The Grand Tour

Jeremy Clarkson On Drones: Are Regulations Ruining The Fun?

Jeremy wrote a recent piece for The Sun where he laments about the increasing regulations regarding drone usage. In his piece, Jezza talks about how these regulations are ruining the fun of using drones and it probably won’t be long before the government simply outlaws them.

Jeremy says:

“Drones are ­brilliant. They can be used by the fire service to look for people trapped in a burning building. Or by search and rescue teams to find stranded hikers. Or by the Air Force to blow up a terrorist’s pick-up truck.”

He then follows it up with why drone safety is ridiculous:

“We’re all supposed to be worried about this but I’m not, because an Airbus A380 weighs around 500 tons and is very sturdy.

A drone weighs about six ounces and is flimsier than one of those coat hangers you find in the wardrobe of a budget hotel.

Running into such a thing while ­travelling at 250mph would be a bit like driving your car into a small insect while doing 70 on the motorway. You wouldn’t even notice.”

As a humorous piece, Jeremy does what he does best. Is the government freaking out about these flying cameras? Yeah, probably. Besides the safety issues there are a ton of privacy issues as well, and a flying camera is probably something to wary of. They’re a ton of fun, for sure, and I love using them for automotive photography, but Jeremy’s claims that a drone poses no problem at all isn’t 100% accurate.

My wife is an air traffic controller and assured me that drones, when used irresponsibly, are absolutely an issue. Dealing with drones that fly into restricted airspace, whether on purpose or by accident, is an occurrence that she says happens way too often at her job, and that’s not to include the stuff you hear from you neighbors about a drone hovering “spying” on them.

But here’s the biggest issue with Jeremy’s piece: he points out that there is simply no danger when a drone hits a plane. He isn’t correct in that assessment. Jeremy, like so many others including myself, seems to love tossing out “facts” without the proper education. Why am I inclined to trust my wife more than Jeremy when she says that drones hitting planes is a danger? Because she is a professional and has the proper education and training regarding these things. I don’t; my opinions on whether a drone is safe or not doesn’t matter; all I’m doing is blowing hot air. The same goes for Jeremy; a quick Google search into the dangers of stuff hitting places does not make one an expert.

This is a picture of what happen when a bird hits a plane:

Now keep in mind, this is a fighter plane, not some dinky Cessna that weekend pilots take out in their spare time. This is a multi-million dollar attack plane that had a bird enter the left engine and subsequently destroyed the turbine. So when Jeremy says that we wouldn’t even notice if a drone hit a plane? Yeah, I’m not certain he knows what he is saying. Anyone who says the same thing, I ask you: would you volunteer to go on a flight where stuff like birds and drones shot at the plane?

The freakout over drones is probably too much; I’ll agree that stuff gets way too over-regulated and out of all the drone owners out there, the odds of one getting high enough to present a danger is probably extremely slim; however, keep in mind that the FAA, the government, has to plan for all contingencies now that drones are a part of life. To claim that there is NO danger is simply not true.

Tony Hsieh

Cars, the Buffalo Bills, video games, comics, sandwiches, jelly beans, and the shooting star press; these are the things that Tony loves (in addition to his family, of course). When he's not spending his time writing tech reviews for, Tony puts his lifetime love of muscle cars to use on his 2015 Mustang GT. Tony's top three favorite cars are the 1973 Mustang Mach 1, Ferrari 458, and Aston Martin DBS.

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  1. The problem is all the “weekend warrior” drone users that use them irresponsibly – it just takes a few idiots to ruin it for everyone.

  2. Obviously Tony Hsieh doesn’t know Jeremy Clarkson and his style well at all. For Tony Hsieh’s benefit and for those of you who’ve never seen an episode of Top Gear or The Grand Tour, understand that Jeremy generally has two modes: either massively over stating positives, or massively downplaying negatives. They’re both meant to be humorous and satirical, and to poke fun at people who take things a bit to seriously. Obsessing over Jeremy’s claims that a drone wouldn’t do anything to an airplane is foolish…I’m sure Jeremy knows full well that it would…and the FAA isn’t going to listen to Jeremy’s input on the matter anyways. Relax, dude…have a Coke and a smile.

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