When you fly a drone in the UK it is your responsibility to be aware of the rules that are in place to keep everyone safe. This page will highlight some easy steps you can follow to ensure you are flying safely and legally.
What does the law say?
The regulations for recreational drone flights are contained within the Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) which is the primary document for all aviation regulations within the UK. In order to keep the regulations at a proportionate level for these small drones, a set of specific, simpler, regulations apply to aircraft that have a mass of 20kg or less (which are termed ‘small unmanned aircraft’ within the ANO).
In simple terms, these regulations state that:
- you are responsible for flying your drone in a safe manner
- you must keep the drone in your direct sight at all times while it is flying, so that you can ensure that it does not collide with anything, especially other aircraft
- you must not endanger anyone, or any thing with your drone, including any articles that you drop from it
- if your drone weighs more than 7kg, additional rules apply if you fly in certain types of airspace and you must not fly above 400ft above the surface
- If your drone is fitted with a camera, there are also a number of additional limitations surrounding where you can fly it, and how close you can fly it to other uninvolved people or objects. In order to be able to fly within these areas, or closer than the minimum distances that are in the regulations, you must obtain prior Permission from the CAA to do so.
Drones that are fitted with video cameras often provide an opportunity to downlink ‘live’ video to the person flying the drone either via a mobile phone, tablet computer or other screen, or even through video goggles – this capability provides the operator with a pseudo ‘pilots eye view’ from the drone itself and is generally given the term ‘First Person view’ (FPV).
However, the law [at ANO article 94(3)] requires that the person in charge of a drone must maintain direct unaided visual contact with the aircraft which is sufficient to monitor its flight path so that collisions may be avoided. This is obviously not possible if that person is wearing video goggles or otherwise constantly monitoring a display. Therefore, FPV flight is only permitted if the activity has been approved by the CAA. A General Exemption has been issued which allows an element of ‘First Person View’ (FPV) flight to be conducted.
Guidance on the exemption and the conditions that must be observed whilst employing this privilege.
If you wish to conduct an FPV flight which cannot be accommodated within the terms of this General Exemption, then you will need to apply to the CAA for an exemption to do so.
Be drone safe and follow this simple guide.Dronecode