UK's new 'dronecode' wants to keep idiots out of the sky


Drone usage is becoming more popular, and lawmakers around the world are having to change the rules to respond. Now the UK's Civil Aviation Authority has just released a set of rules and regulations for piloting unmanned aircraft.

A lot of the rules seem obvious, but considering some people still think flying drones close to actual aircraft is a good idea, they're necessary - and worth looking over.

The whole thing's a little bare-boned right now, but the three golden rules are as follows:

  • Keep your drone within your line of sight and at a maximum height of 400ft high
  • Always fly your drone away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields
  • Use your common sense and fly safely. Remember you could be prosecuted if you don't

We're reminded that recklessly endangering an aircraft in flight is a criminal offence in the UK that can land you a custodial sentence.

It also notes that drones with cameras must be flown at least 50m away from a person, vehicle, building or "structure", and never within 150m of "a congested area or large group of people".

Sky's limit

CAA Director of Policy, Tim Johnson, said: "Drone users must understand that when taking to the skies they are entering one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world - a complex system that brings together all manner of aircraft including passenger aeroplanes, military jets, helicopters, gliders, light aircraft and now drones.

"When doing so, they must be aware of the rules and regulations for flying drones that are designed to keep all air users safe."

The law will need to grow and adapt as drone usage becomes more popular, but for now this is a useful go-to guide for anyone thinking of taking to the skies.

Hugh Langley

Hugh Langley is the ex-News Editor of TechRadar. He had written for many magazines and websites including Business Insider, The Telegraph, IGN, Gizmodo, Entrepreneur Magazine, WIRED (UK), TrustedReviews, Business Insider Australia, Business Insider India, Business Insider Singapore, Wareable, The Ambient and more.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider covering Google and Alphabet, and has the unfortunate distinction of accidentally linking the TechRadar homepage to a rival publication.