Why do people like drones

In the middle of last week, a remote-controlled drone is said to have shot at a man and his mother in their garden in Thuringia. First, the aircraft circled over the 44-year-old's property, then it fired nails from about 20 meters away. According to the police, neighbors also observed the drone.

Achim Fridl, chairman of the umbrella association for unmanned aviation, explains what risk drones pose in the hands of private individuals and how the risk could be reduced.

SZ:According to the police, the number of operations because of drones is increasing: planes and helicopters are disrupted and bans are disregarded. How often does this happen?

Last year there were 70 dangerous encounters between drones and airplanes or helicopters. That is almost twice as many as in the previous year. Three months ago, a rescue helicopter in the Black Forest could not take off because a drone was circling over the rotor blades. The police couldn't find the drone owner.

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Why do amateur pilots approach rescue helicopters or airplanes with their aircraft?

You want to film the take-off or landing. It is forbidden to fly with a drone within 1.5 kilometers of an airfield. The same applies to accident sites.

Which drone pilots cause the most problems in this country?

Professional drone pilots, for example from film teams, usually adhere to the regulations. The problem is amateur pilots who don't know their way around. Above all, they are looking for spectacular actions and do not consider the dangers.

How many Germans own a drone?

Difficult question. There are no clear statistics. We estimate there are at least 500,000 drones in circulation.

The most important rules for drone flights

Drones may only be flown during the day and in such a way that they remain within sight. The drone must not exceed an altitude of 100 meters. A distance of 1.5 kilometers above the landing areas of airports and hospitals must be observed. If you weigh more than two kilograms, you need a driver's license and no crowds of more than twelve people, residential complexes, streets, railway lines or shipping lanes may be flown over. Pilots must also keep a distance of 100 meters from the persons and objects mentioned laterally.

The bathing season is about to begin. Is it allowed to fly drones with cameras over outdoor pools and bathing lakes?

Basically it is allowed. Only if there is a group of more than twelve people is the overflight prohibited - in addition, drone pilots must keep 100 meters sideways distance from crowds of people. With this, the legislature wants to prevent a drone from crashing over a crowd. So it would have to be a very calm bathing lake that you can fly nearby.

There has been a drone license since last year. What is being checked there?

You have to answer questions about meteorology and aviation law. But you only need the 'drone license' if the aircraft weighs more than two kilograms. Our association demands that you have to take a theoretical test for drones weighing more than 250 grams and then an additional practical test from 900 grams.

How do the police get drones from the sky when there are problems?

If it cannot find the person controlling it, in serious cases it can use microwave technology to disrupt the electronics and cause the drone to crash. But you have to carefully weigh up whether the crash caused might also cause enormous damage.

Many violations are currently being reported. What are the arguments in favor of private individuals letting drones fly?

For one thing, it's a technological fascination. It's fun to fly maneuvers. Some drones can even roll in the air. And it's really great when you can take aerial photos of your own wedding party, for example. That should continue to be possible - if everyone obeys the rules and no one is harassed.

Apart from private drones - what social tasks could drones take on in the future?

There are very useful fields of application. For example, in the event of an accident, blood can be transported to the scene of the accident by drone - instead of waiting for the courier in a traffic jam. Drones can also be very helpful in agriculture: farmers can check which plants are not growing well in their fields - fertilizers and pesticides can then be applied more specifically.