Hi all,

After spending some time looking around the internet for laws on the use of hobby UAVs and drones in the UK I didn't find anything that was any use apart from some forum posts around the internet.

I have decided to take some time to compile a website documenting in simple terms all the laws worldwide for hobby drones and RC aircraft.

I do need some help on this if anyone has any experience of laws in their country that they could share to try to cut the research time down considerably!

Let me know what you think or if this has been done before and I'm just not looking hard enough or for the right thing!

I think I have seen somewhere that in the US different states have different laws on this so knowing as much of this as possible would be great if anyone is willing to divulge!

Thanks,

Oliver

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In Australia it's all in the CASA laws. I'm sure its similar in the UK and USA? The rules here are simple for hobbyists. Stay under 400ft, stay in visual range, and fly under RC plane rules. (Dont fly over roads/houses etc) That's 90% of the rules right there.

I have just purchased dronelaws.info and will build the site later. 

I'll make it a central resource for every countries drone laws,  in non legalese language. 

Contributions to hosting costs welcome. 

Thanks Guys,

I can offer the hosting to you via one of my servers if you would like! Also just picked up dronelaws.co.uk as well to point towards it

I just went with the provider hosting, so it means I can get it running easily tonight. I'll slap up a forum and all the usual mod cons, then start thinking about how I pull all the data together. I might do it Wikipedia style where people can contribute from their respective countries.

A fellow Brit! I had similar troubles in finding information; eventually I came across the CAA's CAP-722 document [PDF].

The weight classifications are listed under Section 1, paragraph 3.1. DIYDrones stuff will generally be under 20kg, which means they're under national regs. Jump to Section 2 for the rules. Our stuff probably won't have Detect And Avoid that's up to their standards (FPV isn't accepted) so that means you're under the regular Air Navigation Order, plus Section 2, paragraph 6.7 of CAP-722, which basically states that you must fly:

  • outside of controlled airspace
  • outside of air traffic zones unless you have permission from the relevant ATC or aerodrome operator
  • below 400ft AGL
  • with direct, unaided visual contact (no cameras or binoculars)
  • within 500m of the pilot
  • at least 150m from any "congested area" of towns, cities etc or large gatherings of people, and not directly above them at any altitude
  • at least 50m from any building, vehicle or person not controlled by the pilot, except during takeoff and landing
  • during takeoff and landing, at least 30m from any person not controlled by the pilot

Other items:

  • you may be required to have a failsafe that ends the flight in the case of a failure to any system, including the radio link. (I Am Not A Lawyer, but it could be argued that "failure" means actually broken, so you might be ok with systems that RTL to try to re-establish contact before auto-landing.)
  • nothing may be released or jettisoned from the aircraft mid-flight
  • the pilot is required to thoroughly test and check the aircraft before flight. Duh.

So in general, check your aircraft, don't fly too far, don't fly over or too near to anything you're not prepared to crash into, and if all else fails, be polite, honest and co-operative when the police turn up, and you should be totally fine. If in doubt, the CAA have all sorts of contact options, including rpg@caa.co.uk for regulatory policy enquiries, and infoservices@caa.co.uk for general questions.

Euan, feel free to add the above to dronelaws!

Yep - got a few updates to do,  so it's on the list! 

The only thing I don't like about these regs is that I can't find a definition of "congested area". My general guideline is to not fly over anywhere where a falling drone is more likely to hit something it shouldn't than to land somewhere harmless... This may or may not be what they meant; the old disclaimer of I Am Not A Lawyer is always applicable, but a lot of laws (at least in the UK) come down to what the theoretical "reasonable person" would think, so I reckon if I can argue that it was reasonable for me to think that my drone would probably not damage anything if it came down, then I'll be alright.

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