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[March 2023] What are the new drone flying rules in the US and UK?



Overview


In this post, we will be looking at the rules and regulations behind flying drones in both the USA and the UK, as of March 2023, what those rules are, and how those rules are evolving.


The rules and regulations regarding drone flying in the US and UK are constantly evolving, so it's best to check with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the UK for the most up-to-date information.



Rules


Below we will look at the guideline rules operators in both regions must adhere to:



USA

  • Compliance with FAA regulations is mandatory for all drone operations in the US.

  • All drones must be registered with the FAA and marked with the registration number.

  • Pilots must pass an aeronautical knowledge test and obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate.

  • Pilots wishing to work commercially must obtain a Part 107

  • Drones must be operated within the pilot's visual line of sight and not above 400 feet above ground level.

  • Drones must not be flown over restricted airspace, near airports or manned aircraft, or in a careless or reckless manner.

  • The FAA has established a number of safety regulations, including those relating to the maintenance, inspection, and repair of drones.




UK

  • Compliance with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations is mandatory for all drone operations in the UK.

  • Pilots must register their drones and take an online test to obtain a Flyer ID

  • If your drone has a camera you must register as an operator.

  • Drones must not be flown over or within 50 meters of any congested area, over or within 150 meters of a crowd of 1,000 or more people, near aircraft, or within restricted airspace, these rules vary depending on the weight of your drone.

  • Drones must not be flown above 400 feet above ground level or within 5 kilometers of an aerodrome boundary.

  • Drones must be operated within the pilot's visual line of sight and not in a manner that could endanger people or property.

  • The CAA has established a number of safety regulations, including those relating to the maintenance, inspection, and repair of drones.


The rules in the UK have recently been amended which has caused some confusion among pilots. Below we will discuss how these rules have changed and how they affect operators.


There is no longer a distinction between flying commercially and flying for pleasure or recreation. This means that approval just to operate commercially is not required. However, all commercial drone flights require valid insurance cover.


Drone flight in the UK is now determined by a few factors including that of weight and risk, we will discuss what this means below:



Drone Categories


The rules are now divided into categories dependent on risk, we will look at these categories below:


​Category

Description

Open Category

The Open category is intended for low-risk drone flights, for example, because you are flying a lightweight drone or operating in the countryside.

Specific Category

The Specific category is for increased-risk flights such as flying a heavier drone over an urban area. To be allowed to fly in this category you will need operating approval. This is where you would require further drone training to obtain operational approval via a GVC (General VLOS Certificate)

Certified Category

The Certified category is for large drones which have to meet specific safety certifications along the lines of aircraft.


250g and Below


If your drone is under 250g, for example, the DJI Mavic Mini range, then there are some variations to some of the rules. If your drone has a camera then you must register as an operator but you do not have to complete the flyer ID test, although it's recommended that you do.


If you’re flying a drone or model aircraft that’s lighter than 250g, you can fly closer to people than 50m and you can fly over them, but you must not fly over crowds.



Further Guidance


If operating as part of a business or a freelance operator further guidance can be found on the CAA Website in the form of:



CAP 722 provides guidance and policy on the operation of unmanned aircraft systems within the UK. It is intended to assist those who are involved in all aspects of the development and operation of UAS.



Summary


It is important to be aware of and follow any additional safety regulations and guidelines established by individual airports or local authorities.


Additionally, it's a good idea to stay informed about changes to the regulations and guidelines by regularly checking the FAA and CAA websites.


These websites are as follows:


USA: FAA


UK: CAA



We hope the article helps you understand a little bit more about the US and UK rules and guidelines when it comes to flying your drone.


Here at Hammer Missions, we would advise all of our clients to follow the guidelines and adhere to the rules set out by your local aviation authority.


If you'd like to learn more about how to capture high-quality data and get the most out of your drone flights using our cloud-based platform, please feel free to visit our learning resources.


If you haven't got a Hammer account and would like to try Hammer Missions you can get started on our free trial.


To learn more about our enterprise solutions, including mission collaboration, data processing, and AI solutions, please contact us at team@hammermissions.com.


We look forward to hearing from you.



— Team at Hammer Missions






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