Drone users must register and pass online theory test - or face £1k fine

Drone users must register and pass online theory test - or face £1k fine
By: Technology Posted On: November 05, 2019 View: 11

Drone users must register and pass online theory test - or face £1k fine

Drone pilots in the UK have until the end of November to register themselves and their quadcopters with the Civil Aviation Authority - or face a £1,000 fine.

Owners of drones weighing more than 250g (8.8oz) are covered by the rules - which also require owners to pass an online theory test.

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The law was introduced following the shutdown of Gatwick Airport last December after roughly 100 credible sightings of two drones being used near the airport.

The three-day disruption affected more than 140,000 passengers across a total of 1,000 flights.

No confirmed recordings of the drones being used to the disrupt the airport were ever found, however, and to this date the guilty parties have eluded the authorities.

The airport was shut down because the risk posed to aircraft by drones is considerable, according to Dr Rob Hunter, the head of flight safety at airline pilots' union Balpa.

Dr Hunter said encouraging responsible drone use was "desperately needed to ensure a collision between an aircraft and a drone is avoided".

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He added: "We have been calling for drone registration for some time now as we believe that in the same way that other vehicles - be it those in the air or on the ground - are registered, so should drones."

However, hobbyists have criticised the registration regime.

Simon Dale, the chief executive of FPV UK (the association for radio control model plane and drone flying), said it would "do nothing" because "bad actors will not register their drones".

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Registering a drone and receiving a licence can be done online via a multiple choice questionnaire at the cost of £9. It will need to be repeated annually.

According to the CAA, the "new national drone registration scheme" will mean that anyone who loses a drone while flying it will be able to recover it.

CAA figures suggest that 26% of drone owners have lost a drone, and "when a drone is lost there is no clear procedure for getting it back".

The registration scheme will result in drone pilots being given a unique code that they will need to apply to their drones.

Registration is available here: https://register-drones.caa.co.uk/

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