Drone pilots in central London hoping to capture aerial footage of this week’s historic royal funeral events are having to change their plans after officials banned all UAV flights above the heart of the capital until the queen’s burial Monday.
The weeklong ban of drone flights over central London comes as ceremonies honoring the late Queen Elizabeth II begin today, continuing through her burial at Windsor Castle Monday. Those commence with a procession of the funeral cortege from Buckingham Palace this afternoon, which will wind its way by many of the capital’s notable landmarks.
Shortly afterward, the coffin will arrive at Westminster Hall for a service attended by the royal family before lying in state for members of the public to pay their respects until the end of Sunday. The security risks created by the large crowds expected to turn out this week’s observances – and for events in the capital leading to the queen’s internment Monday – motivated the decision to ban drone flights over central London.
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The interdiction decision was announced by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), saying “the Secretary of State for Transport has decided that it is necessary in the interests of security… (as) part of the overall security arrangements following the death of Her Majesty The Queen.”
The flight ban of any non-authorized drone, “small balloon, any kite weighing not more than two kilograms, any unmanned aircraft, and any parachute” over central London officially extends from the September 9 date of the queen’s death to the end of her funeral service September 19.
Despite the publication of that order last Friday, however, it only began drawing attention this week, when Metropolitan Police posted a Twitter warning about how it would deal with aerial transgressors. Anyone violating the drone ban over London before the queen’s burial Monday, the Tuesday tweet stressed, would face unflinching legal reprisal.
“We will take enforcement action against anyone using a drone without permission in the restricted area, which covers much of central London,” the police advised. “The restrictions are for public safety. Any breaches may result in you facing prosecution and your drone being seized.”
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As a helpful aid to any drone pilots in London hoping to get their craft aloft outside the restricted central area during the queen’s memorial ceremonies, the CAA provided not terribly easy-to-use coordinates of the banned zone.
Those cover “a straight line joining the following points: i. 513613N 0001646W, ii. 513611N 0000311W, and b) the clockwise arc of a circle having a radius of 17 NM centred on 512812N 0002713W, from 513613N 0000311W to 512013N 0000316W, and c) straight line joining successively the following points: i. 512013N 0000316W, ii. 512015N 0001648W, and d) the clockwise arc of a circle having a radius of 13 NM centred on 512812N 0000020W, from 512015N 0001648W to 513613N 0001646W.” Now nobody can claim they weren’t warned.
Photo: Benjamin Davies/Unsplash