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Author Topic: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws  (Read 456 times)

Offline willapp

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Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« on: June 22, 2018, 09:52:58 »
Hi all,

Let me start by saying yes I'm new to flying. I should take delivery of a Mavic Air today (very excited!)  ::)

Firstly, I fully intend to register my drone, familiarize myself with UK drone code and adhere to the sensible guidelines (no flying near airports, schools, prisons etc.)

My question is really around the practicalities of safe flying and how pragmatic most users are. Having read a lot of forums/watched Youtube vids, there are plenty of scare stories and people who take a very strict view on regulations around flying near areas that might contain other people or a few properties etc. How concerned should I be about this?

Let me give an example... I live in rural Norfolk, so no shortage of open spaces in theory. Suppose I want to fly my drone, so I drive and find some fields that seem deserted and plenty of space. I check Airmap/Drone Assist and no advisories in the area. Is it safe to fly? What if, while flying, I go over some trees and it turns out there is a house nestled in there that I couldn't see from my location (but I can see my drone because it's in the air). Pragmatic me says just fly away, but have I broken the rules? Same if a group of walkers appear from nowhere - suddenly I am too close to them. I can fly away but is it too late?

I feel like I'm worrying about nothing, but it's important for me to understand just how much planning is required before taking a drone out, versus just applying some logic and being sensible about it. I would only want to get some nice landscape videos, not to intrude on anyone's privacy.

I'm sure this has been done to death but I would appreciate any thoughts. I want to enjoy my drone safely, and I'm worried that these rules might take the fun out of it, if it turns out there's barely anywhere safe to fly!

Cheers,
Will

Offline UrbanFPV

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2018, 10:16:01 »

I feel like I'm worrying about nothing, but it's important for me to understand just how much planning is required before taking a drone out, versus just applying some logic and being sensible about it. I would only want to get some nice landscape videos, not to intrude on anyone's privacy.


Welcome to the world of drones!  Be pragmatic, you always have the problem of people appearing out of nowhere with 100s of dogs running about etc.  Mostly people could care less that you're flying around in an open space.  If you're deliberately hovering in front of someones bedroom window... well that's a different matter.  If you examine a map and work out where property is in relation to where you're going to be then you can be at least 50m away without issue.  Best to use google maps/satellite view first - that way you're not surprised by a property that suddenly appears in view.
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Offline Cheredanine

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2018, 10:39:15 »
Hi Will,  :welcome:

Ok so you are approaching it the correct way.

There are, of course idiots with drones, much like there are idiots with cars, or chainsaws.

Nothing prohibits idiots putting stuff on YouTube, and that will frequently produce interesting videos.

There is a video of someone flying the golden mile at Blackpool, including the tower, I may be wrong but I think he was fine 5k based on the yt vid.

But you don’t appear to be an idiot and seem to be approaching this sensibly.

The short answer to your questions above is you would be at fault.
You are the pilot, you are responsible for flying safely and legally.

That doesn’t mean it takes the fun out of it, it just means you need to do some prep work.

A lot of us don’t fly the rtf cam UAVs like Mavics, we fly fpv racing quads, in those cases we have spotters and have a pretty good idea of where we are flying, we also fly a hell of a lot faster than mavics so we are far more at risk of the sort of thing you are worrying about.

This is the sort of prep work you need to do-
1. Check your quadcopter - make sure it is serviceable before you fly, make sure failsafe works, once powered make sure it has got lock and home is set correctly.
2. Know the area where you are going to fly - walk around it. Work out what lines you want to fly (this will help produce better footage) and where any obstacles or risks are (stuff like power lines for example). This will stop houses and other buildings sneaking up on you)
3. Work out where you are going to be - you need to keep low with the quad but you should also be positioned where you can see paths walkers might use for example.
4. Know what actions you need to take in the event of a problem - this will stop you panicking and doing the wrong thing. -
Examples you need to consider - action on failsafe - if your drone loses connection, unlike our racers, you are probably gonna want to return to home, but at what altitude? You need to set it to be high enough to clear any intervening objects in the location, this means the altitude may need adjusting for different locations
If you see walkers, or houses or whatever, you don’t need to panic, your drone isn’t gonna explode, usually holding position is entirely safe. You can then carefully move away from them

Your “just fly away” question then, largely the response is hold position and then move away. With “soft targets” (walkers for example), they are not going to stay still. You may need to land, they may move away by themselves. In any case, once you are aware of the risk, you need to take action appropriate to the situation.
No one is going to know exactly how far you are away from them. Some people will complain (usually to you, loudly and with a healthy dose of swearing) that you are too close to them and you nearly took their head off and etc etc) regardless of the reality (I have had a guy do that when there was an entire football pitch between where i was flying and he was) equally some people will dumbly walk towards the quad and let their dogs lose, oblivious to any risk.
(There are idiots without drones)

In all situations you need to take appropriate action to maintain the safety of all involved.

One other thing you haven’t mentioned - you need liability insurance (BMFA or FPVUK)


Offline mo_miah

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2018, 11:43:26 »
Do all pilots need insurance? is it a requirement or just good to have if something goes wrong and we cause damage to someone or something

Offline UrbanFPV

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2018, 11:52:22 »
Do all pilots need insurance? is it a requirement or just good to have if something goes wrong and we cause damage to someone or something

You don't need it by law.  It is recommended if you think you're going to be sued for damages.  It really depends on where you fly, if you have your own private field to fly in, then you're not going to need it!
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Offline Cheredanine

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2018, 11:53:34 »
Do all pilots need insurance? is it a requirement or just good to have if something goes wrong and we cause damage to someone or something
I don’t believe there is a direct legal requirement, however since you are responsible for the safety of the flight, (regardless of what any walkers, dogs, helicopter pilots, etc, pretty much anything else in the world does) you are liable for any result of the flight, that isn’t to say it is your fault or you caused it, just the way it is set up, if your drone is in a stable hover and someone runs up and dives face first into the props, you are liable.
Liability insurance means they don’t get your house in the ensuing court case

Offline mo_miah

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2018, 12:03:44 »
thanks guy, at £20 (fpvuk) per year for £5m cover its a no brainer really

Offline Cheredanine

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2018, 12:07:38 »
thanks guy, at £20 (fpvuk) per year for £5m cover its a no brainer really
Yep same conclusion

Offline jtbutcher

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2018, 12:54:30 »
I had no idea FPVUK existed! everything I have looked at has pointed to BMFA.

Offline hoverfly

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2018, 16:47:07 »
if your drone is in a stable hover and someone runs up and dives face first into the props, you are liable.
Liability insurance means they don’t get your house in the ensuing court case

Never the less they are open to a counter claim for f/king up your quad .. ~~
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Offline Big A

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2018, 17:26:53 »
I had no idea FPVUK existed! everything I have looked at has pointed to BMFA.
There are a number o other options too. LMA and SAA. BMFa is the best cover though.

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Offline Big A

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2018, 17:34:48 »


you are liable for any result of the flight, that isn’t to say it is your fault or you caused it, just the way it is set up, if your drone is in a stable hover and someone runs up and dives face first into the props, you are liable.
Liability insurance means they don’t get your house in the ensuing court case
This is not the case. While you are responsible for the safety of the flight and should only take off if "reasonably" sure the flight can be made safely if there is an accident you will not be considered liable or if there is an incident that can be shown not to be the fault of the pilot in any way then you are not liable and the insurers will not pay out.
Having said that £34 for £25m cover and personal accident cover with the BMFA is a no-brainer.


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Offline Lamaule

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2018, 18:52:39 »
Personally I would go with fpvuk. The chap that runs it does a huge amount of lobbying for the fpv community. We all benefit from supporting him.

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Offline ched999uk

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2018, 19:01:59 »
Must admit that currently I believe FPVUK is more aligned with multi rotors than BMFA.

That is not to say BMFA hasn't come on in terms of their 'drone' friendliness as they have. It's just that the organisation has been running for many years and has done lots of great work but they have been a bit slow to embrace multi rotors.

FPVUK is much more focused on multi rotors and the sort of flying that many here are into.

One thing I have noticed is that some multi rotor race events wont accept FPVUK insurance and insist on BFMA insurance or paying a nominal insurance fee for the racing day. 

BMFA insurance also covers the land owners when you are flying as well as the pilot.

Offline Cheredanine

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2018, 21:44:27 »
Personally I would go with fpvuk. The chap that runs it does a huge amount of lobbying for the fpv community. We all benefit from supporting him.

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Simon Dale, and absolutely agree

Offline Elmattbo

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2018, 23:39:22 »
FPV UK only covers UK activities whereas BMFA is worldwide, something to bare in mind if you take your quad on holiday.


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Offline Lamaule

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2018, 00:23:56 »
Simon Dale, and absolutely agree

Thank you, couldn’t remember his surname! Lol.


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Offline Lamaule

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2018, 00:24:38 »
FPV UK only covers UK activities whereas BMFA is worldwide, something to bare in mind if you take your quad on holiday.


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Uk and Europe!


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Offline Bad Raven

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Re: Practicalities of UK drone code/laws
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2018, 16:37:37 »
It is also worth checking local model flying clubs, they are not by any means all anti-drone, and their usually closed site situation would enable you to get competent as a pilot rather than a user, especially with testing and proving the safety features and your ability to control rather than be a passenger to any glitch or gust.