Drones are becoming more and more popular in the UK, and they are gaining headlines due to whether it is legal to fly drones in the UK. We’re here to give you the information you need in the most simple way that we can.
First of all, you don’t need authorization from the Civil Aviation Authority(CAA) if you are not using it for commercial use. So if you are not getting paid for using the drone then you are fine.
That does not mean that there are no rules for flying a drone, a Small Unmanned Aircraft are still governed by the CAA. They have become so popular now that they have made a guide on the rules of flying a drone.
- Keep your drone within your line of sight and at a maximum height of 400ft (120m)
- Make sure your drone is within 500m from you horizontally
- Always fly your drone well away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields
- A drone must be flown at last 50m away from a person, vehicle, building or structure not owned or controlled by the pilot.
- Drones must not be flown within 150m of a congested area or large groups of people, such as a sporting event or concert
They have even created this to help us remember:
- Don’t fly near airports or airfields
- Remember to stay below 120m (400ft) and at least 50m (150ft) away from people
- Observe your drone at all times
- Never fly near aircraft
- Enjoy responsibly
Failure to fly responsibly could result in criminal prosecution.
If you wish to go beyond these rules you will have to get approval from the CAA, you can find out more on their website.
Where can I fly my drone?
You must keep your drone out of any restricted airspace like airports and military zones. If you endanger an aircraft then it is a criminal offence and you could go to prison for up to 5 years.
The CAA and Drone Safe have created an app for both iPhone and Android that tells you exactly where you can and can’t fly your drone.
It also has a Fly Now feature where you can share your drones location and help prevent incidents.
What if I want to fly commercially?
If you want to fly commercially then you will have to go to an approved assessment organisation who can help you develop an operations manual and check you meet the necessary requirements. You can find out more about that on the CAA’s website here, including a list of assessment organisations approved by the CAA.
How do I fly a drone safely?
You can find out more about the steps you should take to ensure you are flying safely in our Drone Safety Guide.
Can I fly in First Person View(FPV)
Technically when flying drones through FPV you do not have the actual drone in sight. The way to combat this is to have a spotter that can keep the drone in sight while you fly the drone.
Should I get insurance for my drone?
Each flight you do is your responsibility so you are liable for any damage caused by the drone. It may be that your home insurance will cover you but it is worth checking out.
You can get Drone insurance from around £35 a year which will cover you for any incidents.
You can find insurance on sites such as https://www.insure4drones.co.uk/
If your drone has a camera then you are subject to tighter laws concerning what and who you can film. All data recorded on the device is subject to the Data Protection Act.
Further information about the Data Protection Act and the circumstances in which it applies can be obtained from the Information Commissioner’s Office and website: www.ico.org.uk