Are drones illegal in the UK? Professional Drone Pilot

Are drones illegal in the UK?

Its a question that comes up a lot: “Are Drones illegal in the UK?”

The quick answer is No.

However, it is still necessary when you buy a drone off the shelf that you register it much like a car.

Drones are like cars

If you think about it, drones are a lot like cars. They’re great but they are potentially dangerous. They can cause problems if not used responsibly.

That is why certain laws have been implemented to regulate them. The laws are to help people use drones  in a manner that is beneficial. 

There is now a Drone Code drawn up by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). It is there to help guide new pilots on best practices.

Drone pilot. Are drones illegal in the UK?

It’s pretty simple and straight forward to follow. You will see there are restrictions about how close you can fly to people and buildings. If you want to get closer to people and buildings it’s worth looking into getting a formal qualification.

This is called the A2 Certificate of Competence or A2 CofC for short.

It’s a bit like getting a driving license for a bigger car so you can drive it on public roads.

There is a fair bit of theory involved in learning about weather and drone laws and the technology that enables drones to work. You also have a theory test at the end. When you’re done you have an excellent knowledge of drone flying and how to be a much safer pilot. You are also legally able to fly closer to people and property than before, so it’s definitely worth it.

I did my course with Infratec Drone UK.  

They are really good there and I highly recommend them. Tell them I sent you if you end up going there!

Further Drone Education

So the A2 CofC is pretty much what most people are going to need to fly drones legally and competently in the UK.

If however you are like me and wish to offer drone filming services as a company then you need to look at getting a fully authorised Drone Operations Manual from the CAA. This process comes with doing the GVC course, also available at Infratec.

This process teaches you all the regulations of flying commercially and legally as a business in the UK. It’s very thorough and involves a practical flight test as well as theory and an exam. You also need to submit a Flight operations manual to the CAA. This stipulates how you will operate as a Drone services provider.

Lightning Strike Productions has gone through this process and can now provide Drone Filming Services in the UK legally.

Our Drone operations and 3rd parties are covered by insurance compliant with Regulation (EC) 785/2004 up to £2M.

So the simple answer to the question: Are drones illegal in the UK? is no, as long as you follow the rules.

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