As of 1st January 2023 all new drones brought to market within the UK must have a Class marking (C0, C1, C2, C3, C4), this will ensure each drone meets specific criteria and product standards, these standards are based on the weight and capability of the drone and will determine how and where you are permitted to fly.
Any drone brought to market before 1st January 2023 that does not have a Class marking is considered to be a ‘Legacy’ drone.
The UK CAA have announced that a transitional period will be put in place for two years for those who fly an unmanned aircraft that does not have a Class marking, these transitional provisions will be in place until 1st January 2023.
You can fly your ‘Legacy’ drone in the ‘Open’ category as long as it meets certain criteria.
If you drone weighs less than 250g and is not considered to be a toy, such as the DJI Mini 2, you are allowed to fly within the A1 subcategory. You would still be required to complete the DAMARES and obtain an Operator and Flyer ID.
If your aircraft is between 250g – 500g such as the DJI Spark, this may be flown in the A1 subcategory. The remote pilot must be reasonably satisfied that there will be no intentional flight directly over uninvolved people and the individual must have passed the A2 Certificate of Competency.
If you have an aircraft that is between 500g – 2kg such as a DJI Mavic 2 Pro, this can be flown in the A2 Subcategory. You must keep a minimum of 50 meters from uninvolved people and you must have passed the A2 Certificate of Competency.
Any unmarked Legacy drones weighing between 2kg and 25kg can only be flown in the A3 Subcategory of the Open category. You must keep a distance of at least 150m from any built-up areas, unless you hold an Operational Authorisation from the CAA.
If your legacy drone weighs less than 250g it can still be flown in the A1 Subcategory.
All unmarked drones over 250g will only be permitted to be flown in the A3 Subcategory.
If you wish to fly your legacy drone after 1st January 2023 you could consider completing your General VLOS Certificate this will allow you to apply to the CAA for an Operational Authorisation. Allowing you to fly your drone in the Specific Category under ‘standard permissions’, allowing flight 50m from uninvolved people in an urban environment.