Drone Registration and EducationIt's Here!
Many of us within the industry have quickly tired of reading the negative headlines about drones being flown irresponsibly and dangerously. It’s the reason why we welcome any new legislation to strengthen ownership and flight rules and experience.
Yes drones are dangerous. But any risk can be mitigated and well managed when flown by the right person, in the right place at the right time.
Paul Harrison, our principal drone pilot says,
“We take the utmost care and attention when planning any flight. After all, we are talking about the safety of the general public, and our countryside. The steps that we have to follow are logical, understandable and practical. Anything the industry can do to tighten the rules around which others have to work should be welcomed.”
What you need to know now that the rules have changed...
After much speculation, and some considerable confusion, the 30th November 2019 brought in mandatory drone registration in the UK.
Here’s an overview of what has changed and how it might affect you.
Drone Registration – does it apply to me?
This applies to all drones and model aircraft weighing between 250g and 20kg which will be flown outside. Essentially it requires anyone who is responsible for a drone, be it a Christmas present for messing around in the garden or model aircraft club flyer, to register online and get an operator ID at a cost of £9. This is a yearly cost which is renewable annually with the CAA. Your operator ID must be visible on the main body of the drone or aircraft in clear block capitals and must be easily readable when the aircraft is on the ground.
If you’re an organisation then you can register as such; after which multiple drones can be labelled under the organisation’s registration number.
Are there any exemptions to the new rule?
Members of ARPAS-UK, the British Model Flying Association (BMFA), Scottish Aeromodellers’ Association (SAA), Large Model Association (LMA) and FPV UK are not required to register as an operator with the CAA system until 31st January 2020. At Integrator Drone Services we are members of ARPAS-UK. However to remove any doubt or confusion with our customers, we have already registered as an operator with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Once your drone is registered under an organisation or individually then you can then move to the education part. The CAA now requires all drone operators to complete an online theory test. Again, this applies to all operators – whether you throw a drone up in your garden once a year, or you take it out every weekend and film at an event. And there’s no minimum age (although under 13’s can only register with a parent or guardian present). There’s no fee to sit the test, and all the knowledge needed to pass is available on the CAA website. Having done the test, we absolutely agree that this is all information that any drone user should know about and be conscious of. It has a passmark of 16 out of 20.
Does everyone have to take this test?
Drone pilots with an existing PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) are not obliged to take the test as they have already passed a significantly more stringent examination and competency test in order to obtain their commercial licence. If you are looking for a drone pilot who you want to pay to complete some commercial work for you, then always look to ensure they are PfCO qualified.
What this means
The short of it is that the CAA requires all drone owners to be registered and all pilots to pass an education test with the basics of drone safety. This can only be a good thing for the safety of the general public and reinforces the responsibility of owning a drone.
As a commercial operator we welcome this, and it should help to improve the reputation of the drone industry from a public safety perspective. However, do remember that it still remains the same, that if you’re employing a drone company to carry out work for you, then they must have a full Permission for Commercial Operations license with the CAA.
More information can be found here:
Here’s a handy video to walk you through what to do: