Why use a CAA Approved Drone Pilot?

There is an undeniable value in the use of drones for all kinds of construction, development, mapping and surveying purposes. The main thing to remember is that this is an aircraft and it needs to be treated as such. It doesn’t matter how large or how small a drone might be, it can still cause serious damage if it hits structures, other vehicles, aircrafts or people.
This raises serious concerns for those who want to use drones for any kind of activity other than leisure in safe recreational areas. Today, we are going to review the many legal aspects

A CAA approved, RUAS trained pilot adjusting his high vis vest and setting up his drone.

Registration is Now a Requirement

The first thing that is worth considering is that drones that are between 250 g and 20 kg in weight and need to be registered with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). By law, this means that the legal responsibilities of the drone will fall upon the drone owner and not entirely on the drone operator.

For this reason, you may consider hiring both drone and operator rather than taking on the responsibility of cost and of possible risk implications. The importance here is that the drone to be properly registered before it takes flight.

We have put up an information page on our site to help you find the best resources for flying drones safely.

Laws in Regards to Drone Operations

There are several laws that have been approved when it comes to the use and handling of drones. It’s very important to understand these laws and how they are implemented in the UK. The drone can be registered to a company or an individual, but the drone operator could be hired to operate a drone that is not their property.

In most cases, it’s more common to find drone operators who work with their own drone which suits some companies as the responsibilities related to the drone are going to fall on the owner/operator.
Drone flight that endangers the safety of any other aircraft in their airspace can face a criminal offence charge. This could translate to 3 to 5 years of prison. The law makes it illegal for anyone to fly drones regardless of their size within 5 km of airfields. Another related law enforces drones to fly at no more than 400 ft as this can increase collision probabilities with other aircraft.

This particular 400 ft law means that you could also be held responsible if you fly your drone on your own property, but you reach over 400 ft in the air. This would also be considered a criminal offence depending on the situation. Even something as simple as a neighbour reporting your drone could lead to unnecessary hassles.

This seems to be only the beginning of the laws and regulations related to drone use. It’s important for all drone owners and operators to be aware of these laws and any additional changes that may take place in the future.

There are also minor drone offences that could lead to one being fined, but the important thing is to remember that any drone that is used for business purposes needs to be operated by a qualified pilot. Permits are required in some areas and many safety measures would also be required before the drone takes flight.

A black drone preparing to go airborne, controlled by a CAA approved, RUAS trained, drone pilot.

Hire a Professional CAA Approved Pilot

After reading about the many laws and consequences of drone accidents, it may seem unnecessary to explain why this is important, but there are other benefits of hiring professional help. A professional drone operator is likely to be very efficient which will translate to a level of safety and flight control that will save you time, money and alleviate the level of risk.

Think of the CAA approved pilot as an investment that will help you avoid safety issues. They will also speed up the process of implementing the drone for any purpose you require. If you decide to hire someone who is not certified, you run the risk of lack of safety protocols and inexperience that could lead to setbacks or at worse…accidents.

Another valuable aspect of hiring a professional and approved operator is that they can help you go through protocols. They are aware of how the laws work in regards to drones and they also know what kind of permits and paperwork might be required and this is determined by the location and the kind of project you are looking to start in any given area.

Drones are Being Used for Criminal Activity

Serious concern has been raised all over the UK due to drones being used for criminal activities. Drug smuggling, contraband and other activities have been reported. This means that the operation of drones with permits and certifications could also turn into suspicious activity in the eyes of the law. We mention this because the laws will continue to be reinforced and this is going to be a great way to regulate drone use all over the UK.

Incidents in the UK

The number of accidents and incidents with drones in the UK was minimal in 2014, but it has seen a steady increase every year since then with over 100 occurring in 2018. However, the number is expected to decrease in 2019 with the current laws in place. It’s only fair and logical to expect authorities to be on the lookout for any drone activities taking place in any area of the UK.

Police have the right to request proper identification and documentation for the drone. They also have the power to seize the drone and any data that might be found inside the device if any laws are considered to have been broken. All of these are important things to consider and to help you see just how serious the laws in regards to drones have become.

A CAA approved, RUAS trained pilot wearing a high vis vest, flying a drone, using a drone radio transmitter, over a hay field.

Final Thoughts

The legal issues related to drone accidents are going to continue to evolve. Every drone owner and operator is required to have proper certification and permission for the use of these Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAVs). Understanding the law is now essential for drone operation. A drone is not a toy and should never be treated as such. Ultimately, a drone is a serious responsibility and CAA approved drone pilots are going to ensure safety before and after the drone takes flight.

We hope that this information has helped you realise the importance and value of hiring a professional CAA approved drone pilot. You are going to save yourself time and money but relieve many legal headaches.

View drones as very complex and dangerous devices if not used properly. Most drone-related accidents occur because people don’t treat them with respect but see them simply as toys. Once you take the right kind of precaution, you should be able to avoid any incidents that could prove costly.

Tim Harris

February 01

An airborne drone during a GVC transition training course.

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