You’ve seen them buzzing overhead, in the news, the shops and even watched the amazing footage before that disastrous crash on YouTube. If you haven’t guessed, we are talking about UAVs or, as they are more commonly known, drones.
These amazing bits of technology have been flying off the shelves (sorry couldn't resist) over the last few Christmases and will no doubt be a hit again this festive period. Flying drones is a fun and rewarding hobby - capturing some stunning aerial views, but even as a hobbyist there are laws around the use of drones that you must follow.
The general flying of drones is governed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and details of the flying limits are found using the Drone Code, these apply for recreational as well as commercial use. All commercial work requires the pilot to be licensed.
The UK Drone Code laws that all drone users have to fly to. http://dronesafe.uk/drone-code/
Do I need a licence?
If you are using a drone as part of your business you need to be licensed, this means having a Permit For Commercial Operation (PFCO). Photographing property that you’re selling, footage for your company social media, flood pictures sold to the the newspapers or any other purpose where you receive commercial gain would require a licence before the job could be complete.
Using a drone commercially without a PFCO can lead to a hefty fine and/or criminal record.
A man from Cumbria has become the first person in the UK to be successfully prosecuted for the dangerous and illegal flying of an unmanned aircraft. Robert Knowles was found to have flown the device in restricted airspace over a nuclear submarine facility, as well as allowing the device to fly too close to a vehicle bridge. Both offences breached the UK's Air Navigation Order. Mr Knowles, of Barrow-in-Furness, was found guilty on Tuesday 1 April 2014 and fined £800 at Furness and District Magistrate Court following the prosecution by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), who said the case raised important safety issues concerning recreational flying of unmanned aircraft. The CAA was also awarded costs of £3,500.
Just remember, even a quick aerial flight to market a property or film a scene - without being licensed, you’re liable for prosecution by the CAA.
Using a licensed operator commercially, gives peace of mind and a compliant, professional pilot with all the required insurance, planning and safety will eliminate any prosecution woes you may have.
Both James and myself, are fully insured and accredited by the Civil Aviation Authority - and we hold the crucial Permit for Commercial Operation (PFCO).