UK Drone Class Markings – July 2022 Update

As you may have heard, after a recent open consultation with the UK drone community regarding the upcoming deadline for the transitional period in which legacy drones can be flown in the Open Category, the CAA have recently released a response document (available here…

https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/modalapplication.aspx?appid=11&mode=detail&id=11459 )

The CAA have also produced a podcast explaining their conclusions and what is likely to happen moving forward regarding the transitional period for drones.

What Was The Original Class Markings Plan?

The transitional period is (was?) due to end on 1st January 2023 and it’s been fairly clear for a while that the UK infrastructure is absolutely not ready for this rapidly approaching date. As our favourite manufacturers have yet to move towards production of drones under the class marking system, and the time that “legacy” drones were allowed to be used under the transitional framework started slipping away, it became all too obvious that a review was required.

Following an open consultation, which was a great opportunity for the drone community to give their opinions and share their concerns as to the wider impact of the ending of the transitional period, the CAA have taken this on board and come up with what seems to be very sensible solution. What a surprise that actually listening to drone pilots and those most affected by the drone laws actually ends up with a thoughtful and reasoned insight into the best solution to the problem.

Drone Markings Conclusion

So, to sum up the CAA’s response….. “let’s extend the transitional period for now and not put an end date on it until there are actually drones available which are classified under the new system”….  which seems an entirely sensible plan.

It’s also quite nice that the UK isn’t now going to end up with a mountain of fairly new drones which are deemed unusable on a specific date “because we say so”. As well as creating a lot of very unhappy drone users, it would have been quite a shame to allow such monumental waste of completely serviceable equipment (and something of a PR nightmare I would imagine)   

However, the CAA does not have the authority to make this decision alone and can only give it’s advice to the Department of Transport who we hope will follow this advice and allow for the extension of the transitional period for an undetermined length of time. One would presume that, with the CAA being the authority in such matters, this is merely a formality but let’s not forget this is the government so nothing is certain!

So, for the time being we can all keep flying our Mavics, Phantoms, Minis and Anafi under their “legacy” labels and await further news…….

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