9th August 2009
Three of Britain’s leading experts on the use of UAVs have contributed to the Welsh Assembly’s consultation on the creation of a UAV fly zone over West Wales by writing a paper that is severely critical of the plan.
Roy Unsworth, Chris Hewitt and Alan Rogers say in that a rogue UAV could crash, potentially killing people on the ground.
Mr Unsworth, who was head of site at the Aberporth missile testing range until it was sold to the Welsh Development Agency in 2003 and since then has been Managing Director and Technical Director of Aberporth Consultancy Limited said:
“We have put together our paper because we believe we have a moral responsibility to do so before the proposal goes forward.
“Airworthiness standards are not sufficiently mature for unmanned aircraft to be given certificates of airworthiness to fly over populated areas. UAVs weigh 600kg with their load, and if one crashed there could be devastating consequences. The worst case scenario would see a UAV go out of control and eventually come down on a highly populated urban area like Cardiff.
“The ideal location from which UAVs could fly would be the former RAF station at Llanbedr in Gwynedd, but that was shut down for cost reasons several years ago. If Llanbedr were still open, Aberporth would not have been considered as suitable for a moment.”