Drones and the Law
Commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) is fairly new and the use of these systems must be properly regulated to ensure correct use that doesn’t endanger the public or property.
As such the governing body for commercial use of drones is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the rules and regulations that operators must adhere to are contained within the Air Navigation Order 2009.
Operators of drones must hold a CAA Permission For Aerial Work (PFAW) in order to operate commercially (Aerial Work). In short if a drone operator receives financial or other reward or operates drones outside of the below rules then they must be qualified and hold a current PFAW. Operators must also have insurance that is Reg785/2004 compliant.
So what are the specific rules?
Article 241 – A person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.
Article 94 – An operator must be reasonably satisfied that a flight can be safely made before flying. They must maintain visual line of sight (VLOS). Aircraft over 7Kg must not fly in certain airspace without permission.
Article 95 – Aircraft below 7Kg must not fly within 50M of heavily congested areas unless people and buildings within that area are controlled by the operator. Aircraft above 7Kg must not fly within 150M of a heavily congested area whilst operating under a standard CAA permission. Aircraft must not be flown within 150M of an organised open air assembly of more than 1000 people.
Can you commit a criminal offence by flying a drone?
Yes! Flying a drone irresponsibly can lead to prosecution under the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2009 (Articles 138, 166 and 167), and Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Flying a drone illegally can lead to prosecution under the following criminal legislation and could even lead to imprisonment:
Public Order Act, 1988 (section 4 and section 5)
Protection From Harassment Act 1997 (section 2)
Sexual Offences Act 2003 (section 67 - Voyeurism)
Terrorism Act 2000 (section 58 and others).
Using an uncertified drone pilot could lead to YOU being prosecuted as the hirer.
Why choose Skyhawk Aerial Imaging Ltd?
Skyhawk Aerial Imaging Ltd is committed to operating lawfully and legally. Our pilots are trained and qualified and we have a current PFAW to operate commercially. Generally we operate aircraft below 7Kg and as such can operate within congested areas provided that people and buildings within a 50M radius of the operation are under our control.
We can fly up to 400ft (120M) and within a radius of 500M from the operator. With qualifications in Unmanned aircraft piloting (BNUC) and criminal law (OSPRE), our Pilots operate with the highest of professional standards. For more information visit the ‘About Us’ page of the website.