FAQs

Here is a list of frequently asked questions about drones and the law, provided by the CAA:

A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle. Drones often have cameras attached, which can film high definition footage. They have recently soared in popularity and are available to buy on the high street. To fly a drone commercially, pilots must be Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved but hobbyists who fly for fun do not need to be. However, it is essential that all drone pilots understand the rules and regulations around flying in the United Kingdom, and the risks they pose to themselves and others whenever or wherever they take off. If you are the pilot of the drone you are responsible for each flight, you are responsible for avoiding collisions, and should an accident occur as a result of your drone, you will be liable for any compensation or criminal proceedings.

In general, you should fly a drone so it does not interfere with other air traffic, where it has little chance to injure people or damage property, and where the laws or regulations allow that kind of activity. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) governs the use of drones in the United Kingdom and covers everyone from hobbyists to professional pilots. If you own a drone that weighs anything from zero to 150kg when it takes off you fall under the regulations of the CAA. Head over to www.caa.co.uk or www.dronesafe.uk to find out more.

The answer to that question depends on what the drone will be used for, and who will be using it. Regardless of what kind of drone you want to get, if you have never flown a drone before it is best to start with something basic.

While some drones may be small and light, fitting into the palm of your hand, but they can quite large in size. In general, the larger and more expensive drones are much more capable than smaller and cheaper drones.

While flying drones can be fun, even the smallest drone can injure someone if it is not flown properly. When buying the right drone you should consider three things: the person flying the drone, the reasons for flying the drone, and the drone itself. Visit www.caa.co.uk or www.dronesafe.uk for more information.

Do I need any special training before I can fly a drone?

The Civil Aviation Authority does not have any training requirements for drone pilots. If you are flying a drone commercially, pilots must be Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved but hobbyists who fly for fun do not need to be. However, it is essential that all drone pilots understand the rules and regulations around flying in the United Kingdom, and the risks they pose to themselves and others whenever they take off.  The rules vary according to the mass of the drone but follow these simple steps to make sure you are flying to the Drone Code:

  • Make sure you can see your drones at all times and don’t fly higher than 400 feet to avoid potential conflict with aircraft
  • Keep away from people and property
  • Always keep your drones away from air traffic including aircrafts, helicopters, airports and airfields – if you drone endangers the safety of an aircrafts it is a criminal offence and you could go to prison for up to five years 
  • When flying a drone ensure you have made yourself familiar with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Use your common sense and fly safely; you could be prosecuted if you don’t, as the pilot you are responsible for each flight, you are responsible for avoiding collisions, and should an accident occur as a result of your drone, you will be liable for any compensation or criminal proceedings

What if my drone has a camera?

Drones fitted with cameras must not be flown within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or structures. A drone with camera must not be within 150 metres of congested areas or large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events. The Civil Aviation Authority sets the rules, and the guidelines for flying drones and they are pretty clear, to find out more head over to www.caa.co.uk or www.dronesafe.uk.

When you fly a drone in the UK it is your responsibility to be aware of the rules that are in place to keep everyone safe. If you believe anyone is breaking the law when flying a drone please report it directly to the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. For more information visit the Civil Aviation Authority website (www.CAA.co.uk or www.Dronesafe.uk).