The Government has today announced proposed changes to the Air Navigation Order (ANO) to introduce increased regulations aimed at drone pilots.
The proposed changes are as follows:
- Operators of drones above 250g to be registered (effective from 30th Nov 2019). It is hoped that membership of one of the UK Model Flying Associations will satisfy this requirement.
- Drone operators will be required to take an on online safety test to verify their knowledge of the regulations (effective from 30th Nov 2019).
- A height limit of 400ft for all drone flights (effective from 30th July 2018) will be imposed. The 400ft height limit has been recommended by the CAA for some time in their Drone Code, but this was a recommendation rather than a legal requirement for drones below 7Kg. The revision to the ANO will now make this a legal requirement..
- A restriction from flying drones within 1km of protected aerodromes, unless permission has been obtained from the Air Traffic Control unit (effective from 30th July 2018).
The UK Model Flying Associations have been working together in close liaison to protect the rights of the model flying community who have established an excellent safety record over the last century of operations.
In answer to a recent Parliamentary Question tabled by the UK Model Flying Associations, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport said-
“The Government recognises the long-standing safety culture adopted by model flying associations. We are working with the Civil Aviation Authority and model aircraft flying associations to explore ways in which we can reduce any unnecessary impacts of drone regulations on their activities.
We will be taking this approach to the draft Drone Bill, too. The draft Drone Bill will be accompanied by a public consultation which will cover the impact of the proposed Bill on all affected groups, including model aircraft flyers. The feedback from this consultation will be used to refine the Drone Bill before its introduction.”
Representatives of the BMFA, FPVUK & the LMA recently met with the DfT and CAA to start defining the details of how model flyers will be able to operate under the new requirements with minimal impact to their existing safe activities. Discussions are ongoing, but all parties are seeking to ensure that a pragmatic solution to meet the needs of all stakeholders will be in place to support the requirements coming into force.