During a memorial flight in Buxton, a drone pilot nearly caused an accident. The pilot has pleaded guilty to causing the endangerment. The incident occurred at the Buxton Carnival in July of 2022. It was during a fly-past by the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Hurricane.
At the time of the fly-past, there was a short-term air restriction. This banned all other flying in the area, including drones.
Media from the day captured images of the drone flying extremely close to the wing of the Hurricane. Over 20,000 people witnessed the incident.
Police have identified the drone operator. 49-year-old Mark Bagguley, of Chatsworth Road, Fairfield, was arrested and charged with endangering an aircraft out of the visual line of sight.
Bagguley pleaded guilty to all charges on Monday, January 9th and will appear again in February for sentencing.
Pc Matt Moore, Flight Safety Manager for the Derbyshire Constabulary drone team made the following comments: “The way the pilot flew his drone was unsafe, illegal, and totally unacceptable. Anyone using a drone must follow the rules to make sure they fly safely. As a police drone unit, we know the benefits drones can bring to society but people using a drone in this way not only threaten the safety of aircraft and the public, they also damage the future use of drones.”
Drone operators must ensure they fly safely and legally. Operator registration, pilot competency, and maintaining separation distances from members of the public, built-up areas, and crewed aviation are all key limits drone operators should be aware of.