UK’s CAA Issues Christmas Drone Warning

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has raised concerns over the number of drones expected to be bought and gifted this Christmas. Officials believe that a spike in purchases comes at a time when most buyers are unaware of the laws governing flying a drone.

According to the CAA, drones will be among the most popular tech gadgets this Christmas. The aviation authority claims that 1.5 million more could enter British airspace following the festive period. That’s on top of the two million already purchased in recent years.

CAA urges buyers to use ‘responsible retailers’

The solution to this avalanche of new drone pilots? With new legislation regarding registration due in the Spring, the CAA is simply asking shoppers to buy drones from “responsible” retailers. That will at least ensure that each drone bought will come with a copy of the CAA’s Dronecode:

The statement from the CAA comes after research found that 25 percent of those planning to buy a drone over the Christmas period were unaware of the rules.

Until the new Drone Bill comes into effect, new pilots can continue to fly without a license unless it is for commercial purposes. But there are limits, just like the ones put in place by the FAA, to keep certain areas and altitudes off limits.

Drones have to fly below 400ft and at least 150ft away from people or buildings.

“Retailers are claiming that drones are going to be hugely popular this year but households are not aware of the rules and could be putting themselves and other people at risk,” said Jonathan Nicholson, assistant director of communications at the CAA.

“Anyone can buy a drone in a high-street shop. By the time the battery is charged, you could be flying it outside. They might be great fun, but they come with great responsibility.

“If you are a parent or grandparent buying a drone this Christmas, buy one from a quality retailer that gives you the right advice and guidance.”