If you are thinking of buying your child a drone for Christmas then take into consideration the following advice on the Drone Law.
- Know what the LAW is: Flying a drone is not as easy as it sounds, the actual piloting of the drone is the easy bit, finding somewhere legal to fly it another matter. Unless you have lost of land around your property, chances are you will not be able to fly your drone from your house or back garden safely. Keeping to the regulated 50m distance in a town or built up area is near impossible, and this distance is for the safety of the general public. You must also ensure that you keep at least 150m from any public gathering. Keeping the drones in sight with today’s technology is going to be very difficult indeed, there will be a temptation to try to fly the drone as far as you can. Once the drone passes 400-500 ft from you it will be nearly impossible to see. Above all if you are flying outside then you will need the permission of the landowner to land and takeoff, this can prove problematic in many cases as its difficult to establish who owns the land, and flying without permission could lead to a trespass prosecution.
- Drones are not toys: All too often we see in the news, drones being flown too close to airports, too close to buildings and too close to public gatherings. These machines are very capable aircraft, even the cheap drones are capable of breaking the CAA guidelines for drone use. They can be flown great distances and at a great height often with disastrous consequences.
- Get to know how the drone works: Its Christmas morning and all your child is going to want to do is charge the battery in the drone and start flying. There are some small drones on the market that are very capable of being flown inside. But that is not true of all drones. Drone blades move at incredible speeds and if you lose control of the drone indoors and it hits someone they stand a real chance of being seriously injured. Our advice is to start practising outside to start with, get use to how the drone fly’s and above all read the instructions on your drone. All drone sold in the UK should come with a CAA copy of the Drone Code: This should be adhered to at all times. Breaking this Drone code could lead to prosecutions.
- Do you want to sell the images you take from the drone? Basically if you want to sell the images that you take using your drone then you need permission from the CAA to do this. You will need a Permit For Commercial Operations. This involves the following
- demonstrate a sufficient understanding of aviation theory (airmanship, airspace, aviation law and good flying practice)
- pass a practical flight assessment (flight test)
- develop basic procedures for conducting the type of flights you want to do and set these out in an Operations Manual
Generally this can take several months to achieve at best, you will also need to get public liability insurance, which is not cheap, in total an investment of around £5000 would be needed in order to start on a professional basis.
In short, if you are sensible and respect other people’s boundaries and spaces then you will have a great time flying your new aircraft.