Drone Rules UK – the UK Drone Code.
Simply and easily understand everything you need to know about the UK Drone Code and how to fly a drone in the UK.
Developed by the UK CAA it’s their way of trying to simplify the main rules that you need to be aware of when flying drones in the UK.
To help clarify we’re going to take you through each rule individually, break them down and explain exactly what they mean.
The Drone Code is LAW so must be followed.
1) Always keep your drone in sight, this allows you to see and avoid other things whilst flying. You need to keep a clear view between the pilot’s eyes and the drone, nothing can come between you. Doing this makes sure that you can clearly see how to fly the drone and also you are aware of your surroundings.
2) It’s against the law to fly your drone over 400 feet, 120 meters. This reduces the likelihood of conflict with a manned aircraft. This is one of the simplest rules but it’s one that tends to come up all the time and people tend to get very confused with it. Possibly the best way to visualize this rule is to imagine a piece of string 400 foot long tied to the bottom of your drone. At the other end, that’s anchored to the surface of the earth.
If you’re on a hill, for example, you can fly at the top of that hill, you’ve got 400 ft from the top of that, if you start to fly out and the hill then drops away, you need to follow that curve and you need to lower your drone down.
3) Every time you fly follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific drone. This just keeps your drone safe and the people around you safe. By understanding the capabilities and limitations of your drone you know when you can and can’t fly.
4) Keep the right distance from people and property. For people and properties you need to stay a minimum of 150 foot that’s 50 meters away. For crowds and built-up areas that’s 500 foot or 150 meters and don’t over fly.
Imagine your drone is in the centre of a 50m bubble or a 150m bubble. You can’t fly your drone or your bubble closer than 50m or 150m to people or properties. If you’ve flown closer imagine that bubble is going to pop.
The 2nd part of this rule that confuses a lot of people is what does built-up area actually mean? Built-up areas are populated, they might have a lot of movement with cars or people. That could be residential, it could be villages, towns, cities, or could be an industrial estate as well. If you’re flying close to any of these you need to stay a minimum safe distance of 150m away.
As a guide, think about the closest road you’re flying by if it’s a 20mph, 30, 40mph speed limit it’s probably a populated area, if that’s the case you need to be looking at 150m safe distance away.
If the road near you is a 50mph, 60mph national speed limit you’re probably going to be in the country and are going to be away from populated areas, so your safe distance is 50 meters.
If you’re unsure just apply some common sense and stay 150m away, that way you’re not going to have any problems.
5) You are responsible for each flight and legal responsibility lies with you, failure to fly responsibly could result in criminal prosecution. The drone pilot is responsible legally for the actions of that drone. If you’re doing something you shouldn’t be or your flying somewhere you shouldn’t be, legal responsibility lies with the pilot.
6) Stay well away from aircraft airports and airfields. It’s illegal to fly your drone within an airport’s flight restriction zone without permission as of March 2019. This means it’s illegal to fly a drone within these FRZs unless you have permission from air traffic control at the airport or if air traffic control is not operational from the airport itself.
All you need to check is if you are in the zone you can’t fly, if you’re out of the zone you can.
These zones are marked on maps so it’s easy to check quite quickly.
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