Are drones illegal in the UK? Professional Drone Pilot

How to fly drones legally in the UK

Drone Pilot, know the rules.

Its a question that comes up a lot: “How to fly drones legally in the UK?”

Firstly it is necessary when you buy a drone off the shelf that you register it, much like a car. Register your drone with the CAA in the UK and FAA in the USA. There is a small fee for this. You then have to mark your drone with your operator number, much like you have a registration plate for your car. Details for how to do this are in the following link:

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 flying a drone Drone pilot career

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.

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.

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 £10M on request.

So the simple answer to the question: How to fly a drone legally in the UK? is as long as you follow the rules laid out by the CAA and elect to educate yourself about airspace, weather, proximity guidelines etc you should be ok. It also pays to remember that drones can be dangerous so fly responsibly.

Going Pro

Being a law abiding drone pilot is the first step towards professionalism. Find out what it takes to become a professional Drone Pilot here

Fly Safe!

1 thought on “How to fly drones legally in the UK”

  1. Pingback: Drone Services UK. Aerial Filming and Photography

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