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The UK’s ‘drone code’ offers common sense to reckless UAV pilots

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It’s never been easier to get your hands on a drone, which means the authorities have started paying some serious attention to airborne tomfoolery.

The latest law-laying comes courtesy of the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, which has just unveiled a ‘drone code’, which teaches people how not to be idiots when piloting aircraft remotely.

That’s probably for the best too – just last month a drone was seized by police because it was being flown over the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the home of Wimbledon.

There are three core tenets to the new ‘drone code’, which read as follows:

Keep your drone within your line of sight and at a maximum height of 400ft high

Always fly your drone away from aircraft, helicopters, airports, and airfields

Use your common sense and fly safely. Remember you could be prosecuted if you don’t

Drone users must understand that when taking to the skies they are entering one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world – a complex system that brings together all manner of aircraft including passenger aeroplanes, military jets, helicopters, gliders, light aircraft and now drones,” explains Tim Johnson, the CAA’s Director of Policy.

He continues: “We want to embrace and enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology but we must ensure that this is done safely, with all airspace users in mind.”

Johnson adds: “It is imperative that people observe the rules when operating a drone.”

Related: 11 jawdropping videos that will make you want a drone

It’s worth mentioning that you can already be prosecuted in the UK for the criminal offence of ‘recklessly endangering an aircraft in flight’. As such, you’ll want to keep your drones away from airplanes.

Phil Binks, a drone expert at air traffic control NATS, said: “Drones can be fantastic tools and we’re sure to see more and more flying in UK skies in the coming years. But with that growth comes the need to remind people of their obligations as airspace users and that safety always has to be the top priority.”

Do you think authorities need to do more to keep us safe from drones, or should laws ease up on the burgeoning robo-birdies. Let us know in the comments below.

MattMe

July 22, 2015, 11:48 am

Can I ask what is the difference between a drone, quadcopter, or any other other remote-controlled flying toy?
It seems the term drone is used for anything that flies without a pilot on board nowadays.
Drone, to me at least, implies that it is somewhat automated.

Yan Huang

July 22, 2015, 1:54 pm

"We want to embrace and enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology but we must ensure that this is done safely, with all airspace users in mind"

Wait, someone with sense and isn't arguing for an all-out ban? Blasphemy!

Bugblatter

July 22, 2015, 9:24 pm

To me drone means it has a gyroscope for keeping level and the ability to maintain its position without user input, even in a reasonable wind. I don't know the official definition though.

I have a quadcopter that has a gyroscope and a camera but that's all, so I don't call it a drone.

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