Warnings Issued About High-flying Sky Lanterns, Rockets, Balloons and Drones

Warnings Issued About High-flying Sky Lanterns, Rockets, Balloons and Drones

Dangers to aviation and property, but also to national security, have been voiced with a variety of high-flying small objects under scrutiny and operators risking significant penalties.

A report made by a Thai pilot, referred to a sky rocket at 20,000 feet, both rockets and hot air balloons have been spotted and the problem to flying planes is increasing. Traditionally fire rockets made from bamboo have been used as a call for rain. However metal or PVC piping has increased the capability of these rockets without considering the dangers posed to aircraft. Rocket manufacturers must be officially licensed according to the Act of Firearm, Explosive Substances, Fireworks and the Firearm Equivalent of B.E. 2490 (1947) Additionally damage to property may result from forest or house fires. Sky lanterns or balloons falling on high voltage electric wires or high voltage transformers may also cause explosions.

Balloons that are capable of flying longer and higher can potentially result in damage to planes if they are drawn into the engine. A campaign to highlight these dangers has also described existing regulations which includes a requirement that one week prior to the release of balloons or rockets, aviation and airport authorities be informed of the date, time, venue as well as the number of the balloons or rockets to be released. There are size restrictions on balloons and rockets with release near airports also being illegal. During the release, a coordinator should inform the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) which will then warn the plane not to pass the area where the balloons and rockets are launched.

Meanwhile those who control drones and take pictures of the air bases or other military facilities may face legal action if their acts compromise national security, Air Force commander-in-chief ACM Jom Rungsawang has warned. The warning was issued after reports that the air force had ordered its legal team to examine a clip in the social media by someone who used a drone to take pictures of the Air Force base and posted this on social media. ACM Jom said that taking pictures of the Air Force facilities were prohibited and may be deemed as violating laws on the security of military facilities. He noted that drone photography can be used by those with an ill-intent to plot sabotage or attack military facilities.

He appealed to members of the public who saw any such photography to notify the air force. He warned people not to fly their drones to take pictures of military facilities. Although not mentioned in these warning, reminders about the sensitivity of royal property is also relevant.