What is a drone?
A drone is the common name used for Small Unmanned Aircraft (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)). These small aircraft can be flown remotely by various types of controls, or autonomously using computer software. They can be traditional fixed wing (aeroplane), or more commonly vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), with single or multi rotary blades, of various sizes. The majority of drones flown outdoors now come with camera technology which is stored on an on-board SD card, or transmitted to a smart device.
Can anybody own / fly a drone?
Yes. That was simple! – well not quite.
At present there is no legislation for licencing or registration of persons who wish to have a drone for private use, however this is due to change. There are plans to update the legislation on ownership and registration of drones. If you are planning to purchase a drone we would advise that you check with the manufacturer that your investment will be compliant with any future legislation changes. These proposed changes have been published; therefore all manufacturers should be aware of the future requirements. Any drone you purchase should have a CE marking to show compliance with minimum safety requirements.
Can I use a drone for my business?
If you wish to use a drone for any commercial operation, this must only be with a permission issued by the Civil Aviation Authority. The minimum age for commercial flying of a drone is 18 yrs. All details of how to gain permission is at www.caa.co.uk/Commercial-
Where can I fly a drone
Better to ask where not. All guidance is based on the law and is very clear where you must not fly a drone. You must not fly:
- Near any airfield, airport or other aircraft
- Within 50m of a person, vehicle, building of structure
- Fly over or within 150m of crowds or built up areas
- Fly beyond sight or behind obstructions
- Above 400 ft (120m)
- If there are any problems with the drone
What laws are there about drones?
The main law is covered within the Air Navigation Order 2016 (Articles 241, 94, 95). Misuse of a drone may also breach other laws including disorderly behaviour, voyeurism, breach of the peace, criminal damage and harassment. If you are unsure if you are within the law, ask before you fly.
I’m concerned about a drone I’ve seen flying. What should I do?
Most concerns about drones will be non-emergency. To report your concerns please contact PSNI on 101, or send a message on PSNI contact page - https://www.psni.police.uk/
Can I learn to fly a drone?
We would encourage anybody who owns, or wishes to own and fly a drone to ensure they are competent to fly their technology. Guidance on the safe use and enjoyment of your drone should be available from the manufacturer. There are companies available who offer training in use of drones. Normally anybody who wishes to fly a drone commercially will need to undertake a training course. Whatever level of guidance or training you receive, we would encourage that your first flights should be in open areas where you have permission to fly, with no risk to other persons or property.