• The PLA Air Force is set to enforce stricter monitoring of unauthorized flights of small unmanned aerial aircraft like drones.

The PLA Air Force is set to enforce stricter monitoring of unauthorized flights of small unmanned aerial aircraft like drones. (Photo : www.uasvision.com)

Chinese drone owners and enthusiasts will now face a hard time using their drones after the People's Liberation Army Air Force vowed to enforce the stricter monitoring of small unmanned aircraft, China Daily reported.

Colonel Shen Jinke, spokesman for the PLA Air Force, said that the Air Force will coordinate with civil aviation and public security departments to safeguard airspace security as well as enhance the management and control of small unmanned aerial vehicles that fly at low altitude and slow speed.

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Shen said that flights of small drones have become rampant across the country in recent years, despite the government's efforts to handle the problem. The safety of military and civilian aircraft was threatened by some of the flights, he added.

Shen made the remarks following incidents which involved a number of unapproved flights by unmanned aircraft that posed potential threats to the operations of military aircraft.

On Nov. 17, during a training session, a PLA Air Force helicopter unit in Hebei Province claimed seeing a drone that was flying illegally near the unit's airport. The unmanned aircraft was forced to land after helicopters were sent and soldiers assisted the police in arresting the drone's ground controllers.

An investigation later revealed that the drone belonged to an aviation technology company based in Beijing and that the flight was neither authorized nor approved by any civil aviation or military authority, the report said.

A video clip reportedly taken by a drone that recently circulated among video-sharing websites also caught the military's attention because it showed a fighter jet flying past the drone as the jet was landing.

PLA Daily, the military's newspaper, blamed the operators for flying the drone near the flight routes of military planes, adding that such a move greatly compromises the safety of military aircraft and the people on the ground along the routes.

Unauthorized drone flights have made headlines in recent years, including one that forced an airport in Zhejiang Province to close for nearly an hour, delaying 18 flights, and another incident that affected the landing of nearly 10 flights at Beijing Capital International Airport.

Song Xinzhi, an aviation expert who has been with the PLA Air Force for more than three decades, said that drone owners and operators should not take such risk if they want to fly drones near military airports.