Tuesday, 5 November 2019

25 days to register for UK drone pilots

UK owners of drones and model aircraft weighing more than 250g /8.8oz have until just the end of November to register their details with the UK's Civil Aviation Authority or face a hefty fine of up to £1,000.

Users can now also register as a drone operator and/or flyer here: register-drones.caa.co.uk 

This mandatory requirement to register covers owners of drones or model aircraft over 250g and in addition to registering, owners will also have to undergo an online education course and following test. The course and test takes around 20 - 25 minutes to complete.

According to recent research, a quarter of owners have lost a drone at some point, with many going missing because of malfunctions in flight, losing battery power, loss of signal or other such technical failures.

The CAA research also found that millennials are most likely to lose their drone: 36% of 18-34-year olds have lost a drone compared to 20% of those aged 35 and above. Millennials are more likely to insure their drone: 54% of 18-34-year-olds have some kind of insurance for their drones compared to only 26% of those aged 35+. 

Regionally, 50% of drone owners in Northern Ireland admit to having lost a drone compared to 37% in London and  33%  in Scotland. The most careful users live in the North East, where only 13% of users have lost a drone. The East Midlands and the East of England are also cautious flyers, with only 17% and 18% having seen their drone go astray. 

Following that research,  the CAA has set up a new platform to reunite owners and their drones called Drones Reunited.

Access to the Drones Reunited platform is free as part of drone registration - a mandatory scheme for all drone owners and operators in the UK having drones over 250g. Registration costs just £9 - a fraction of the price users would be willing to pay to recover their lost devices. 

Indeed, the drone registration scheme is critical to the launch of Drones Reunited. With each registered operator having a unique code that they must apply to their drones we can use this number to, for the first time, introduce the reunited service.  To take advantage of the service anyone losing a drone must post their details to the Drones Reunited site, while anyone who finds a drone will be encouraged to check the device for a registration number, reporting this to the platform. The CAA will then be on hand to act to help ensure drones are returned to their rightful owners. 

Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications, CAA, said: “Drones Reunited is a UK-first - an essential service that is only possible thanks to the drone registration scheme that is also launched today. The service is about giving something back to the community, helping responsible drone owners and operators to be reunited with lost drones and continue flying.  

“Our aim is for the Drones Reunited platform to become an essential service for the drone community - the first port of call for anyone who has lost, or found, a drone.”

The Drones Reunited platform can be accessed here: dronesreunited.uk 

Not everyone is happy about the new registration and reuniting service from the CAA, Simon, Dale, chief executive of FPV UK opposes the registration, saying "Registration will do nothing to improve safety or security because bad actors will not register their drones,"  Of course, by that logic, there should be no crime of murder, for there will always be bad actors that will commit murder!

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