It is not just drone operators that fly their unmanned vehicles into a Heathrow flightpath that could get into hot water.
For drones that weigh more than 20kg, there are rules that govern the use of drones which are set by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). As per rules, drones can only fly in segregated airspace with a special license from the authority.
For any commercial use, such as a surveyor taking pictures, media coverage, a license is mandatory to prove competence of the user.
Most of the drones today weigh less than 1 or 2kg. Even there are ones which are as light as 55g, usually used for fun. Even then they are still classified as unmanned aircraft – not as toys – by the CAA. As a result, for safety there are some basic rules which should be considered before flying UAVs like:
- Do not fly a drone beyond your normal unaided ‘line of sight’. This is generally measured as 500m horizontally or about 120m vertically.
- A drone must always be flown at least 50m distance away from a person, vehicle, building or structure
- A drone must not be flown within 150m of a congested area or large group of people (normally measured as 1,000 people), even if they are in an open area. This means they can’t be used at big sporting events or concerts.
- Be aware of data protection laws and if taking photographs be careful not to publish any of people who might have a reasonable expectation of privacy.