Education and enforcement have been cited as the two most important factors in ensuring the continued development of drones in the UK’s airspace.
British regulation body, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told Commercial Drone Professional that drone users deviating from regulations fall into two factions: those doing so unknowingly and pilots knowingly ignoring the rules.
The CAA’S Jonathan Nicholson, assistant director of communications, explained that, while hobbyists and commercial users flying outside the UK’s regulatory framework tar the industry with the same brush, cracking down on education and enforcement will ensure safe flying and will protect the industry’s reputation.
He said: “We’re putting a lot of effort and a lot of money into education, and that will continue for the foreseeable future. The other aspect is the people who know there are rules that actively break the rules.
“The police are the enforcement agencies for any kind of illegal drone use, as they would be for any illegal activity in the UK, and we work closely with them.
There’s an element of education for those people but also enforcement from the police as well to show them that that kind of behaviour is unacceptable.”
Nicholson added that, in order for the industry to continue to grow and reach its full potential in the future, it is vital that illegitimate pilots do not cause any permanent damage now.
“We know there are people out there doing commercial work that haven’t undertaken training, they don’t have the approvals in place, that affects the business of the people who have done it properly and they could impact the future of the industry,” Nicholson added.