Updated: Dec 12, 2022
Did you know? You must first register before flying most drones in the UK. Drone Flyer ID and Operator ID.
Mandatory registration is applicable to all drones in the UK. The only exception is for drones lighter than 250 grams that are either toys or do not have a camera.
For example, the DJI Mini weighs less than 250g (249g) but has a camera, therefore you must register.
That way, each drone actually has an identifiable Operator ID label and a verifiable pilot behind it in the first place.
There are in fact two separate registration requirements:
The remote pilot, equivalent to the pilot in the cockpit in commercial aviation, must first pass an online theory test and get a flyer ID. The remote pilot is responsible for flying safely and legally when actually piloting the drone.
The person or organisation responsible for the drone, equivalent to the airline company in commercial aviation, must also register for an operator ID.
The operator must:
make sure that only people with a valid flyer ID use their drone.
label their drones with their operator ID.
The online theory test to get a Flyer ID covers the very basics and helps users understand how to fly in a sufficiently low risk environment, depending on the drone you pilot. More complex flying, for example closer to people, require additional training and pilot competencies.
For more information, check the Civil Aviation Authority web pages on The Drone Code.
It is against the law to fly a drone without having the required IDs. People can be fined for breaking the law when flying. In the most serious cases, they could be sent to prison.
Robert Burns, Anne-Lise Scaillierez December 2022 ©THE DRONE OFFICE LTD
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