Iceland Mag

-2 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Stricter rules on aerial drones debated after near-collision over downtown Reykjavík

By Staff

  • Downtown Airport Aircraft coming in for landing at he Reykjavík airport fly over Harpan concerthall, the downtown area, City hall and Tjörnin pond. Operating aerial drones in this area is therefore strictly forbidden. Photo/Vísir.

On Saturday the pilot of a helicopter which was flying in for landing at Reykjavíkurflugvöllur airport narrowly escaped a collision with an aerial drone. The drone flew so close to the helicopter that the pilot was able to make out the brand name of the drone, a white Phantom drone. The incidence has prompted a discussion about the need for rules on drone flight.

Anyone who can offer information about the incidence, which took place by the downtown pond Tjörnin just before two in the afternoon on Saturday, has been asked to come forward. 

“You are an IDIOT!” 
The pilot told the local news site Vísir that the person piloting the drone was guilty of spectacular lack of judgment. “This happened right in the landing pattern. I’m coming in over City Hall and over the downtown pond Tjörnin, where he flies right in front of me.” He adds that all aircraft coming in for landing at the Reykjavík airport fly along this pattern. 

The pilot described the incidence on Facebook, where he said the drone passed above the helicopter, at a distance of only a few feet from the main rotor. He had this message to the person who operated the drone:

“To you, who operated the Phantom drone which I just met over City Hall and Tjörnin while flying in for landing at Reykjavík airport today. You are an idiot!”

Read more: Does Iceland have any restrictions or laws regarding the use of drones to do aerial photography?

A spokesman for the Transport Authority told the local TV station Stöð 2 that incidence highlighted the need for rules governing the use of aerial drones. Currently you don’t need any special licenses on flying drones which are lighter than 5 kg (10 lbs). The only other rule is that it is illegal to operate drones within 1.5 km (1 mile) of airports. Flying drones within urban areas is similarly banned, except with a permit from the Aeronautical Authority.

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