Drones have soared in popularity, revolutionising both recreational and commercial activities. As a result, the need for well-defined drone regulations has become increasingly important.
In 2023, the rules introduced for drones under 250g on December 31st, 2020, still impact the operation and classification of drones weighing under 250g in the UK.
If you’re a drone enthusiast or a proud owner of a DJI Mini, DJI Mini 2, or DJI Mini 3, this blog post is essential reading for you!
In this comprehensive guide, we will:
- Provide a step-by-step guide on registering your sub-250g drone in the UK for legal operation.
- Delve into the specifics of the latest drone laws and discuss how they apply to sub-250g drones.
- Explain the registration process with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The Most Popular Drones Under 250g in the UK:
- DJI Mini 3 Pro
- Autel Evo Nano Plus
- DJI Mini 2
- Autel Evo Nano
- DJI Mini SE
- Hubsan Zino Mini Pro
- Holy Stone HS510
These lightweight and feature-packed micro drones have gained immense popularity among drone enthusiasts in the UK.
If you own any of these 249g drones in the UK, it is crucial to follow this guide on registering your sub-250g drone to ensure legal compliance with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) laws under CAP2012.
By adhering to the regulations and guidelines outlined in this guide, you can confidently operate your drone within the UK’s legal framework, ensuring a safe and enjoyable flying experience for yourself and those around you.
Understanding the 2023 UK Drone Laws for Drones Under 250g
The United Kingdom has implemented specific drone laws to ensure the safe and responsible use of unmanned aerial vehicles, including drones under 250g in weight. It is crucial for drone operators to understand and comply with these regulations to avoid penalties and ensure a safe flying experience.
Key 2023 UK Drone Laws for Drones Under 250g:
- Drone operators must be at least 12 years old to fly independently.
- Drones are not permitted to fly higher than 400 feet (120 meters).
- Operators must maintain a line of sight with their drone at all times.
- Permission is required before flying in restricted airspace.
- Do not fly your drone within a 5-kilometer radius of airports.
- A minimum distance of 50 meters must be maintained from uninvolved persons (Drones below 250 grams are permitted to fly closer and over people).
- Drones weighing 250 grams or more must be operated at least 150 meters away from parks, industrial areas, residential zones, and other built-up locations.
- If a drone is equipped with a camera, the operator must register for an Operator ID with the CAA.
- Insurance is mandatory for commercial drone use.
- Compliance with these regulations is required during both daytime and nighttime operations.
By adhering to these authoritative and informative regulations, drone operators can ensure they are operating within the legal framework established by the UK government, promoting a safe and enjoyable flying experience for everyone involved.
Impact of New UK 2023 Laws on Regulation and Classification of 249g Drones
The latest legislation for drones weighing under 250g has brought about significant changes in the way these drones are regulated and classified. Now classified as “micro” drones, they are subject to specific requirements and regulations under the new drone laws.
One of the most notable changes is the requirement for obtaining a Flyer ID and an Operator ID from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for drones equipped with a camera.
This mandatory registration process helps ensure that drone operators are informed about the safe and responsible use of their equipment, promoting safer skies and reducing the risks associated with drone flights.
By complying with these authoritative and informative regulations, operators of “micro” drones, such as those weighing 249g, can continue to enjoy their hobby while adhering to the legal framework established by the UK government.
Flyer ID and Operator ID for Drones Under 249g in the UK in 2023
The Flyer ID indicates that the drone operator has passed a basic flying test and is knowledgeable about flying safely and legally.
For drones under 249g, an Operator ID is required for those equipped with cameras. The Operator ID is a registration number that must be displayed on the drone. Operators must be at least 18 years old, and if younger, a parent or guardian must register on their behalf.
When flying a drone under 249g in the UK, it is crucial to follow local laws and regulations, as well as the Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO), which covers England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Always carry your Flyer ID when flying and ensure your drone is labeled with your Operator ID.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Under 250g Drone Compliant in the UK for 2023
Step 1: Take the Drone Code Theory Test on the CAA Website
To ensure responsible and safe drone operation, take the CAA’s official Flyer and Operator ID theory test.
Key points to remember:
- The test is free.
- It consists of 40 multiple-choice questions, with a passing score of 30.
- The Drone and Model Aircraft Code can be referenced during the test.
- Allocate a minimum of 30 minutes for the test, but be aware of a 90-minute inactivity limit.
- Unlimited test attempts are permitted.
- Questions may appear in random order.
- Operator ID: £10 (valid for 1 year)
- Flyer ID: £0 (valid for 5 years)
Step 2: Label Your Drone with Legal Sub 250g Drone Label Identification
After obtaining your Operator ID, label your drone for legal compliance and accountability.
Follow these steps to legally label your under 250g drone:
- Write your Operator ID in clear, block letters at least 3mm tall.
- Attach the label securely to the aircraft’s main body, ensuring visibility from the outside or easy accessibility within a compartment.
- Protect the label from damage and maintain legibility throughout the drone’s lifespan.
- Repeat this process for each drone or model aircraft under your responsibility, using the same Operator ID.
Remember to use your Operator ID, not your Flyer ID, when labeling your drones and model aircraft. The Operator ID identifies you as the responsible party, while the Flyer ID pertains to the pilot. Proper labeling with your Operator and Flyer ID ensures accurate identification and responsibility.
Optional Step 3: Get Drone Insurance If Using It For Commercial Work
Although not mandatory for recreational drone use, insurance can provide extra protection and peace of mind.
If you plan on using your drone for commercial reasons or making money with it, you’ll need to obtain drone insurance.
Types of Drone Insurance in the UK:
- Liability-Only Insurance: Covers damages to third-party property or injury caused by your drone. Legal fees, compensation claims, and other associated expenses are included. Mandatory for commercial drone operations.
- Hull Insurance: Covers damage to your drone, such as crash-related damage. It also includes the cost of replacing or repairing drone parts like the camera or motors.
- Combined Liability and Hull Insurance: Provides comprehensive coverage for both third-party liability and drone damage, covering legal fees, compensation claims, and other associated expenses.
- Accidental Damage Insurance: Covers the cost of repairing or replacing your drone if it’s accidentally damaged. It can cover a range of damages, such as crashes, collisions, or water damage, and is typically included as part of hull insurance.
- Theft Insurance: Provides coverage if your drone is stolen. It helps cover the cost of replacing your drone and any stolen accessories. Some policies may also cover theft during transit or storage.
When choosing insurance, assess your drone usage and the potential risks involved to select the best coverage for your needs.
What happens if I don’t register my 250g drone UK?
If you fail to register your drone with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as required, you could face serious consequences. The penalties for not registering your drone can range from fines to even imprisonment in the most severe cases.
To avoid these repercussions and ensure you’re operating within the law, always consult the CAA’s website for the most up-to-date information on drone registration and abide by local laws and regulations before taking to the skies with your drone.
CAA Updates 250g Drone Age Regulations
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has recently made revisions to the age regulations governing drone flights in the Open Category. While drones weighing less than 250g and classified as “toys” do not have an age restriction, any drone fitted with a camera, even if it weighs under 250g, must be operated by a person aged 12 or older.
For flights in the A2 or A3 categories, pilots must be at least 12 years of age. Additionally, an Operator ID is required for all drones not considered “toys,” regardless of whether they weigh less than 250g.
These updates to the age regulations aim to promote responsible and safe drone operation by ensuring that pilots have the necessary skills and maturity to navigate the skies.
Determining If Your Drone Is Under 250g
To verify if your drone is under 250g, you can follow these steps:
- Check for a C0 class mark: If your drone bears a C0 class mark, it indicates that the drone is under 250g and is classified as a “toy.” If it does not have a C0 class mark, proceed to the next step.
- Weigh your drone: Use a kitchen scale or a digital scale with a 0.1g accuracy to weigh your drone. Be sure to include any accessories or attachments, such as the battery, camera, or propeller guards, as they can impact the overall weight.
- Consult the manufacturer’s specifications: You can also refer to the manufacturer’s website or the user manual that came with your drone. These resources typically list the drone’s weight, including any accessories or attachments.
What to Do If Your Drone Is Over 250g 2023
If your drone weighs more than 250g in 2023, you must adhere to specific regulations and licensing requirements to ensure legal and safe operation.
Follow these steps:
- Obtain a Flyer ID and Operator ID: Register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to acquire a Flyer ID, which demonstrates you have passed a basic flying test, and an Operator ID, your registration number to be displayed on your drone.
- Review and adhere to UK drone laws: Familiarize yourself with the UK drone regulations, which cover aspects such as altitude limits, maintaining a line of sight, restricted airspace, and flying near people or buildings.
- Acquire additional certification: Depending on your drone’s use (e.g., commercial purposes, aerial work, or flying in congested areas), you may need to obtain additional certification, such as the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate (GVC) or the A2 Certificate of Competency (A2 CofC).
- Maintain insurance: If you are using your drone for commercial purposes or any non-recreational reasons, you must have third-party liability insurance.
For more information on licensing and regulations for drones over 250g, visit the our uk drone laws post to ensure you are in compliance with all legal requirements.
Do I need a license to fly a drone less than 250g in 2023?
If your drone weighs less than 250g and is equipped with a camera, you need a Flyer ID and Operator ID from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The Flyer ID demonstrates that you have passed a basic flying test, while the Operator ID is your registration number, which must be displayed on your drone.
Can I fly my drone anywhere if it’s under 250g UK?
While drones under 250g have more relaxed regulations, you still need to adhere to certain rules. You must maintain a line of sight with your drone, fly below 400 feet (120 meters), and not fly within a 5-kilometer radius of airports. Additionally, you must obtain permission before flying in restricted airspace. Always be aware of local laws and regulations and abide by them.
In conclusion, understanding and adhering to the UK’s drone laws for sub-250g drones in 2023 is essential for safe and responsible drone operation.
By obtaining the necessary Flyer ID and Operator ID, complying with the guidelines for flying drones under 250g, and considering optional drone insurance, you can enjoy your drone hobby or business with confidence. Keep up to date with any changes to drone regulations and always prioritize the safety of yourself and those around you when operating your drone. With the proper knowledge and precautions, the exciting world of drones can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for all.