Resource for all hobby flyers promoting safe and responsible use of model flying machines
from beginner to experienced in the Haverhill area of Suffolk U.K.
From Wednesday July 1 2020 changes will come into force that are designed to align the UK with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and build on the recently-introduced Drone and Model Aircraft Registration Scheme.
The new rules will do away with the limitations and ambiguity around commercial and non-commercial drone operations, and will instead be based around the type of drone you have and where you fly it.
The PfCO will be replaced by an Operational Authorisation. It is important to note that if you have a valid PfCO, you can continue to renew with the same provisions currently afforded by the permissions for the foreseeable future.
Under the new changes, three categories of operations will be introduced. These are Open, Specific and Certified, and relate to the level of risk involved.
FPV UK Drone and Model Aircraft Registration Scheme (DMARES) Information
This information is available in PDF format here:
Drone Code Latest
October 2019 version of Drone Code is Here:
Drone & Model Aircraft Registration Scheme
Update 21 October 2019
Registration mandatory from: 30 November 2019
The UK’s new Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Scheme will go live on 5 November 2019 (please note that you cannot register before this date).
There will be 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.
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.
From 5 November 2019 the system will be available at Register-drones.caa.co.uk.
Registration for FPV UK members
New regulations for people who fly or are responsible for small unmanned aircraft, including drones and model aircraft, come into force on 30 November 2019. The new regulations apply to drones and model aircraft from 250g to 20kg.
There are three main requirements:
You’ll need to pass an online test if you want to fly outdoors. The test will be free and you’ll need to pass it every three years.
You’ll also need to register as an operator if you’re responsible for a drone or model aircraft.
You must be aged 18 or over to be an operator. There will be an annual fee, which will be confirmed before the regulations come into force.
All drones and model aircraft will need to be labelled with the operator’s unique ID number.
More Information May be found here:
FPV UK response to House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Drone Report
New version of the Drone Code
Charge proposal for the UK Drone Registration Scheme
Drone operator registration becomes a legal requirement at the end of November 2019. We anticipate the system will be live in October 2019.
A consultation on the registration charge is open until 7 June and available at https://consultations.caa.co.uk/finance/drone-registration
Also from the end of November 2019 it will become a legal requirement for anyone flying a drone to pass an online test.
Latest News from your club FPV UK to be found here
Rant, Rave, Gossip or Fact?
13th March 2019
The no-fly zone for drones around airports is to be extended following the disruption at Gatwick in December 2018, the government says.
From 13 March 2019 it will be illegal to fly a drone within three miles of an airport, rather than the current 0.6-mile (1km) exclusion zone.
8th January 2019
Heathrow Airport London closed after Drone sighted
By Andy Wills (https://www.hovershotz.co.uk/blog/)
Here we go again. Another possible false drone sighting at Heathrow, and the UK’s busiest Airport is closed. The first response from the Police was to send their drones & helicopter in to look for the drone and guess what – yes, the public then phone in more drone sightings. These subsequent drone sightings are now the Police drones & helicopters, which perpetuates the problem – you couldn’t make it up. What will follow next is the Government putting the Police under pressure for an arrest and conviction, so they will arrest anyone and then be forced to release them. The Police will then realise that it was probably a false report (probably made with good intention) but because of the upheaval cause by the overreaction, the Government will then insist it was a drone (despite no evidence) and use it to implement emergency regulations.
What are the new drone laws?
The government has announced sweeping changes to drone legislation, including mandatory registration for those who own an aircraft weighing more than 250 grams (8oz).
Under the new rules, drone owners will be made to pass a safety awareness course in order to "prove that they understand UK safety, security and privacy regulations”.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has said that it is considering an age limit for the test, which could mean that children will be banned from flying drones.
There are also plans to extend the use of geo-fencing, in which drones have no-fly zones programmed into them around areas such as prisons and airports.
The DfT has said that it does not yet have a time frame for changes, and has admitted that "the nuts and bolts still have to be ironed out".
Aviation Minister Lord Martin Callanan said that the new measures “prioritise protecting the public while maximising the full potential of drones”.
"Increasingly, drones are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure for repair or aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, even helping to save lives,” he added.
"But like all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones and introducing safety awareness tests to educate users, we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public."
Those who break the new laws could find themselves behind bars.
Transport Secretary Chris Graying said: "I think at the very least you should face a substantial fine in situations where you have palpably endangered life then the courts should have the power to send you to prison.
“Let’s be frank if you are knowingly flying a drone in the flight path of an aircraft just above a runway then you should face pretty serious consequences."
What are the current drone laws?
Currently, operators must keep drones within their line of sight, and under 400ft (120m).
They must not be flown within 150ft (50m) of people and property, or within 500ft (150m) of crowds and built-up areas.
It is imperative that drones are kept well away from aircraft, airports and airfields.
Those who endanger the safety of an aircraft through the use of drones could face a five-year prison sentence.
Legal responsibility for each flight lies with the operator.
Commercial drone operators are required to complete a training course and register with the Civil Aviation Authority.
UK Drone Laws: The latest news and events in 2019
The government ran a public consultation on a batch of new proposals from July 6 2018 to September 17 2018, which attracted 5061 responses. It revealed the outcome of consultation on January 7 2019, and there are some significant UK drone law updates to be aware of if you wish to avoid fines and potential prison sentences.
Considering the disruption caused by drones at Gatwick and Heathrow airports over recent weeks, it’s no surprise that the government has decided to extend the area around airports and runways in which drones are banned from being flown.
It will be illegal to fly a drone within 5km of an airport, up from 1km.
Furthermore, the government says: “The new restriction zone will include rectangular extensions from the end of runways measuring 5km long by 1km wide to better protect take-off and landing paths.”
From November 30 2019, drone operators will have to register their device with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and take an online safety test. Anyone who fails to register or sit the competency tests could face fines of up to £1000.
Police are also going to be given extra powers. Officers will be able to “enter and/or search premises, with a warrant, where there is reasonable suspicion that there is a drone and/or its associated components which the police reasonably suspects of having been involved in the commission of an offence”.
They’ll also be able to issue fixed penalty notices (FPN) up to £100 for minor drone-related offences, “as a way to immediately and effectively enforce as a deterrent to offenders and to reduce pressure on Magistrates’ Courts”.
A drone user could be slapped with an FPN for committing any of the following offences:
- Not producing registration documentation, and/or proof of registration for drones between 250g and up to and including 20kg in mass, at the request of a police constable
- Not producing evidence of any other relevant permissions required by legislation, for example if you are a commercial drone operator or have an exemption from the CAA from an ANO 2016 article
- Not complying with a police officer when instructed to land a drone
- Flying a drone without a valid acknowledgement of competency, or failure to provide evidence of meeting this competency requirement when requested
We’ve also known for some time that the government is pushing for work on geofencing technology to be brought forward. The tech is built into the drones themselves and uses GPS coordinates to stop the devices from entering specific zones, such as prison or airport airspace.
“The Home Office will also begin to test and evaluate the safe use of a range of counter-drone technology in the UK,” is the government’s official line at present.
“This crucial technology will detect drones from flying around sensitive sites, including airports and prisons, and develop a range of options to respond to drones, helping to prevent a repeat of incidents such as that recently experienced at Gatwick.”
Can you shoot down a drone over your property in the UK?
Is it legal to shoot down a drone hovering or flying over your property or land in the UK? The short answer is no, for several reasons.
Can you shoot down a drone is a question asked by those who fear drone technology and want to protect their privacy. Many people believe drones are used for ‘snooping’ and to peep through bedroom or bathroom windows. There is however a drone code and if drone operators follow that code then homeowners and landowners have nothing to fear from drones. That said, there are idiots out there who fly their drones irresponsibly and without regard for the general public (such as what has happened at Gatwick Airport in December 2018), so could you shoot the drone down if it is flying over your land?
Firstly, in the UK the authorities take a very dim view of people discharging firearms in built up areas, and you would be prosecuted for any damage or injury your bullet caused. It is also illegal to shoot down any aircraft (that includes drones) in the UK (unless you are the UK military or Police that is). So if you were to shoot down a drone over your land you would be breaking the law. If after shooting down a drone it subsequently crashed and injured someone or damaged property then you could be potentially liable. What if your shot missed the drone and hit and killed a person, then you would be prosecuted for murder. Also, if the drone was not been flown dangerously and you shot it down then you could also be prosecuted for criminal damage.
The rules in the UK that govern drone flights are administered by the Civil aviation authority (CAA) and in regard to flying drones over property then it is totally legal as long as the following conditions are met:
- The drone operator has the permission of the landowner of the take-off and landing location (regardless of if it then flies over private property).
- The drone is at least 50 metres away from private property or people (unless over congested areas or a gathering of more than 1,000 people, in which case the drone needs to be 150 metres away.
- The drone does not exceed an altitude of 120 metres.
- The drone is not being flown dangerously or recklessly.
It may be possible to take legal action for trespass if the drone is flying low over your property but this falls under civil law and has never been tested in court in the UK. All you can really do is phone 101 and report the activity to the Police or if it is your neighbour conducting the drone flights then speak to them and ask them to stop.
Why didn’t the Police shoot down the drone causing disruption at Gatwick Airport? In this case, I’m sure if the Police were able to spot the elusive drone then they would have indeed shot it down. Firearms officers were spotted with shotguns at Gatwick Airport, hunting the drone.
OK, if you can’t shoot down the drone, could you jam the signal somehow? Drones generally transmit on the 2.4 ghz frequency and jammers are available to jam those signals but these are illegal in the UK under section 68 of the wireless telegraphy act of 2006. The problem is the frequencies drones use is the same as WIFI, so if you block the drone signal then you would take out an areas wifi. However the UK government are currently looking into the use of jammers and in the wake of the Gatwick incident we would expect a change in legislation in 2019.
Update in January 2019 – Following the Gatwick drone incident, the UK Government have increased the no fly zones for drones at airports from 1KM to 5KM. Also, airports such as Gatwick, Heathrow & Manchester are now allowed to use drone capture nets (a gun that fires a net to capture the drone).
A simple mnemonic to remember the UK drone code is:
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.
Here is a spoof video of a landowner shooting down a drone (if it was real then he could have faced prosecution for breaking the law).
Can I shoot down a drone is something TV celebrity Richard Madeley asked himself a couple of years ago, but fortunately he dealt with matters in a different way. A drone flew over his garden in Cornwall, leading to a confrontation with the drone pilot. The police were later involved and this is the best course of action if you do feel a drone is being used to spy on you or causing a nuisance.
The way forward would be for a way of adding your property to a drones geofencing (a map build into the drone of areas it will not fly in) or some form of drone shield or dome, such as the ones used by some UK prisons.
On a similar subject, certain landowners in the Lake District National Park (such as the National Trust) have banned all drone flights over their land and near their properties – is this legal and enforceable? No not really, UK air laws fall under the jurisdiction of the CAA and as long as the UK drone code is being followed then the landowner cannot prevent flights over their land or within 50 metres of their property.
There are a couple of exceptions though in the case of the National Trust; they have some bye laws in place since the 1960’s which prevent commercial photography of their property or disturbing certain wildlife on their land, which could be applied to drone activity, but the fines are ridiculously low (about an old shilling), so it’s not really worth enforcing
all credits - article from https://www.hovershotz.co.uk/blog/
FPV UK have news reports appearing that may be of interest. Their News Page can be found here.
They are not part of haverhilldrone.co.uk.
It may become compulsory to have insurance for your flying activities, at least its probably wise to have insurance any way, should your runaway crash onto people or property. Many flying clubs that you could join for a small annual fee include insurance cover for their members and this may be a benefit to consider.
FPV UK (fpvuk.org) is an association of hobbyist radio control drone (or unmanned/ model aircraft) pilots.
First Person View (FPV) flying is flying a model aircraft (or “drone”) using a small video camera mounted on the aircraft and video goggles to see the view from the camera. This first person view gives the impression of actually sitting inside the cockpit of the aircraft and adds a whole new exciting and enjoyable branch to an existing hobby. FPV UK was originally formed to champion and protect the hobby/ sport of FPV flying and we successfully got an exemption for FPV flying in 2009 which has been renewed every year since.
More recently our members fly all kinds of drones and radio control models for recreation. We welcome everyone and everything; whether you have a tiny DJI Spark, an expensive DJI Inspire 2, a super fast home built 250 racing quad, or a beautiful balsa wood scale model and whether you fly it by line or sight or by FPV.
FPV UK works with the regulator for UK aviation – the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the National Air Traffic Service (NATS), the Department for Transport (DfT), Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the House of Lords and other bodies, on matters pertaining to “drones”, FPV and recreational model flying.
The above information as an example of flying clubs and their benefits and not part of haverhilldrone.co.uk other clubs may have similar offers.
Note that should you select links taking you away from our website then the policies of the site you visit will apply.