Heathrow drone: George Rusu charged with flying device near airport days after Gatwick chaos

38-year-old allegedly used a remote-controlled aircraft on a field near the runway

Adam Forrest
Sunday 20 January 2019 12:16
The alleged offence took place days after drone chaos at Gatwick grounded 1,000 flights
The alleged offence took place days after drone chaos at Gatwick grounded 1,000 flights

A 38-year-old man has been charged with flying a drone near Heathrow Airport on Christmas Eve, only days after a scare at Gatwick grounded more than 1,000 flights.

George Rusu allegedly used a drone on a field near the runway at Heathrow, Britain’s busiest airport, on 24 December, court documents have revealed.

The suspected drone flight happened just three days after Gatwick fully reopened on December 21 following three days of chaos affecting some 140,000 passengers.

Mr Rusu, of Blunts Avenue in Hillingdon, will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

He is charged with flying a “small unmanned aircraft without permission of air traffic control”, according to the court papers.

Hundreds of passengers suffered disrupted journeys after sightings of a drone grounded flights at Heathrow for around one hour on 8 January.

The Metropolitan Police launched a criminal investigation following the suspected drone flight. Police officers were among those who spotted the device in an area northwest of the airport, close to the M25 motorway.

There have been no arrests in the investigation into the Gatwick drone sightings since a couple from Crawley in west Sussex were released without charge shortly before Christmas.

On Friday, the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) safety body revealed there were 18 near misses between aircraft and drones across the country between July and October 2018. The UKAB said 12 of the incidents took place in Greater London.

Officials at both Heathrow and Gatwick have said they were investing millions of pounds in equipment to prevent future flight disruption.

And the Department of Transport has said it is planning to introduce new police powers and safety rules to tackle the misuse of drones.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in