Drone regulations 2019 – what you need to know

Wake Smith Solicitors 02 December 2019

With Christmas fast-approaching you may be considering the latest hi-tech gifts, and in recent years drones have proved to be a popular choice.

However, before shelling out on these expensive items, it is worthwhile considering the latest legal position regarding the ownership and operation of drones and other model aircrafts.

Rebecca Robinson, director in the corporate team at Wake Smith Solicitors looks at the new regulations coming into force at the end of November.

She said: “Following recent news reports of irresponsible owners flying their drones in a dangerous manner or, worse, near airports, the Civil Aviation Authority announced a new initiative called the Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Scheme.

“With effect from 30 November 2019, all owners of drones weighing between 250g and 20kg are, by law, required to register online as a drone operator, and to take and pass an online education test.”

CAA Drone and Model Aircraft Registration

There are two elements to the online system.

  • Anyone responsible for a drone or unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg will need to register as an operator. The cost for this will be £9 renewable annually; and
  • Anyone flying a drone or unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg will need to take and pass an online education package. This is free and renewable every three years

Both of these requirements become law on 30 November 2019. Registration opened on 5 November 2019 and should be carried out using the online form which can be accessed from the following link: https://register-drones.caa.co.uk/

Basic Flying Rules

The Civil Aviation Authority has also devised the following Dronecode:

  • Don’t fly near airports or airfields
  • Remember to stay below 400ft (120m)
  • Observe your drone at all times – stay 150ft (50m) away from people and property
  • Never fly near aircraft
  • Enjoy responsibly

Drones Reunited

Rebecca added: “Registration is not all bad, as it has paved the way for the launch of Drones Reunited. Launched on 5 November 2019 this platform has been set up to help recover the thousands of drones lost in the UK each year.

“As a result of the new national drone registration scheme Drones Reunited will help drone users recover their missing machines – a serious problem for flyers, as new research reveals that over a quarter of drone owners have lost a drone.

“The research also found that drones are most at risk of being lost due to flight malfunctions – with more than half of misplaced drones going missing due to battery loss, poor signal, or a technology failure. And in a quarter of cases it's down to pilot error.

“If you are in doubt about drone regulations and are confused about where you can and cannot fly your drone, head to the Civil Aviation Authority website for the up-to-date drone regulations and useful information.”

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