China air force punishes illegal drone

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BEIJING,  (Xinhua) — The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) detected and dealt with an illegal drone in north China’s Hebei Province on Tuesday, said a spokesperson Wednesday.

To safeguard aerospace security, the PLAAF has vowed to improve the management and control of low-altitude and slow-speed small aerial vehicles through cooperation with the civil aviation and public security departments, said PLAAF spokesperson Shen Jinke.

On Tuesday afternoon, a PLAAF helicopter unit in Hebei detected an illegal low-flying drone during training and forced it to land. Police later took control of the drone and launched an investigation.

The preliminary investigation showed the drone was owned by an aerospace technology company in Beijing and the flight was not reported to or approved by the authority.

According to Shen, illegal flights of low-altitude and slow-speed small aircraft threaten civil aviation safety and public security.

An airport in east China’s Zhejiang Province was forced to close for 56 minutes and 18 flights were affected by an illegal small aircraft. There have also been cases that have disturbed military flight training.

The aerial vehicles involved include helicopters, drones, model airplanes and delta-wing aircraft, and were owned by private companies, aviation enthusiasts as well as a few airlines.

Any activity in the air must not compromise national aerospace security as well as public and personal safety, said Shen.

Regulations on aviation flight came into force in December 2013, simplifying the application procedures but still requiring approvals for nine kinds of flights.

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