Drone Nuisance Response
Drone Nuisance (September’s issue) response.
As a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) registered, insured and licensed drone pilot, I feel that I must write to not only sympathise with the contributor in relation to their experience of drone flight above their property, but also to address some factual inaccuracies within their published letter.
Some facts to help our understanding
I agree that their experience demonstrates a lack of respect on the part of the drone operator themselves. But, contrary to the contributor’s assertion that the act was unlawful. In fact, it is not unlawful to fly a drone above someone else’s property. Nor does the pilot of the drone need to seek any form of permission from the property owner.
The UK’s CAA has a comprehensive set of rules and guidance for drone pilots available at www.caa.co.uk. All registered and licensed pilots are expected to comply with these rules.
Depending upon the flying weight of the aircraft and provided the aircraft does not exceed 400ft (120m) in altitude. Also, providing it remains in sight of the operator and (for safety) allows for 50m (164ft) in clearance from any uninvolved persons or property, then no flight rules and certainly no laws, have been broken.
Flying above residential areas is not at all prohibited. For certain weight classes of aircraft there is no minimum distance set for flying over or close to uninvolved people (i.e. the general public.)
Drone flying is becoming a popular recreational pastime. And, as the technology becomes cheaper, we are likely to see more and more people taking up the hobby.
We may see more drones as they become more popular
Whilst the experience of the contributor and their parents was unfortunate and should not be disregarded. Could this incident perhaps have been nothing more than an innocent and unfortunate mistake on the part of the drone pilot, rather than them intentionally seeking to cause nuisance? Maybe the pilot had taken off from their own garden and was adjusting their flight settings and controls before continuing with their flight.
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