rchelicopterhub.com / rchelicopter.hu
20 December 2018

Assumed drone incident at Gatwick
Airport still suspended

London Gatwick Airport is suspended since yesterday evening due to more drone incidents and the airport is still not receiving or departing any flights. Passengers are asked to get informed before travelling to the airport.

Assumed drone incident at Gatwick

As far as we know there were two reported drones flying within the boundaries of the airport however no appropriate footages seen yet. 20 of police units trying to trace and locate the operator(s) unsuccessfully so far. Reopening the airport was promised by 11AM, however it's still closed. All flights canceled, delayed from Gatwick and arrivals diverted to other airports across all the UK and close airports in Europe like Paris, Brussels.

Not experienced drone operators

We try to avoid any subjective opinions here, but sometimes we have to take exceptions - like now. Our duty among others is protecting our community. We don't know the facts yet, and it's possible, we will never know them. However we have to assume the following things:

  • No experienced drone operators were flying there: All of us know the rules (altitude limits, 1km safety distance from airport boundaries, not flying close to manned aircrafts) and (hopefully) we are not enemies of our hobby, therefore we don't break these rules, especially we don't do it intentionally.
  • Not hobby grade, off-the-self drone: As it's been reported, drone was seen for more hours, there's no hobby grade drone flying more then 15-20 minutes maximum.
  • We assume, this is not a typical "commited accidentally by one ore more unaware beginners" incident or not a real drone incident. 20 units, helicopters are unable to trace and locate operators whilst the incident is still ongoing. 

Update as at 1627PM

Airport is still suspended. It's still ongoing for 19 hours now. No more information apart from the announcement of Gatwick Airport, the incident will cause further disruption tomorrow as well.

One comment: we are just wondering: what is the real reason of this, because something else had to happen rather than two drones.

Updates as at 1755PM

Gatwick is still out of service. It's unclear when the airport will reopen. EasyJet announced that all flights for the rest of the day are now cancelled. 


In any case, when longer disruptions happens, passengers are entitled for compensations. However the current situation is deemed a security risk, which counts as extraordinary circumstances. Therefore neither the airport nor the airlines are forced to pay compensations. Passengers are entitled to meals, refreshments and accommodation, hotel transfer depending on the flight and delays.

Update at 0738AM

Gatwick Airport is now open, back to normal more or less. 50 drone sight have been reported so far, however no footages published yet. Armed forces at the scene, they are considering to shoot any drones down there.

More will follow....