.
Jiri Karpeta, from the Robodrone Industries, said compulsory registration of operators and their uniform training should be introduced.
Similar rules to those in air traffic should be introduced for the companies that want to fly over densely populated areas, Karpeta said.
The existing rules all but rule out the flying of drones over populated areas, but they are largely not respected, MfD writes.
pv/t

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