New calls are being made for tighter regulations surrounding the use of drone aircraft in China.
It comes on the heels of a new video making the rounds on the internet.
CRI’s Luo Wen explains.
The video, captured by a private drone, shows a Chinese fighter jet making a landing while the drone attempts to keep pace with the aircraft.
It’s still unclear when or where the video was shot.
However, analysis of the video suggests the drone and the jet were no more than 500-meters apart when the video was shot.
Aviation expert Song Xinzhi says this was a very dangerous situation.
“Planes slow down during the landing process. But still, the speeds at this stage are still some 200-kilometers per hour. If the drone were to come into contact with the jet during its landing, it certainly could have created a fatal disaster.”
The video is the latest in a string of incidents involving drones in China the past couple of years.
Earlier this month, a military helicopter unit out of Hebei forced down a private drone operating near its training airspace.
A couple of years ago, a privately-controlled drone flying near the Beijing Airport forced the delay of more than a dozen flights.
Duan Zhiyong with the government-backed Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association says new laws connected to drone operations are urgently needed.
“The management of drone flights requires rules, just like vehicles on the road. Just imagine what impact this has when it comes to managing road traffic without police officers, traffic lights or surveillance cameras.”
It’s estimated there are around 100-thousand private drones being operated in China right now.
Most of them are unlicensed and flying without approval, despite a 2013 regulation requiring drone operators to submit flight plans.
Ke Yubao with the Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association says they’re recommending a database be established for drones in China.
“If drone operators are forced to register, we will know who is operating it, where the drone will be flying, and why it’s being put in the air as soon as the drone takes off. It’s like a black box. But unlike flight-data recorders on passenger aircraft, the device on the drone is able to transmit data instantly.”
Reglating drone flights is something many countries around the world are working on.
Like China, Russian drone operators are required to get approvals before a flight.
In Japan, a bill passed this past September strictly bans drone flights over residential communities or crowded areas.
Cambodian authorities passed a law earlier this year restricting drone flights in Phnom Pehn after a tourist few a drone into the Royal Palace compound.
China is fast becoming a world leader in drone production and use, with estimates suggesting drone production and sales in China are set to exceed 100-billion yuan over the next 10-years.
For CRI, I’m Luo Wen.