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Drones to be banned during Obama visit

BBC News BBC News 19/04/2016
Barack Obama in Downing Street in 2008: Barack Obama, pictured here in London in 2008, is to visit the UK with Michelle Obama © AP Barack Obama, pictured here in London in 2008, is to visit the UK with Michelle Obama

Drones will be banned from flying in large parts of London during the visit of US President Barack Obama, aviation officials have announced.

Graphic about the rules around the flying of drones © BBC Graphic about the rules around the flying of drones

The restrictions on drones, which are remotely-controlled, unmanned aircraft, will apply between 09:00 BST on Thursday and 22:30 on Sunday.

The ban also extends between London and Windsor, where Mr Obama will have lunch with the Queen on Friday.

Authorities said it was a routine ban, similar to those used at sports events.

It comes after a London-bound flight is believed to have hit a drone on Sunday.

Detectives launched an investigation after the pilot of the British Airways flight approaching Heathrow reported his aircraft being hit by a drone.

Police say the drone was being flown near the area of Richmond Park in south-west London.

Are drones dangerous or harmless fun?

The rules for flying domestic drones

Announcing the restrictions, the UK's National Air Traffic Service said they were part of an "overarching security plan" for the visit of Mr Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Drones will be banned from flying over a large part of the capital, extending from Purley in the south to Haringey in the north.

Restrictions are in place between Windsor and London on Friday - when the Obamas will have lunch at Windsor Castle.

The ban also extends between Stansted Airport and the capital on Thursday night and Sunday morning.

The Civil Aviation Authority says drones can usually be flown up to 400ft (122m).

However, the regulations ban aircraft from flying below 762m (2,500ft), unless they are using Heathrow, Stansted or London City airports.

Aircraft at London Heliport, RAF Northolt, and those being operated by the emergency services are to be excluded.

The restrictions also apply to "any small balloon, any kite weighing not more than two kilograms, any small unmanned aircraft and any parachute" in the relevant areas.

Super Bowl ban

Similar rules have previously been introduced for high-profile visits and major sporting fixtures, including the London Olympics in 2012 and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Drones were recently banned at American Football's Super Bowl.

The Obamas' visit to the UK stay is part of a tour including Saudi Arabia and Germany.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will host the couple on Friday, Kensington Palace has said.

The president will also stage a press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron.

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