As spring approaches and the UK’s weather improves soon we’ll be seeing more drones taking to the skies than ever before.
Drone season is nearly upon us and this year DSR predicts that in 2019 we shall see more drones being flown at events than ever before. This is great news as the nation’s businesses embrace drone technology. There is nothing wrong with this at all, as long as the pilots flying drones at events are legal commercial pilots.
Under the UK’s aviation law, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) states that anybody who is flying a drone for commercial operations must obtain permission from the CAA.
Let’s say, you are at a public or private event such as a wedding and you are part of a crowd of less than 1000 people – suddenly a drone flies above you or within 50 metres of you; without your consent. If this happens you are witnessing an illegal drone operator. Why? Because for this to happen legally, the pilot must clear the flight with you, tell you exactly what’s going to happen, provide a safety brief and obtain your consent. All bystanders (up to 1000 people) must be under the control of the pilot.
For larger crowds, more than a 1000 people, if the drone flies above you or within 150 metres of you without your consent, again, this will be an illegal operator. Misuse of drones is punishable by fine (up to £5000)
So just to recap
1 – 1000 persons….Drones must be 50 metres away. If closer, all 1000 persons must have consented
1000 + persons….Drones must be 150 metres away regardless of any consent.
Our drone operators adhere to strict flying rules on all flights and most importantly operate legally with the correct CAA permissions and commercial drone insurance.
Illegal drone operators flying at events pose significant danger because an unqualified pilot is not going to have as much competency as a trained legal pilot. This issue concerns adhering to important drone safety rules designed to protect the public from harm.
If this does happen to you and you have been put at risk by a drone flying within 50 metres without your consent then you should ask the pilot for their details and whether they have CAA permission. And don’t take their word for it! Ask to see their CAA PfCO certification.