Sub 250g drones and the A1 Open Category

Sub 250g drones and the A1 Open Category

With so much misinformation on social media, we felt it was important to clarify the correct information.

If you join either the British Model Flying Association or the British Drone Flyers, remember you have access to not only our Article 16 Authorisation, but also that you can choose to register for the CAA Operator ID through us, as well as take our version of the CAA’s Flyer ID competency test the RCC (the Registration Competency Certificate)

Jump to the question you want here:
0:43 Q1) Do I need an Operator ID?
1:31 Q2) Do I need a Flyer ID?
2:05 Q3) Can I fly my sub 250g drone anywhere?
2:45 Q3) Part 1 – How close can you really fly to people?
3:44 Q3) Part 2 – Is it OK to overfly uninvolved people?
4:30 Q3) Part 3 – What is considered a ‘crowd’ of people?
6:05 Q3) Bonus – Don’t commit trespass!

Here are some very useful links:

British Model Flying Association link to join:
https://bmfa.org/join-renew/join-the-bmfa

British Drone Flyers link to join: (A BDF member is a BMFA member, with the same core support)

Join Us

BMFA / BDF members link to take the RCC test as an alternative to the CAA Flyer ID:

Registration Competency Test

BMFA / BDF Article 16 Authorisation details link:

Article 16

CAA DMARES link for the Operator ID and/or Flyer ID:
https://register-drones.caa.co.uk/individual

11 Comments

  1. John Britton on September 4, 2022 at 8:31 pm

    The new Drone laws have nothing to do with safety its about regulation, I can fly a 35 gram drone with a DANGEROUS camera and have to register it and all that blablabla or you can fly a 249 gram drone without a DANGEROUS camera and you don’t have to register it or any blablabla. wont be long before you will have a radio id tag on your drone.

  2. LISTEDGames on September 4, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    So let’s say that the X park is owned by the council and I cannot take off or land there, how about if I take off from another place and fly over the park?

  3. Steve Jordan on September 4, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    Your last point . Flying over Nat trust land . Can I fly from outside Nat trust land ( public land ) and fly over there air space with sub 250 drone ? There bylaws usually old and can be argue .. incase it go with a clivil matter .

  4. That Goth Guy on September 4, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    The CAA states an Operator ID "visible from the outside, or within a compartment that can easily be accessed without using a tool" so it can be in the battery compartment, just not on the battery.

  5. Nick W on September 4, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    On the early point of needing an Id because of a camera. I think the rules make a distinction between a camera for gathering images and a camera whose only purpose is for the control of the drone. Ie, I believe if this was an FPV drone where the camera with a monitor etc is used to fly it and there is no recording capability, then that camera would not trigger the need for an Id.

    Also, I think none of this applies for indoor flying.

  6. FamilyFlannel on September 4, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    Great stuff , one of the best explanations of these rules in this category,Thanks.

  7. GosuRC on September 4, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    If I make my own drone from a collection of parts and it is under 250g is that still classed as a sub 250g from the CAA point of view? As I did read that modifying a drone can alter its status even if it is still under 250g.

  8. formicapple2 on September 4, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    Many thanks for taking the trouble to make this video. I don’t own a drone yet but will be getting one to compliment my photography hobby. Can you recommend a drone suitable for areal photography? Or would the answer be like someone asking me what make of camera is the best: Nikon,Cannon, Sony etc?

  9. Ross Cooper-Smith on September 4, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    Would be nice to get a similar video but targeted at the general public and kids so people know how to safely fly their new christmas toys. Maybe with a title like "Drones, planes and toy helicopters: Safe and fun flying under 250g". The A1 open category covers more than just camera drones, and flying models without a camera have very sensible rules these days:
    1. Always keep the model in line of sight (a great idea anyway if you don’t want to lose your new toy).
    2. Always fly under 400′ (safety rules for full scale aviation mean this limit is here for a good reason).
    3. Never fly over people.

    It would also be worth mentioning that some local parks, councils and nature reserves do have restrictions on flying. There’s no flying of powered models anywhere in the Peak District national park for example, but by and large if you have a model weighing under 250g and it doesn’t have a camera the new rules are sensible and relaxed, and designed to let adults and children alike enjoy what can be a fascinating and fun hobby.

    And if you want to fly larger models, fly higher, or try your hand at something different, you can always talk to the BMFA and find a local club, or a local drone racing association.

  10. Josh Carne on September 4, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    Hey Chris! Thanks so much for the video it was really helpful!
    I had a question which I’m struggling to find the answer to online: If I have a drone (DJI Mini 2) Which is in the sub 250g category: are there any restrictions for commercial use like needing a BNUC-S. I’d be using it for weddings

  11. Gimbalair on September 4, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    Need a follow up now for all the muppets flying heavier drones over people, without the appropriate permissions. And VLOS the amount of vid and photos on FB of people who flew above this weekends fog.

    Mind you as a well respected UAV operator has said, very few if any deaths caused by a UAV contrast that to escooters on pavements

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