CAA introduces a much-needed “Drone Code” to make our skies safer

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has announced a “Drone Code” to combat the growing dangers of unregulated drone use. Designed to educate UAV users about responsible flying, the new guidelines come following another near miss; this time involving a drone and commercial airliner at Heathrow Airport.

The Drone Code

Although it’s a few years late, the code is another important step to regulating, and then controlling the use of drones. It’s not currently law, but the Code states that those operating drones without common sense could face prosecution.

Significantly, the code prohibits drones fitted with cameras to fly within 50m of “people, vehicles, buildings or structures”, or over “congested areas or large gatherings such as concerts and sports events”, effectively banning the practice of drone filming.

The rules

  • Make sure you can see your drone at all times and don’t fly higher than 400 feet

  • Always keep your drone away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields

  • Use your common sense and fly safely; you could be prosecuted if you don’t

Drones fitted with cameras must not be flown:

  • within 50m of people, vehicles, buildings or structures

  • over congested areas or large gatherings such as concerts and sports events

Drones are becoming a nuisance

The new rules come after another near miss between a drone and commercial airliner at Heathrow. According to the CAA, the wing of a landing Airbus A320 came within 6m of a hovering drone. Experts have since judged the incident an “A rating”, meaning it posed “a serious risk of collision”.

In a statement released by the CAA, Tim Johnson, director of policy said: “Drone users must understand that when taking to the skies they are entering one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world.”

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