Drone users warned to stay out of the sky during G7 summit

Drone users as well as pilots of light aircraft and paragliders will not be able to fly during the duration of the G7 summit in Cornwall.

The police airspace commander for the event verified that there will be a “considerable” airspace restriction from midnight on Thursday June 10 until midnight on Sunday June 13 at the summit. world leaders.

Chief Inspector Ian Williams said: “We are liaising with a number of partners – from marine resources to all things air. We implemented restricted airspace as of June 10, and that’s a pretty significant restriction for light aircraft. , drones, paragliders… Further details will be announced shortly.

“We are doing our best to talk to the local community and the people who use planes in the area, so hopefully we don’t encroach on them too much, but it will affect them over the weekend.”

There will be a slightly extended airspace restriction over the St Ives area, where most of the summit meetings will take place.

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CornwallLive has asked Chief Inspector Williams if drone pilots ignoring the ban will be arrested.

“If a drone goes up, we’ll engage with that person,” he said. “We have been working ahead to see where the drones are being used. There is legislation, but it’s more about liaising with that person as they may not be aware of the restrictions.”

Devon and Cornwall Police have 18 of their own drones which will be used as part of security tactics at the G7 summit. They will be joined by drones and other air assets, such as helicopters, from other police forces across the country.

Acting Sergeant Chris Linzey, one of the Devon and Cornwall drone operators, said: “The drones are going to be used as part of G7 policing tactics – they are a great asset. Often times they will be used in situations where we can. Do not deploy officers, they can search for missing persons, this is an asset in many situations.

“The one we’ll be using primarily, our flagship drone if you like, is the DJI M300 which is a phenomenal kit, able to withstand fairly strong winds and rain.

“The camera is incredibly efficient and also includes thermal capacity, which has been effective for use along the coasts and open rural areas of which, of course, Devon and Cornwall have a lot.”

He added: “We will be following the weather forecast carefully as the weather affects our ability. Extreme weather conditions will have the same effect as on manned aviation – we will have to keep them on the ground until the weather clears. C This is why it is not a panacea for some things, it is an addition to the resources that we will have on the ground, as well as to other air assets, including the air service of the national police. ”

What about Cornwall’s notoriously pesky seagulls. Will they affect the use of drones and how do pilots ensure there is no collision with wildlife?

“Part of our in-flight process is having a pilot and an observer, both of whom are responsible for keeping an eye on other air travel, but also wildlife like seagulls. We do our best to convince nesting birds or RSPB sites. Said Acting Sgt Linzey.

“We are aware of the birds and they sometimes run into our equipment. I have flown for hours all over there [Carbis Bay] and the seagulls are showing interest, but I haven’t had an incident yet where they’ve gone to get the drone. If they showed too much interest, you would respect them and walk away. ”

Police drone operator demonstrates drone flight at a demonstration organized by Devon and Cornwall Police to demonstrate the skills they may need to watch the upcoming G7 summit in Cornwall

So, would you recommend Joe Biden not to eat fish and chips by the sea?

“No, I don’t recommend the fish and chips, I recommend the pâtés.”

He added: “We will use the drones for specific purposes and not for surveillance purposes. They will potentially be used for demonstrations and public order offenses – this gives a good overview of what can be a confusing situation. in the field.”

The G7 summit will be the largest operation for which drones from the Devon and Cornwall forces have been used to date.

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