Don’t fly your drone like a turkey this Christmas
Drones make great Christmas gifts and are a lot of fun, but the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is urging people not to toy with them. “If you receive a drone this Christmas, you become a pilot and you have responsibilities,” says Clayton Hughes, CAA’s Manager, Special Flight Operations, Recreational Aviation and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.
“Before you bolt out the door to fly your drone this Christmas, please make sure you’re aware of the rules and stick to them to ensure you don’t put people or property at risk.
“One of the rules, for example, is that you need to get permission from people and the owners or residents of properties you want to fly your drone over. This year, there’s been a 44 percent increase in the number of incidents reported to us involving drones being flown over people or properties without consent. There have been 177 incidents reported to us this year, compared to 123 last year.
“There have also been increases in the number of reported incidents involving drones being flown within 4kms of an aerodrome, (59 compared to 46 last year) and being flown near other aircraft (51 compared to 41 last year). Both of these types of incidents have the potential to cause serious injury to people on the ground –and if a drone collided with a large airliner the consequences could be catastrophic.”
CAA encourages people who see a drone being flown unsafely or illegally to report the incident. If the incident is putting people in immediate danger or seems to involve criminal intent, call the police on 111. Other incidents should be reported to CAA. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org and the more details you can provide the better, for example the date and time of the incident, the location and the direction the drone was coming from and going to. Photos and / or videos are particularly helpful.
“Enjoy your drone – but not at others’ expense. Know the rules and abide by them always.”
For more information, call CAA Communications, 0800 222 697
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: the basics
If your UAV weighs more than 25kg you will need to hold a Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate.
If your UAV weighs 25kg or under your operation is governed by Civil Aviation Rule Part 101 unless you hold a Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate.
Under Rule Part 101 - you must:
• not operate an aircraft that weighs 25 kg or more and always ensure that it is safe to operate
• at all times take all practicable steps to minimize hazards to persons, property and other aircraft (i.e, don’t do anything hazardous)
• fly only in daylight
• give way to all crewed aircraft
• be able to see the aircraft with your own eyes (e.g., not through binoculars, a monitor, or smartphone) to ensure separation from other aircraft (or use an observer to do this in certain cases)
• not fly your aircraft higher than 120 metres (400 feet) above ground level (unless certain conditions are met)
• have knowledge of airspace restrictions that apply in the area you want to operate
• not fly closer than four kilometres from any aerodrome (unless certain conditions are met)
• when flying in controlled airspace, obtain an air traffic control clearance issued by Airways (via airshare My Flights)
• not fly in special use airspace without the permission of the controlling authority of the area (e.g. military operating areas or restricted areas)
• have consent from anyone you want to fly above
• have the consent of the property owner or person in charge of the area you are wanting to fly above