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Drones: how to fly them safely and legally

View profile for Lucy-Ann Lee
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Did you know that if you fly or own a drone, whether it is for work or leisure it is your responsibility to make sure all flights are safe and legal. It is important you are aware of the rules and legislation that apply to your drone otherwise you may be committing a criminal offence.

Flyer ID

If your drone weighs 250g or above, you must pass the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA’s) official theory test and obtain your Flyer ID.

Operator ID

The operator must be over 18 and is usually the organisation or individual that owns the drone. If the drone is fitted with a camera and is not classed as a toy, then the operator must register their drone with the CAA. The Operator ID should then be always displayed on a drone.

Flight rules

  • Do not fly if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not endanger anyone or anything while flying a drone.
  • You must be able to see the drone at all times, including the space around it.
  • Respect other people’s privacy, you must be aware of what you can and cannot do with photos and videos.
  • Your drone must be insured if used for work and/or weighs over 20kg. Insurance must be at least EC 785/2004 standard.

These rules apply to most drone flight, but it is important to check the category your drone is in and exactly which rules apply.

Do not fly:

  • in Restricted Airspace, such as aerodromes, unless you have authorisation.
  • where emergency services are responding to an incident, unless you have authorisation.
  • over crowds
  • over 120m from the ground

Dependant on which category of drone you are flying, you must not fly:

  • Within 50m of  crowds and other people
  • Within 150m of built-up areas (towns and cities)

How can we help?

If you find yourself facing an allegation of a drone related offence it is vital to contact a solicitor as soon as possible to obtain expert legal advice.

Johnson Astills are experts in criminal law, and are able to assist 24 hours of the day at the police station. Our specialist advocates in the Criminal Defence Team are highly experienced in dealing with offences at both the Magistrates’ and Crown Court. Representation at the police station is free, and legal aid may be available for your case at the Magistrates’ and Crown Court. For offences which do not qualify for legal aid, we offer fixed fees for appointments and representation.

To discuss any offences please contact our Criminal Defence Team at Johnson Astills at our Leicester office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough office on 01509 610 312, or fill in our free online enquiry form and one of our friendly team will be in touch.