UK Drone Regulations for Drones Under 250g

Mavic Mini – Most Popular Drone Under 250g

If you have an interest in drones then you have likely heard that the UK Drone Regulations changed on December 31, 2020, significant for Drones Under 250g. While the CAA still regulates UK airspace, the new regulations are intended to align with those of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to allow free circulation of drones with Europe

The new rules change the way that drone flights are regulation and classified focussing on the type of drone and where you intend to fly it rather than whether your flight is “commercial” or just for fun. From a safety, perspective makes a great deal of sense, as the potential risk posed by a drone is the same no matter the reason for your flight.

This is quite a major change from the previous way drone flights have been regulated and potentially offers great opportunities to carry out missions that would have been hugely restricted previously.

Age restrictions have changed for drone flights in the Open Category (read more about the Open Category here)

A1 – No Age Restriction for drones regarded as “toys” however all other drones fitted with a camera (eg. Mavic Mini) must be operated by a person over the age of 12 (if flying solo)

A2 / A3 – All flights in the A2 or A3 categories must be carried out by a pilot aged 12 years or older

You will need an Operator ID if your drone is not considered a “toy”, even if it is under 250g. The Mavic Mini, for example, requires you to register for a Flyer ID.

Check with the CAA here to determine if you need an Operator ID

https://register-drones.caa.co.uk/registration-requirements-for-drones

You can apply for registration here:

https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft/Our-role/Drone-and-model-aircraft-registration/

You should still abide by The Drone Code – The CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) published The Drone and Model Aircraft Code in October 2019, which is clear guidance for flying drones and model aircraft of 20kg or less in the UK, however, drones of less than 250g can fly closer to people and built-up areas.

• Always keep your drone or model aircraft in direct sight. You must be able to see your drone at all times unaided (if you wear glasses that’s fine but it means you can’t use binoculars!)
• Never fly more than 400ft (120m) above the surface and stay well away from aircraft, airports, and airfields.
• Never overfly an assembly of people. Never fly directly over a crowd
• • Never fly in an airport’s flight restriction zone

Drones under 250g can:

Fly with no minimum horizontal distance from uninvolved people (NOT crowds … see above)

Fly with no minimum horizontal distance from built-up areas

When you’re thinking about how close you can fly, remember, you must never put people in danger. Even small drones and model aircraft could injure people if you don’t fly them safely.

Further info on flying in the Open Category can be found in CAP2012.
http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP2012_EU_Drone_Rules_Factsheet_V7%207.pdf

2 Comments

  1. Shaun
    July 14, 2022

    Hi

    I just wanted to let you know that this page:
    https://dronesitesurveys.co.uk/drone-laws-for-drones-under-250g/#:~:text=You%20should%20still%20abide%20by,people%20and%20built%2Dup%20areas.

    It has incorrect advice regarding current legislations for drones under 250g and flying over crowds.

    You mention

    ” Never fly closer than 150m to a crowd of 1,000 people or more”

    I presume this has been interpreted from Air Navigation Order 2016 article 95 (2b).
    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2016/765/article/95/made

    However, this has been revoked and replaced with Air Navigation Order amendment of 2020. This now aligns rules with point UAS.OPEN.020(2) (overflight of people);

    It reads: “(2) in the case of an unmanned aircraft referred to in points (5)(a), (5)(b) and (5)(c), be conducted in such a way that the remote pilot of the unmanned aircraft may overfly uninvolved persons, but shall never overfly assemblies of people;”

    So actually, the rule is for “assemblies of people” regardless of number of people.

    Just thought you might want to update that page to reflect the current legislation.

    Regards
    Shaun

    • Stephen McConville
      August 5, 2022

      Thanks for spotting that Shaun, your vigilance is very much appreciated!! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you notice any other changes we’ve not spotted in our pages as the drone landscape changes.

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