Friday 21 December 2018


Really, what a mess and how interesting what a small and low cost mission this has been by the interlopers.

As said in the comments to the previous thread here, it is entirely possible that several drones were pre-programmed far in advance and left to do their thing, probably ending by crashing into one of the nearby lakes so as to make evidence harder to find.

As always, it is often the small things that make the difference. Overall though, a right pain for all involved but it is not like we have not all experienced before flights being cancelled due to bad weather, crappy airlines, insolvency of airlines etc. The media reaction in a 24/7 news cycle has amused me the most, trying to get frustrated people to get angry and upset when in the main they are in fact quite phlegmatic about the situation!

So who has done it, the money from the Police is on environmental campaigners and I can see this as a possibility, but it would be wrong to rule our state actors at this stage - likely not the usual terrorists as this is a disruption attack rather than one designed to inflict injury.

Anyway, happy holidays, blogging will be light next week! The annual prediction game awaits!

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PS - this has the ring of plausibility about it ...  (h/t the whole interweb  - ND)


DJK said...

As you say, very successful, in its own terms. Expect much more of this around the world in 2019.

E-K said...

My betting (eco warrior or not) they are Remain voters.

A) I'm already hearing the BBC insinuate it was caused by Brexit (a distracted government)

B) I recall similar disruptions on the railway by the IRA. Chaos and economic loss via a 25p phone call.

I said at the time we should have just carried on and I say so now.

The likelihood of a drone bringing down a plane is minute. Send up an empty plane first to see if there is a terrorist intent. If not just carry on flying.

We cannot have our civilisation intimidated and disrupted by mobs like this because they're not getting their way.

And if they succeed what a lesson to law abiding Brexit voters.

DJK said...

E-K: The chance of a drone bringing down an airliner are remote, but the damage if it does happen is enormous. Aviation safety is based upon eliminating or minimising even the slightest possiblities of harm.

No choice but to shut the airport, I'm afraid.

E-K said...

"Gatwick is open for business again !" BBC

So why is it safer now than it was yesterday ? A drone could pop up at literally any minute.

My point here is that they haven't cured the problem (and nor will they) so we are best carrying on regardless and shouldn't have stopped flying at all.

Taking risks and being a bit brave is the price of freedom and if we can't then we don't deserve it.

E-K said...

DJK - You make an interesting point.

So how much economic damage do you think was done by two days of closure ? Far more than a ripped panel.

"No choice but to shut the airport.

Then expect far far more of this with the BBC already asking "But are they REALLY criminals ?" Jeremy Vine show.

If they can have mob rule then I want it too.

Sackerson said...

Possibly kids did it. Because it's fun, like starting fires to see fire engines. And now wait for nastier parties to adapt the idea.

Charlie said...

"The likelihood of a drone bringing down a plane is minute"

Indeed it is, but the consequences are huge. Hundreds of lives lost, probably an airframe too, airport closed for days while investigations are completed.

It's a low probability/high impact risk that simply has to be mitigated. Unfortunately, the mitigation is to cease runway operations.

Tony Harrison said...

One hopes it was "likely not the usual terrorists" but Die Zeit reported at least one similar incident in Germany, and I have seen references to another in France - all more or less at the same time. Co-ordinated troublemaking?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain why Our Very Wonderful Armed Forces aren't equipped to bring this silly game to an end in seconds? As a follow-up, if they can't, how can they expect to protect themselves from drone attack or reconnaissance?

Anonymous said...

If you think drones can be a nuisance or even a threat, just wait until there are real robots wandering around.

Don Cox

CityUnslicker said...

Anon - I think, though the media are coy, that the military turning up with their drone downing gear of which they do not want to speak, was THE factor in re-opening the airport. Hapless and ill-equipped plods achieved not so much on day one. By day two, all A-OK.

Bill Quango MP said...

So now we know how to shut the airports on 2nd ref day.
I did look on some maps to see the road networks for the distribution hubs.
Its far worse than I ever expected.

The largest Amazon warehouse in Scotland could be permanently closed with just a tipper truck and a cement mixer.
Same for the major Tesco North East distribution warehouse. Single road in and out. Park two 7.5 ton trucks across it and refuse to get out.
Plus copy the swampies idea of shutting London's bridges. But expand it to the other metropolises.

I reckon even a semi coordinated yellow vest movement could paralyse the nation, through traffic and transport chaos, in only 48 hours.

So that's road and air down.
I suspect rail will take itself out of the game with just a few sympathetic driver walkouts.

E-K said...

BQ - Far more conservative than you think, we drivers. There has to be a ballot first.

(18 out of 23 TOCs have not been on strike.)

E-K said...

Charlie - A plane is not going to be brought down and if it is then that's the end of Swampy.

These people must be faced down and BQ outlines the horror of it all if they are allowed to get away with it.

And if they do then why can't the 52% have a go at this direct action lark too ?

E-K said...

Perhaps Amazon might like to pay more tax in order to help us to police their warehouse.

Raedwald said...

I once had a highly skilled diamond driller make some 25cm holes 400mm deep in some London paving - to take bollards. Of course we'd checked and re-checked the stats, and everything important below ground should be much deeper than 400mm anyway.

In mid-afternoon a fleet of big-ass BT vehicles showed up; mobile generators, satellite dish transmitters, about 30 engineers, mobile workshops, tents, film lighting towers, the works. Turns out there was a fibre optic bundle far too near the surface - wrong place, wrong depth. Not our fault.

The reason for the response? We'd just *grazed* one of several critical fibre optic cables and had taken out LHR Terminal 5 and Reuters.

"Good job you weren't 10cm further in" the head honcho told me "or you'd have taken out xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx as well"

And no, I really can't tell you.

Anonymous said...

So you spend millions on a state of the art aircraft carrier and a few millions more for the aircraft as you forgot to order at the same time.

Then some prat goes down to PC World for an early Xmas - bungs up the MoD's prize "weapon".

Why do we elect these prats.

Sniper said...

She doesn't have the hand/eye coordination to fly a quad.

Anonymous said...

I still can't see why it's beyond the wit of man to either shoot them down with a shotgun loaded with #1 shot, or if they're flying too high for that, shoot it down with a shotgun from the door of a helicopter. If they're worried about debris landing outside the perimeter of the airfield snare the bloody thing with a net hanging under a big helicopter (I believe the armed forces still have a few!).

Baron Jackfield

Anonymous said...

I'm seeing reports now that "maybe there wasn't a drone after all" - really? You'd think someone would have a snap of it.