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Please Note: All information below has been found via the internet and is to provide a guidance in droning 

10 things you need to know about flying drones

  1. drones can and do present a very real hazard to manned aircraft, pilots (including military pilots) have reported over 50 near misses with drones last year alone

  2. drones (including model aircraft) are subject to the law through the Air Navigation Order

  3. it is your responsibility to fly safely and within the law – if you don’t (and individuals have been) you could be prosecuted.

  4. never fly a drone near an airport/airfield or close to aircraft. It is a criminal offence to endanger the safety of aircraft in flight

  5. keep your drone in sight and below 400ft

  6. do not fly over congested areas and never fly within 50m of a person, vehicle or building not under your control

  7. if you wish to use a drone for commercial purposes (get paid) then you need to have permission from the CAA

  8. ensure any images obtained do not break privacy laws

  9. if your unit wishes to buy a commercially available drone for Defence activities (photographs, multimedia, and surveys at height) it becomes regulated by the MAA and you must follow their rules

  10. finally, Follow the Drone Code, have fun and fly safe.

Register Your Drone

When registering your drone, you must select to register either under part 107 or the Exception for Recreational Flyers (if the drone weighs less than 0.55 pounds or 250 grams you do not need register).

  • For part 107 all drones must be registered (regardless of weight).

  • For the Exception for Recreational Flyers drones must be registered if they weigh 0.55 pounds (250 grams) or more.

  • Registrations cannot be transferred between Part 107 and Recreational.

  • If you are not sure what kind of a drone flyer you are, check out our User Identification Tool or visit our Getting Started webpage to learn more.

How to Register

After You Register

Label Your Drone

The FAA requires that you mark all drones with your registration number before you fly them. Here is how to label your drone:

Data and Additional Information

Essentially your responsibilities are:

  • to know how to fly your drone safely, and do so within the law

  • to understand that the operator is legally responsible for every flight

  • to keep your drone in sight at all times and stay below 400ft

  • not to fly your drone over a congested area, never fly within 50 metres of a person, vehicle or building not under your control

  • ensure any images you obtain using the drone do not break privacy laws

  • avoiding collisions, you should never fly a drone near an airport or close to aircraft. It is a criminal offence to endanger the safety of an aircraft in flight.

There are several other things to think about; what is your drone going to do if it runs out of power or fails? Is it going to land/fall somewhere safe? Are you far enough away from people, buildings and more importantly airfields if you lose control of your drone? Also bear in mind that you can be several miles away from an airfield and still be a hazard to manned aviation. Height is very difficult to judge from the ground, you might still be able to see your drone, just, and yet be well above 400ft. You should also consider that many military helicopters will often return to an airfield from all directions at 500ft and fixed wing aircraft can start descending from 1,000ft about 3 miles away. So the message is this, if you are going to use drones, have a really good think about where you are, keep your drone in sight, consider what aircraft might be flying about and keep clear, it is your responsibility.

For those who wish to use drones commercially, for commercial gain, then permission is required from the CAA. They will expect you to attend an accredited course that will train you and assess your ability to safely operate drones. The courses include flying competence, knowledge of the law, risk assessments, decision making and more. They exist to ensure that those who wish to legitimately use drone technology in their business can do so safely and not expose the general public or aviation to unnecessary danger.

Further information can be found on the CAA website.

Finally, we all know how useful drones are on operations and some units may consider that these commercially available drones can be put to use to meet service non-core aviation requirements – photography, multimedia applications, surveys etc. If you are considering this, then you need to know that in this instance any drone use for the MOD, will be regulated by the Military Aviation Authority (MAA). Specifically, Regulatory Articles 16002320 and most pertinently 2321. The requirements in these regulatory articles are similar to those required by the CAA. If your unit does not have any aviation expertise you may wish to consult the MAA direct for advice, or, for those with access to the Defence Intranet - view Defence Instructions and Notice (DIN) 2015DIN06-023; Alternatively DINs 2016DIN07-112 and 2016DIN04-178 issued by 700X Naval Air Squadron are a good starting point.

In summary, drone technology is extremely useful, great fun to use and is here to stay but used wrongly it does pose a genuine hazard to manned aviation, so make sure you know the law, stay within the law and fly safe.

New drone laws bring added protection for passengers

Laws will restrict drones from flying above 400 feet and within 1 kilometre of airport boundaries.

Published 30 May 2018


Department for TransportCivil Aviation Authority, and Baroness Sugg CBE

  • the government is introducing height limits to help make sure drones are used safely as the sector grows

  • limits around airports are being tightened up with new restrictions to prevent drones from causing harm

  • drone users will have to register and take online safety tests to improve accountability

New laws being introduced today (30 May 2018) will restrict all drones from flying above 400 feet and within 1 kilometre of airport boundaries.

Following a year-on-year increase in the report of drone incidents with aircraft – with 93 in 2017 - these measures will reduce the possibility of damage to windows and engines of planes and helicopters. The changes will come into effect on 30 July 2018.

The new laws will also require owners of drones weighing 250 grams or more to register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and for drone pilots to take an online safety test to ensure the UK’s skies are safe from irresponsible flyers. These requirements will come into force on 30 November 2019.

Drone film

The changes are part of the future of mobility Grand Challenge, which was laid out in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy. Ensuring drones are being used safely will pave the way for the devices to play an increasingly important role in society.

Drones have the potential to bring great benefits to the UK, they already help inspect national infrastructure like our railways and power stations, and are even aiding disaster relief speeding up the delivery of blood. PwC has predicted the industry could be worth £42 billion in the UK by 2030.

The CAA and airports will have the power to make exceptions to these restrictions in specific circumstances.

Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister, said:

We are seeing fast growth in the numbers of drones being used, both commercially and for fun.

Whilst we want this industry to innovate and grow, we need to protect planes, helicopters and their passengers from the increasing numbers of drones in our skies.

These new laws will help ensure drones are used safely and responsibly.

Chris Woodroofe, Chief Operating Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

We welcome the clarity that today’s announcement provides as it leaves no doubt that anyone flying a drone must stay well away from aircraft, airports and airfields.

Drones open up some exciting possibilities but must be used responsibly. These clear regulations, combined with new surveillance technology, will help the police apprehend and prosecute anyone endangering the travelling public.

In addition to these measures a draft Drones Bill will be published this summer, which will give police more tailored powers to intervene on the spot if drones are being used inappropriately.

Drone operators will also eventually be required to use apps – so they can access the information needed to make sure any planned flight can be made safely and legally.

For model aircraft flying associations who have a long-standing safety culture, work is underway with the CAA to make sure drone regulations do not impact their activity.

Drones film

As part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy the Nesta Flying High challenge has already identified 5 cities with plans for how drone technology could operate in their complex city environments to address local needs.

The future of mobility is one of the modern Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges and forms part of a long term plan to build a Britain fit for the future through a stronger, fairer economy. Through this, the government is helping businesses to create better, higher-paying jobs - setting a path for Britain to lead in the high-tech, highly-skilled industries of the future.

Background information

The new laws are being made via an amendment to the Air Navigation Order 2016.

Drone users who flout the new height and airport boundary restrictions could be charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft. This could result in an unlimited fine, up to five years in prison, or both.

Users who fail to register or sit the competency tests could face fines of up to £1,000.

There has been a significant increase in the number of commercial permissions issued by the CAA in the last year. The number of active commercial licences increased from 2,500 to 3,800 in 2017, a year on year growth of 52%.

There has been a year on year increase in drone incidents with 71 in 2016 rising to 93 in 2017.

A recently released PwC report highlighted that the uptake of drones could be worth up to £41.7 billion to the UK GDP by 2030.

Drones are currently being used for a broad range of purposes across different industry sectors:

  • Costain use drones for inspections at Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station, saving 50% of costs compared to the use of helicopters or human inspection teams

  • the inspection of a wind turbine typically costs around $1,500 per tower. Performing the same inspection using a drone cuts the cost by around 50%

  • Network Rail are using drones to improve track maintenance and boost field worker efficiency, whilst reducing the amount of work at height required on Network Rail’s assets

  • the use of drone to deliver parcels significantly reduces costs, research by Deutsche Bank showed that drones cost less than $0.05 per mile to deliver a parcel the size of a shoe box, compared to delivery costs of up to $6.50 for premium ground services

  • television shows such as Planet Earth II use drones to film wildlife hundreds of feet in the trees

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