Drone Law – Where You Stand When You’re Booking a Drone Commercially
With drones being so new to the market, especially in many commercial areas, it’s worth knowing the basic laws. That way, if you’re looking at hiring a drone operator to carry out work for your business, you’ll have an idea of where you might need to lay some groundwork. Of course, we’re always happy to talk over your requirements and provide advice and all of our quotations are based on comprehensive desk research so you will always have the full facts before you book.
Still, there are some basic drone laws that all legal commercial operators have to abide by (and it goes without saying that you should always book someone who is legally allowed to fly in the UK)
We can’t fly above 400 feet in altitude – that’s about 120 metres.
Drones must be flown within line of sight and never further than 500 metres away from the operator.
There are locations such as airfields and certain commercially sensitive areas that we are not allowed to fly over or even near. In some cases, we can apply for special permissions but this will take time and isn’t a guarantee that they’ll be received.
We need to have the permission of the landowner for our take off and landing sites. Sometimes this is really straightforward but there’s no such thing as public land in the UK, every parcel of land is owned by an organisation, body or trust so we need to factor in the time needed to track these people down and obtain permission where required.
When a drone has a camera on it, and it will if you’re hiring us, it can be difficult to fly over congested areas such streets, towns and cities. It might be possible upon application for a Special Operating Safety Case from the CAA and this can take up to 28 days, incur costs in terms of fees and additional safety staff and provisions. Never say never, but it might well take longer to arrange.
We can’t fly within 150m of a planned gathering of over 1500 people.
We have to stay 50 metres away from any people, buildings or vehicles who are not under the drone operator’s control. Having people under the control of the operator might be as giving a simple briefing to a group of people at a site, having ‘spotters’ to brief passers by or other measures. Obviously this is more complicated if the drone flight is planned over multiple residences, and so just get in touch if this applies and we can advise on a case by case basis.
We can’t bend those rules, or fly without the relevant permissions as this would mean that we would be operating illegally which, moral issues aside, would mean that we would lose our flight permissions. Most of the time, however, assignments are possible with the right amount of time, permissions and preparation so always get in touch and we’re happy to work with you to help you achieve your aerial photography and videography goals.
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