Everyone who flies a drone has a responsibility to make sure safety is top priority at all times.
Should things go wrong, ignorance of the rules will be no excuse and could lead to severe penalties for the drone pilot.
For instance, flying higher than 400ft is banned as it increases the risk of an accident with an aircraft. Endangering the safety of an aircraft is a criminal offence which can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years and/or unlimited fines.
The Government passed legislation in 2019 making it illegal to fly a drone within 1km of an airport or airfield boundary in the UK. This came after drones spotted near the runway caused pre-Christmas chaos at Gatwick Airport in 2018 when around 1,000 flights had to be cancelled leading to long delays for 140,000 stranded passengers.
The top drone training company in the UK is Yorkshire-based Flyby Technology (www.flybydrones.co.uk), recognised experts within the industry as their highly-qualified instructors have more than 600 YEARS flying experience between them.
Most are former Royal Navy or RAF fighter pilots and the chief examiner, Jon Parker, has drawn up a list of 10 golden rules every drone operator MUST follow.
- No flight above 400ft from the surface.
- No flight within 150m of a congested area.
- No flight within 50m of people, property, vehicles or vessels not under their control.
- No flight further than 500m from the operator.
- No person inside 30m on take-off and landing except the drone pilot or people under the pilot's control.
- No flight inside an ATZ (Air Traiffic Zone) or within the Runway Protection Zone of an aerodrome without permission.
- No drone weighing 20kg or greater to fly without permission from the CAA.
- Never fly unless you are satisfied the flight is safe to be made and always check the weather frequently throughout the day.
- Always check the controls for the drone are working perfectly before every flight … even after a short break such as to change its battery.
- Only look at the screen on the controller to frame a shot or to check how much power the battery has remaining. Flying the drone just by looking at the screen is bad practice. You should be looking at your drone and scanning for incursions by aircraft 99% of the time. Flyby Technology call the screen the ‘face magnet’ for good reason. Lifting your head is lifting safety.
Flyby Technology is based in York but holds drone flying courses nationwide. If you'd like more information on the essentials of owning and operating a drone, visit our Drone Essentials Page >