Singapore—On Wednesday, December 18, Homen Wong admitted to flying his drone over train tracks in Sengkang, which eventually hit a train on February 8, 2018.
Mr Wong, a 21-year-old full-time national serviceman, admitted to the charge of operating his drone in a manner that could have endangered the safety of persons and property.
He is expected to receive his sentence on January 9, 2020.
The drone, which was hit by a train when it ran out of power and ended up on the train tracks, did not damage the train. Neither did it disrupt any of the trains’ services, the New Paper (TNP) reports.
Mr Wong faces an additional charge of operating the device within five kilometers of Paya Lebar Air Base and Seletar Airport.
The NSman wanted to shoot photos and videos of the train coming into and departing from its station from the air, and flew his device over pedestrian walkways and train tracks.
He did not have a Class 2 activity permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) for flying the drone, which he did at a maximum height of about 50 meters for around 40 minutes in an open field near the LRT station at Sengkang on the said date.
The permit from CAAS would have stated that the NSman was obligated to fly the device under safe operating conditions, including not operating the drone needlessly above public roads and structures.
Mr Wong lost control over the device when its battery ran out, according to Deputy Public Prosecutor Houston Johannus. The NSman requested help from the staff at the MRT station to get his damaged drone back, which was returned to him one week after the incident.
Later, Mr Wong posted a video on YouTube of his drone’s adventures, entitled, “DJI Mavic Pro survived a train crash”. The clip made rounds on social media, but the video has since been taken down.
By April, SBS Transit filed a report to CAAS.
Drones flown illegally have become a repeat problem in Singapore of late. On October 2, twenty-one-year-old Tan Jin Kiang was charged with unlawfully flying a DJI Mavic 2 zoom drone along Raffles Avenue in front of the Singapore Flyer shortly before 8 o’clock on the evening of August 9, during this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) which is an enhanced security event.
A statement from the Police indicated that officers had seen the drone flying on Raffles Avenue on August 9. They then tracked Mr Tan and detained him, taking the drone from him.
On June 18 and 19, TISG reported that within a 10 hour period, about 37 scheduled flights were delayed due to unauthorised drones flying within the vicinity of Changi Airport.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), there were ‘confirmed sightings of unauthorised drone flying’ in the vicinity of Changi Airport between 11 pm on June 18 and 9 am on June 19.
“To ensure the safety of aircraft operations and passengers, the operations of one runway were suspended for short periods of time,” noted CAAS. The remaining runway continued to operate while the other was suspended.
And on July 5, two Singaporean men were charged for allegedly flying drones near a military airbase on June 26 without permission. Ed Chen Junyuan, 37, and Tay Miow Seng, 40, appeared in court charged with one count each of operating a small drone within five kilometres (three miles) of Paya Lebar Air Base without the correct permit. -/TISG