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UK Drone Flyers Prepare: You’ll Soon Need a License to Fly
Following the United States’ FAA rules introduction for drone flyers, and the fairly recent mayhem at Gatwick and Heathrow that saw alleged drones shut down the fly space around both airports for days, the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is introducing further regulations to ensure drone flyers are qualified and safe to fly their drones. Anyone over the age of 18 mus pass the online pilot's test, as well as register their drone by the 30th of November - giving you until the end of this month to do so.
“This deadline applies to remote pilots flying model aircraft weighing between 250 grams (.55 pounds) and 20 kilograms (about 44 pounds).
Besides registering the drone, owners must obtain their flyer ID which requires taking and passing a theory (pilot) test. Adults and children under 13 can still fly but they must pass the test, and kids must be registered to fly by a parent or guardian. The drone's main operator must be 18 or older and is responsible for ensuring every person flying their aircraft is both registered and has passed their theory test.” (DPReview)
It's a relatively inexpensive license to obtain, costing £9 to register. A unique identification will be given and must be applied to the drone. Failure to adhere to these rules may result in fines of up to £1,000 or up to 5 years in jail if you’re flying particularly dangerously.
Drone companies are already looking for ways to get around the restrictions, with DJI’s latest drone, the Mavic Mini, weighing in at just 249 grams, just shaving the 250g minimum limit. Anyone looking to take their drone out for a spin and pick up some stunning footage while out in the UK, make sure you’re flying registered, or potentially face some nasty consequences. Otherwise pick up a smaller drone, and avoid the restrictions altogether (though stay safe)!