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University of Silesia in Katowice

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Peace in the sky?

01.06.2023 - 09:29 update 12.06.2023 - 13:34
Editors: OO

| Tomek Grząślewicz |

The skies thick with drones and the war beyond our eastern border make us pay more attention to media reports about incidents that disrupt the operation of aircraft and airports. On 1 June, when we celebrate the Day of the Air Traffic Service, it is worth paying attention to the safety of Polish airspace.

Karolina Wojtasik, PhD from the Institute of Sociology of the University of Silesia in Katowice, Vice-Chair of the Polish Society for National Security, emphasises that the dedication and high quality of work of people who are responsible for peace above our heads should be appreciated.

“Air traffic service employees train for years to guard the Polish sky in such key sectors as air transport. Our training and certification system is globally recognised as a brand in itself”.

An increasing challenge for people responsible for the safety of passengers and crews of aircraft is the constantly growing popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles, popularly referred to as drones. For people who want to start their adventure with these devices, Karolina Wojtasik, PhD recommends prudence and fully legal actions.

“I encourage you to go to drony.ulc.gov.pl, a special website of the Civil Aviation Authority (ULC) and check where we can fly and where we can’t. ULC also offers a free course for drone pilots. There they show in a very clear way the meanders of aviation law. Taking such a course is one of the first conditions to fly”.

The researcher of the University of Silesia also recommends a free application that can be downloaded to the phone from the website droneradar.eu.

“From there, you’ll find out if it’s safe to fly in a given place. Perhaps, for example, the consent of the owner of the site of the critical infrastructure operator will be required”.

The latter term is used to describe key resources without which it is impossible to imagine the functioning of modern society, related to water management, energy, transport, banking and communication. Karolina Wojtasik, PhD who communicates knowledge about security, terrorism and critical infrastructure through the channel Anatomia zamachu  [Anatomy of an attack], reminds that drones can be used for both good and bad purposes, e.g. “hybrid warfare”, i.e. hostile strategic actions carried out in various ways.

“With the help of a drone, you can kinetically hit the elements of the installation to lead to a failure, but also observe, take photos and videos, and check the operation of the systems. You can collect information for years to use it at the right moment”.

In the era of the ongoing war in Ukraine, the question arises whether the recent events involving drones in the vicinity of Polish airports are a coincidence or deliberate actions to weaken our state, arouse fear and cause chaos. The scientist from the Institute of Sociology of the University of Silesia warns against hasty conclusions.

“At the moment, every incident related to a breach of security will be associated with the situation on our eastern border, while the events involving drones have been taking place since people began to use them. I think the most important thing is the awareness of private drone users. When we try to fly – even far from the airport – we should remember that if we lose control of our unmanned vehicle, we may unintentionally damage this or that object”, reminds Karolina Wojtasik, PhD.

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Picture by vecstock on Freepik

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