Runaway drone search expenses calculated

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Search for the drone which was lost on May 2 and found two weeks later cost National Armed Forces (NBS) EUR 25000 in search efforts, whereas Riga International Airport does not disclose its losses, said representatives of Civil Aviation Agency (CAA) to Latvian Radio on May 29.

Following an audit with the owner and manufacturer UAVFactory, the investigation of the stray drone case is still ongoing whether and to what extent the company is responsible for what happened. Meanwhile, expenses in the search have been calculated.

Search for the missing drone involved the National Armed Forces and closure of airspace, causing a flight to be diverted to the Tallinn airport.

Riga International Airport airspace closure lasted for a few days. Airport spokesman Edgars Vilcāns pointed out that these restrictions caused losses even in the COVID-19 crisis; if such an incident had occurred outside the time of the crisis, the impact would have been significantly greater. The extent of losses was not revealed.

For three days, the National Armed Forces (NBS) were also involved in the search, which cost around EUR 25 000. NBS commander Leonīds Kalniņš believes that cooperation and information exchange has been effective. However, the regulatory base needs to be significantly improved in the area of responsibility for owners and manufacturers of unmanned aircraft.

In May, the flight of the stray drone hadn't been agreed with the Civil Aviation Agency.

A working group is currently in the process of discussing the institutions' behavior in such situations and possibly amending the regulatory framework.


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