Tag Archives: Law

Drones – the Key Legal Issues

Since the weather is absolute crap over here in the UK I decided to do a bit of research when it comes to using drones in the UK.

Flying in congested areas

There are restrictions on operating drones in congested areas, at certain heights or directly over people and vehicles. UK rules say that drones of specific weights must not be flown within 50m of people, structures or vehicles. Additionally, drones cannot fly within 150m of a congested area. Certain permissions must be obtained before the drone can be flown commercially.

What they fail to say is that the restriction is only 30 metres when the drone takes off or lands and doesn’t include the operator of the drone or the person under drone operator’s control (i.e. the person helping you out)

Insurance

European law requires certain operators of drones to purchase third party liability insurance. Insurance like this will need to be sought from specialist brokers. Failure to obtain suitable insurance cover may prove costly in the event of an accident.

I will go further than that and say just get a drone third party liability insurance. This will not only protect you in case you cause a damage with your drone, but will help present you as a responsible drone operator. The police might ask what would you do if your drone damages something your drone is flying over, showing them that you have an insurance would be a very good answer and the police will have very little to go on.

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A Practical Guide to Drone Law

I ordered this book today. It seems that the guides published by the CAA make flying drones, while adhering to all the rules,  an almost impossible task. In addition the government plans to make it even more difficult in the future. They also plan on giving the police more powers when dealing with the operators of the drones. Hopefully this book will cover all the legalities so I’m better educated if I ever have to deal with law enforcement.

Civil Aviation Authority – Drones

The outline of the CAA guidelines:

The regulations for recreational drone flights are contained within the Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) which is the primary document for all aviation regulations within the UK. In order to keep the regulations at a proportionate level for these small drones, a set of specific, simpler, regulations apply to aircraft that have a mass of 20kg or less (which are termed ‘small unmanned aircraft’ within the ANO).

In simple terms, these regulations state that:

  • you are responsible for flying your drone in a safe manner
  • you must keep the drone in your direct sight at all times while it is flying so that you can ensure that it does not collide with anything, especially other aircraft
  • you must not endanger anyone, or anything with your drone, including any articles that you drop from it
  • if your drone weighs more than 7kg, additional rules apply if you fly in certain types of airspace and you must not fly above 400ft above the surface

If your drone is fitted with a camera, there are also a number of additional limitations surrounding where you can fly it, and how close you can fly it to other uninvolved people or objects. In order to be able to fly within these areas, or closer than the minimum distances that are in the regulations, you must obtain prior permission from the CAA to do so.

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Reason for the blog

My name is Elliot Balynn and I live and work in the UK.

I’m passionate about my drone and anything to do with it: flying, apps, mods, you name it even though I only had it for a week and one day! I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog together with a YouTube channel to keep a diary of my flights and anything I find useful for my drone.

I purchased Phantom 3 Standard and intend to learn everything there is to know about it. I have a huge list of things I would like to do:

  • Modify the remote for a better range. I was thinking of using Argtek kit for that. Maybe even throwing in some amplifiers and upgrading the antennas on the drone itself.
  • Attaching an additional FPV camera to the drone so I can use cheaper goggles. I know I can do it with software along, but where is fun in that? 🙂
  • Buying and reviewing a bunch of accessories. There is going to be a lot of that coming, I have already placed orders for various accessories. I will review each one as they come
  • Styling the drone. Now the easy option would be to buy a pre-cut wrap but I want to do a full hydro dipping design: glossy flame texture on the drone with matte carbon fibre legs. Something like this:

  • Investigate various applications to use with the drone. Many don’t know, but there is so much you can do even with Phantom 3 Standard: way point flying, object tracking and even creating 3D models. Some features that are only available with Phantom 4 and more expensive models can be unlocked in Phantom 3 Standard.
  • How to shoot proper cinematography quality footage with the drone. That requires proper configuration of the video as well as the correct usage of ND filters. Then how to edit the video, software for video editing.
  • Explore what a drone can be used for apart from taking pictures and video. A good example is creating 3D models
  • Keep up to date with the laws in the UK with regards to flying drones. Not just some lame guidelines that come in the box with the drone, but the actual law, something that can help me out if I ever have to deal with the boys in blue.
  • Shoot nice footage and share with everyone (or a better known term as “showing off”)

Bear in mind that it’s January now and the weather in the UK is [censored] but I will try to fly my drone every weekend.

I have my professional blog where you can find out more about exactly what I do: https://elliotbalynn.blog

May the force be with you!