As a certified, commercial drone pilot, these "rogue drone pilot" incidents concern me. For the past two years, I've been approached by curious bystanders and others who are annoyed with drones altogether while conducting drone operations. The negative drone reports people read and hear about in the news stays with them and helps shape their opinion about my career choice. Many feel emboldened to express their belief that drones invade their privacy or are disturbed by their noise...still another person told me she wanted to shoot my drone out of the sky. The bottom line is that the actions of one can have an affect on many and rogue drone operations will result in my job becoming more difficult. Not only in dealing with drone bias in the public, but in additional regulations that are enacted out of fear and ignorance, holding everyone accountable for the actions of a few.
I teach introductory drone courses at a local community college and plan to use this incident to educate participants on drone ethics and why ethics matter. In my classroom, there is no preference toward the commercial pilot over the hobbiest - I consider us all to be "enthusiasts" and that is what brings us all together. Whether the Gatwick incident was conducted by a hobbiest or commercial pilot, the situation received international media coverage and it will impact every one of us in some way. We need to work together and find a way to reach out and educate those who fly rogue operations out of ignorance or willful disregard for rules of law and overall safety.