Safer Drones is a police-led course on flying drones available to take in parts of the United Kingdom. Flying drones can be an incredibly complicated hobby in terms of the do’s and don’ts and law surrounding it. When the Dorset and Cornwall Drone Police Unit announced they were doing a drone safety course it seemed like a good place to find some answers.
Safer Drones was £20 for a 3-hour course covering the law, pilot responsibility, privacy, commercial flying and the drone code. The course was open to anybody over 14 years of age, this is due to some sales restrictions on larger drones.
So what did I take away from it? I learnt some of the following legislation surrounding drones. Including the Air Navigation Order: Cap 393 and Provisions regarding drones.
94: Non camera drones
1) Can’t drop anything from the aircraft
2) The pilot in charge mist perform safety checks
3) The drone must remain in line of sight
4) Drones over 7kg must obtain permission from air traffic control in category A, C, D or E airspace.
5) Commercial use is not permitted without a commercial licence
95: Camera Drones
1) Can’t fly within 150 metres of a crowded areas
2) Can’t fly within 150 metres of an open-air assembly of more than 1000 people
3) Can’t fly within 50 metres of any person (although you can overfly at over 50 metres of height)
4) Can’t fly within 30 metres of any person during takeoff and landing
240: Endangering aircraft
241: Endangering people or property
if you are interested in learning more, you can read it in full here.
– Harassment or voyeurism, this includes repeated flights in the same area or flying close to peoples personal space.
– Public Nuisance, this includes flying too close to people, buildings, boats, restricted airspace or animals.
– Criminal damage, this can be from a flyaway, dangerous flying or just pilot error.
– Assault, this is simply crashing into a person and causing any damage on impact from the drone or propellers.
Q: Can aerial footage from hobbyists be used for Youtube monetisation?
A: The answer given was no, but the CCA rules don’t seem to back that up on this page.
Q: Is there is a way to easily work out the take off diameters?
A: You can use the fields area map available for iOS and Android.
Q: Are the rules for flying on private land different?
A: Although you may not need permission if you own the land you still need to fly to the distance regulations as once you are up in the air you are in controlled airspace.
Q: Is a commercial drone pilot free to fly anywhere?
A: No, they need to get permission before flying if required but the commercial licence gives them more flexible rules whilst flying.
Q: Who is the UK airspace controlled by?
A: The CAA regulates the UK airspace and NATs manage it
Q: Do I need to notify air traffic control before flying?
A: Its advisable to check NOTAMS (Notice to Airmen) before flying using this app for iOS or Android and if you have time it never hurts to call.
The main takeaways are really the basics that everyone should know and the rest is common sense. 400ft (120 metres) is the max height you can go to and this is from the altitude of the take-off point. 500 metres is the maximum distance you can go to maintain the line of sight
The rules around drones are constantly changing so be sure to always double check with the relevant sources for where you are flying. Always be sure to research where you are flying and make sure you can fly there in the first place.
You can check out more about the Safer Drones initiative on their Facebook page. Alternatively, you can find more drone safety resources here.