BBC reporting on new draft UK done regulations

Discussion in 'Aerial and Drone' started by Andrew Garrard, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. Rumoured for a while - we'll have to sit a "safety awareness test" (which is fine by me if we don't have to pay for it).

    UK drone users to sit safety tests

    I'm a little confused how the 400ft height limit interacts with the 150m "no surveillance drones near crowds or busy junctions" rule (makes it kind of hard to cross a road) - that's an existing regulation, but it enforces a "no overflying" safety area that requires some trig; and the BBC summary doesn't distinguish between drones with cameras and without for the 50m thing (I hope that was just an omission). Which, I've got to say having recently tried my mavic for the first time (previously flying lighter quads), is a chuffing long way straight up. I hope there's still the 30m exemption for take off and landing.

    I'm already right on the edge of the (enormous) Heathrow no fly zone - it's getting hard to be allowed to fly, even in an empty field. All this because a few people are dumb enough to fly near airfields (though I think it would be unlikely most drones could actually take a plane down without a very unlucky hit) and because people stupid enough to grasp the spinning props of a large drone then post their scratches on the web. (The BBC had a panic because of someone's lacerated finger when they tried to grab their friend's Inspire out of the air - not the same as the average user accidentally clipping someone with a Spark.)

    Weeding out some idiots with a test ought to be a good thing - although it would be nice if it meant some slightly more reasonable limits. Not that a test stops bad driving on the roads.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Any good Wing Shot....
    Moving On likes this.
  3. You lost me, Sandy.

    The thing that struck me odd about the regulations I've seen so far is that they're more restrictive if you have a camera (fine, people don't like being spied on when they expect privacy), but apparently (not that I can find the limit on the CAA site) only if the drone is over 250g. And I've got two toy quads with cameras on them - not good ones, but I could "spy" if I wanted. Meanwhile I have to take a mavic to a field because I can't take the camera off it, irrespective of whether I'm just having fun flying.

    On the other hand, regulation is good. I was at the fireworks in Cambridge earlier in the month and, by the LEDs, it looked like a phantom someone was flying near them - well within disallowed range of a very busy crowd (and presumably people watching from their gardens). I understand that drone shots of fireworks are cool, but that wasn't the safe way to do it.
  4. Official press release here. Summary: we're going to do roughly what we said we were going to do, and sometime next year we'll say exactly. Sorry, not much of a news story.
  5. Very similar problems here in the states. I'm a long time RC modeler and our FAA is now at it again. They set up rules for registration of pilots and aircraft and have been steady at it trying to set up airspace limitations and use. The 400 foot rule is one our AMA has tried to hold for decades but it is widely ignored when away from airports and occupied structures. Earlier this year the courts threw it all out and now the FAA is saying they are going to do it again. Not sure how this will be truly enforced for most of us smart enough not to fly drones, fixed wing and so on around crowds. I was watching football last night and clearly TV broadcasters are flying drones over huge crowds in stadiums.

    Rick H.
  6. After a little online research, I gather many countries are picking 250g/0.55lbs as the cut off. I can't doubt that a Mavic (734g) would hurt if it hit you; whether it's actually dangerous (barring a freak eye impact) I'm less sure. A 100g X5c isn't going to hurt much do long as you have the presence of mind to stop the rotors when you're going to crash. I'll be highly unsurprised to see dji knock 50g off the next Spark update to fall under the limit. I've joined the petition for a lightweight Spark battery.

    I hope film crews are at least using octorotors for redundancy if they're near crowds - though I note the reports of injury have been with solid carbon blades on multi-kg drones (Inspire and up or custom). Lighter drones with plastic or folding blades really shouldn't do much more than sting, but I don't really want to try my hand out my Mavic proving it. I hope TV crews can transition to lighter drones as technology improves, for safety.

    Idiots are why we (sensible people) can't fly in national parks, within many miles of an airport, or anywhere near people (much farther away than I'd consider necessary for safety). If regulations stop the idiots flying at all, I really hope the time will come when other rules can relax a bit - all those things should be fine very carefully and in moderation, but IMO a blanket ban (without getting exemptions) is going a bit far. But for now, I'm still nervous about whether a test is going to cost me money, as an amateur.

    And I'm looking forward to visiting my sister in Wales, where there are actually some places I can fly...
  7. Had exactly the same experience at the last 4th July fireworks which I watched from my house. And it wasn't only one drone...

    I wholeheartedly support the ban of drones in national parks. Can you imagine how many drones there would be hovering over each of the geysirs in Yellowstone, for example? You couldn't go anywhere without one of those damn things around you. Someone was flying one from the balcony of the Prince of Wales Hotel (inside Waterton Nationalpark) while we were enjoying the views and the sunset, increasingly getting annoyed by the sound (and often sight) of that drone. Now imagine there would have been a dozen, two dozen, a hundred...
  8. Hence "sensible people" (by which I read "considerate"). I absolutely don't think it's okay to buzz a load of people who are enjoying a feature, bother wildlife, or fly a drone somewhere irretrievable if it has a problem (the drone crash in Grand Prismatic, for example). I did see someone flying a Phantom around Delicate Arch at sunset, when I was there in 2016; I politely asked if he'd got permission, but apparently he'd already been told off and was just unaware of the regulation - he stopped fairly quickly, anyway (most people I've met in national parks, despite some having a tendency to try to get a selfie of themselves being gored by something, are nice people; I trust idiots just trying to get Youtube hits are the exception).

    I admit I've mostly stuck to the areas around the roads in national parks, because I'm unfit and generally in a hurry. Still, if I'd gone hiking off the beaten track off-season and wanted to get an unusual view of a quiet area with no other people in sight, I wouldn't feel unreasonable in sending up a drone, so long as I only flew it over places where I could retrieve it if there was a problem. I won't, because you're not allowed to, but I think it's not unreasonable to want to. Even if there's someone in the distance who might see the tiny dot, the noise made by drones drops off quickly with range - if you were being audibly buzzed, it was probably irresponsibly low. (And yes, I've ordered the quieter Platinum props for my Mavic Pro.)

    Sadly, loosening this regulation this does assume that the registration scheme weeds out people who aren't rude or stupid, and the various worldwide motor vehicle driving licences have most definitely not had that effect. As ever, the (hopefully) few spoiling it for all of us.

    I'm hoping to take my Mavic to my sister's in Wales during the holidays, and fly around a little nice scenery. I'm very wary of staying well away from people to do it, and not allowing it to ditch somewhere awkward. That's a little complicated, if I also want nice shots and not just an overlook of a field, but that's the price of being responsible.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017

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