Gatwick Airport drone incident

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by Bald Rick, 19 Dec 2018.

  1. GB

    GB Established Member

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    Two arrested last night according to news reports.
     
  2. TheEdge

    TheEdge Established Member

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    In entirely unrelated news Gatwick Airport currently negotiating with the Tower of London on the loan of some medieval torture equipment for a display in the departure hall.
     
  3. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Getting a conviction will be tricky, unless of course the perpetrators confess.

    In a way this episode will be helpful, as it has shown airports and Governements around the world the threat from drones. It’s just rather annoying it was done at Gatwick just before Christmas (deliberate timing, no doubt) rather than, say, Southend airport in February.
     
  4. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    This depends on the path the drone took, but I also wish the authorities well in proving that at least an aircraft was likely to be endangered (the threshold for the offence that Grayling mentioned on TV).
     
  5. Crawley Ben

    Crawley Ben Member

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    Me and my wife were amongst those caught up in the closure of Gatwick. We were due to fly back from Hamburg on Thursday afternoon, however due to the flight being cancelled, we decided to come back via train as cheaper than prices being quoted by BA & Lufthansa (latter with a transfer via Frankfurt).

    We travelled from Hamburg to Hannover (change) Cologne to Brussels (change). All on DB ICE Trains and then switched to Eurostar for the last part of the journey. A comfortable and quiet journey home again, with all trains on time and very polite and pleasant staff.

    Took 13 hours to get home in the end as opposed to the 1 hour 20 min flight it should have been.

    Was anyone else from here also caught up in the disruption at all?

    Ben
     
  6. Butts

    Butts Established Member

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    How much did your Train Journey cost and what were the comparative airfares quoted ?
     
  7. Tim R-T-C

    Tim R-T-C Established Member

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    Given the technical sophistication involved there will be a large number of tell tale clues on their computers and probably a workshop too. They apparently were from Crawley so people may have seen them launching the drones.

    I wonder if people will be able to lauch private action against them to recoup money lost in the incident. I don't see why not, unless it was an utterly baffling accident, it was a deliberate attempt to disrupt travel and result in lost holidays and expensive rebookings.
     
  8. Crawley Ben

    Crawley Ben Member

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    BA were asking for upwards of £900 (according to Mrs D). The cost of the train from Hamburg to Brussels cost 276 Euro's (in total), not sure of Eurostar ticket price as again, wife sorted all that.

    Ben
     
  9. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I suppose it's just like strikes. Would RMT/ASLEF organise a strike between 01:00 and 04:00 on a sunday morning because it is more convenient for most passengers?
     
  10. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Well, no. But whoever did it was obviously fairly smart in knowing that doing it on the Weds / Thurs before the weekend before Christmas would cause the maximum disruption to the maximum number of people. Also the Thursday disruption pretty much guaranteed it would be headlines all weekend (perhaps the perpetrators just wanted something else I needed the news other than Br**it).

    And doing it on the longest nights of the year probably helped with disruption - more difficult for the police to spot the drones, and easier for the perpetrators too.

    For a conviction to hold, it will need to be proved that the accused were in control of the drones at the time of the offence. Could be tricky.
     
  11. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    there are unconfirmed reports the bloke they arrested was fitting windows at the time the drones were flying. No press quote to give yet.
     
  12. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Have there been any photos of the drones actually flying/landing at Gatwick published yet? I haven’t seen anything. Not saying it didn’t actually happen but I’m surprised that I haven’t seen photographic evidence yet?
     
  13. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Yep quite a few out there, some on reputable news websites, some not!
     
  14. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Ah ok thanks Bald Rick. I’ve obviously missed that.
     
  15. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    Birmingham Mail gone with it

    https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/uk-news/boss-paul-gait-arrested-over-15588430

     
    Last edited by a moderator: 22 Dec 2018
  16. trash80

    trash80 Established Member

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    Well it would be easy to prove if so i suspect, maybe its a case of identity theft
     
  17. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    I believe the two arrested are married to each other: doubt if both were out fitting windows!!
     
  18. stuartl

    stuartl Member

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    BBC news now reporting that they have been released without charge and are no longer suspects.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46665615
     
  19. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Probably not easy when the airport and the emergency services all rely on radio in various ways.

    It might have been a bit difficult to leave the country, what with all the flights being cancelled.

    I was slightly affected, flying into Luton as scheduled but arrived on a remote stand about 2340 and had to wait in the plane for nearly half an hour due to (according to the announcement) all available buses being employed unloading diverted flights. The non-EU passport queue was very long but only a short wait for the electronic gates.
     
  20. martin2345uk

    martin2345uk Established Member

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    The two arrested are apparently no longer suspects.
     
  21. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    Is the tan-coloured equipment mounted on the tripod in this BBC photo a military electronic countermeasure? https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/7866/production/_104922803_gettyimages-1085223300.jpg

    Separately, something that occurred to me which I've not seen mentioned elsewhere yet, is that it could have been part of planning for a Christmas warehouse heist. I would expect high-end drone technology is well within the grasp of organised criminal gangs... "yeah Tony knows a guy who flies them at weekends, let's get him on the crew in return for a cut of the profits".
     
  22. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I doubt it. Jamming a control signal in UHF bands is unlikely to be acheivable with equipment as small as that, and certainly wouldn't be worth attempting at an operational commercial airport anyway unless radio silence could be organised in very short time, (i.e. no chance). The equipment looks more like a combined visual and IR spotter platform.
     
  23. dgl

    dgl Member

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    It's probably possible at that size although to get the required signal strength (erp) you'd probably need a bigger/longer antenna, kW SHF transmitters are not that large (well until you need klystrons for the required power) and are a relatively off the shelf device. Remember the signal strength needed to disrupt something like this is probably not that high if using the ISM (2.45/5Ghz) as power outputs are tightly controlled and I would have thought that if they were using an amplifier to be able to control the drone from further away then that should be identifiable with radio direction finding apparatus.

    As for it being GPS controlled, in theory that can be blocked as well but probably not worth it for a drone, or maybe some sort of high strength electromagnet to confuse it's compass (magnetometer) assuming it's got one.

    As for radio silence, if it's a commercial drone the it's almost certain it's using the ISM band, some broadband noise covering both ISM bands and directed at the drone would be a good start and should not be difficult to achieve with a suitably powerful SHF amplifer and a function generator able to swamp out all ISM communications in the area.
     
  24. lyndhurst25

    lyndhurst25 Member

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    After Hans and Simon, maybe there's a third Gruber brother that Lieutenant John McClane hasn't dealt with yet?

    Seriously though, drones shutting down airports is going to be a hard problem to solve. Imagine a fleet of kamikaze drones, their software hacked so no GPS geofencing, timers installed so that they will launch themselves automatically at preset times, hidden days or weeks beforehand in open countryside or on rooftops within flying distance of the target airfield. Scaled up you could shutdown an airport, or multiple airports, for days on end. How would you guard against that?
     
  25. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    The Dutch have been training birds of prey for it. They're a pre-existing highly specialised design for attacking small airborne targets!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-europe-35750816/eagles-trained-to-take-down-drones

     
  26. trash80

    trash80 Established Member

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  27. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    With difficulty, even worse if they use inductive recharging! - and then ^conveniently^ dump themselves in a body of water once used.
    Except at other airports, or by surface transportation (sea or E*).
    ==================

    I would not put it past some of the anti-deportation campaigners however, remember that 15 of them have recently been convicted of endangering Stansted Airport by damaging the perimeter fence.

    Someone associated with, or even a member of, this lot:
    The key words being so-called Stansted 15 - the jury had the full facts and still decided to convict. It isn't something I often say, but the Stansted mob deserve whatever they get.
     
  28. Meole

    Meole Member

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    There seems to be a lack of hard evidence, difficult to prove supposed items in the air, hence the inevitable release.
     
  29. Tim R-T-C

    Tim R-T-C Established Member

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    IMG_20181223_213440.jpg

    Quote from the police as interviewed on BBC that admits there might not have been a drone at all, just reported sightings.

    Called it!

    But imagine the embarrassment and laughing stock the airport and security forces would become...
     
    Last edited: 23 Dec 2018
  30. dgl

    dgl Member

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    Another useful bit of information that has been garnered from pictures of the incident is that they did have drone tracking/monitoring equipment made by DJI (the drone makers) that also seem to have a RDF system, so they should have known what frequencies it was being controlled by, what it was, and therefore how to stop it.
     

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