I’m an advocate of safe and sensible drone flight and it is absolutely important that everyone else should do the same too. I’m sick to death of hearing nothing but negative talk about drones. However it does depend on how you use yours and what for.
If people, idiot people keep on flying them as high as they can and as far away from themselves as they can without any due consideration for others then we will all be forced to pack up our rucksacks and throw away kit that we’ve invested some serious money into.
Should we all be regulated? Not sure.
I for one always worry about laws being rushed in to protect privacy. I can recall about 8 years ago there was concern over the proliferation of digital cameras and even camera phones. Well these days we just call them either phones or cameras. Funny that. There was quite a lot of hysteria and if you were caught photographing buildings in London. Yes I use that context because at times that is what it felt like, being caught. Security guards would throw some bye-law at you and some would even threaten to confiscate your camera. You may remember this? I do because I got told to move on many a time. I love architecture and that would be the reason for taking photos in the first place. Never would I have thought there to be a security issue whatsoever.
Now I fear that drones are facing the same issue and that is because they are for all intents and purposes “flying cameras” in most cases. I can understand people getting angry over then flying over their homes and that is where we should all be responsible.
It’s all too easy to get carried away. You’ve just received your first ever drone. You’ve never flown a remote control aircraft before. It’s exciting as you watch those batteries charge up, those LEDs blinking away and then – da dah!
You are heading for the nearest park with your new toy and taking off. Only thing is you will later regret not having read the manual, not having been aware of the risks and the laws for flight. So many people end up either feeling very upset or plain embarrassed that their aircraft has broken on first flight, having plummeted into a garden or something horrendous like that. Choose your locations for flight carefully and I shall write about that in the future.
So let’s rewrite the previous paragraph by thinking about what I deliberately wrote there!
Drones, UAVs, Quadcopters or whatever you wish to call them, are not toys. A drone is a small lightweight aircraft and is actually categorised as such by the Civil Aviation Authority. You as an enthusiast are perfectly entitled to fly in the UK currently without licence, so long as you stick within a certain set of boundaries. You can read more about them at (insert link here) and there is a useful PDF download there that you can download. The main things to remember are:
- Never fly above 400ft
- Always fly your drone within line of sight
- Do not fly within 150ft of built up areas
I would also add that you should always be responsible for the health of your drone and make sure all batteries are fully charged before flight.
If your drone has a “Return to home” feature make sure when taking off you are in an open space, so no trees that it could fly into whilst in automated flight.
I think if we apply this level of common sense to our activities, then we can look forward to many happy years of flights!
The CAA do operate a range of courses and you can become a qualified UAV pilot if you wish to pursue a professional career in aerial filming or even using it as a tool for commercial purposes. I’m looking into this myself at the moment.