CAA addresses ‘nervous’ first-time drone users

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Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued official advice to first-time drone users following an anticipated surge in new hobbyists that received drones for Christmas.

With new registration laws and ever-increasing attention being paid to drones, the CAA said it expected many new drone users to be “apprehensive” about flying their new machine.

It said that new users could enjoy flying drones safely and legally by following some “simple” actions.

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Its advice includes how to register with the CAA for owners of drones over 250 grams and details of its online education package, which requires users to pass a short multiple-choice test to get their flyer ID.

The CAA added that news users can access safety information in the Dronecode, as this provides all the basic safety rules and advice that drone owners need to comply with.

Key to this is remaining below 400ft, keeping clear of aircraft and airfields, and not flying too close to people and property, it noted.

The CAA pointed out that there is a fine of up to £1,000 for anyone found guilty of not complying with the drone registration requirements.

UK airspace is some of the busiest in the world and even while keeping below the 400ft maximum flying height, users may well be sharing the skies with other aircraft, such as emergency helicopters.

The CAA acknowledged that there are a number of free apps that you can use to check the airspace in your location and recommends using one of the approved apps listed HERE.

Individual airfields also have restricted zones around them that it is illegal to fly a drone in without permission of the airfield or air traffic control. Airfield maps can be accessed HERE.

Many new drone users may already be thinking about how use their skills commercially, such as for photography or building inspections.

The CAA stressed that new drone users considering that route must first gain a commercial approval from the CAA, as only people with that permission can make money from their drone flying. 

Jonathan Nicholson, assistant director at the Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Getting a drone for Christmas is an exciting present, but drones aren’t toys and we understand that you may be apprehensive about how and where to fly it.

“This is also the first Christmas that drone registration has been required. So, our short handy set of tips is designed to get you into the air and enjoying your new drone as quickly and safely as possible.”

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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