Attack on the drones: the creeping privatisation of our urban airspace

Attack on the drones: the creeping privatization of our urban airspace

by Bradley L Garrett and Adam Fish, The Guardian

Who owns the air above our cities? The public and the media are in danger of losing access to a valuable common resource, with corporations given priority

We woke up before dawn and caught the first train to Waterloo, so we could capture some aerial footage in the early morning London light with no one around. We were interested in using a drone to get a vantage point that no rooftop could offer, looking down on the under-renovation South Bank Tower.

Lifting off from a grassy, flat expanse next to the river Thames, we quickly vaulted to the height of a 30-storey building and began capturing slow, sweeping images from a bird’s-eye view. But then a security guard emerged from the building and ran towards us. “You can’t fly that here,” he yelled.

We were keeping the drone within our line of sight, as per Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations, and my co-flyer Adam Fish responded: “Sorry but we can. We checked the regs and we are 50 metres from the building, and this isn’t a congested area.”

Adam showed him a map. Then the security guard looked up at the drone hovering over the building, and said: “Yeah, but we own it.”

“You own what?” Adam replied.

“The air, mate. We own the air.”

Read the full article here…

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