UK Drone Pilots Must Register with CAA or Risk Fine

Drone pilot

UK drone pilots have 24 days to register their details with the aviation regulator or face a £1,000 fine. 

Owners of drones or model aircraft weighting more then 250g (8.8oz) must register their details with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) within the next 24 days.

Those failing to comply with the mandatory requirement to register their details could face a fine. The CAA estimates that roughly 130,000 people will have to pay and register by the end of the month.

Mandatory drone registration was announced by the UK Government in 2017 over growing concern over illegal drone misuse and the potential for collisions with planes around airports.

The CAA is also launching its Drone Reunited platform to help reunite owners with their lost drones. CAA research suggests that a quarter of owners have at some point lost a drone due to a malfunction. Losing battery power, loss of signal or technology failures can cause a drone to go missing. The research also revealed that a quarter of missing drone cases are caused by pilot error.

CAA spokesman Jonathan Nicholson said: “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.”

Anyone who registers their drones will receive free access to the service, which issues each device with a unique identification code.

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Pilots will be able to register a drone loss on the Drones Reunited platform using the unique identification code. Anyone who finds a downed drone with a code will be able to look it up on the platform and inform the owner their device has been found.

Crafts weighing between 250g and 20kg cost £9 a year to register and registration must be completed by the 30th of November. Registered drone owners must be more than 18 years of age and have to take an online examination that tests their knowledge of drone safety.

Exemptions from registration have been granted to members of several organisation associations with flying model aircraft or other small, remotely controlled craft such as drones.

The five exempt organisation include

  • The UK Drone Association (Arpas UK)
  • British Model Flying Association
  • Scottish Aeromodellers’ Association
  • Large Model Association
  • FPV UK

Mandatory registration has not been entirely welcomed by the UK’s drone community, many of whom say it will not deter bad actors and it will put people off the hobby.

Simon Dale, chief executive of FPV UK, said: “Registration will do nothing to improve safety or security because bad actors will not register their drones. Hopefully it will be scrapped before long, just like the dog licence.”

Some pilots have voiced their approval of the compulsory registration, though. Balpa union’s head of flight safety, Rob Hunter, said: “This is another measure to encourage responsible drone operation, which is desperately needed to ensure a collision between an aircraft and a drone is avoided.”



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