How to Find More Places to Fly: Towns, Cities, Beaches & Countryside
My video, the other day on the new uk drone regulations, caused quite a bit of discussion, and many of you were pretty unhappy at the new restrictions saying they banned you pretty much from flying anywhere.
Well, that’s, not actually quite the case. There are actually a few ways you can continue flying in your usual spots and find new places to fly as well. If you know how the rules work and if you make use of certain permissions, be it through flying clubs or additional training.
So, in a much shorter video today, that is what i’m talking about today: [ Music, ], hello, everyone! I’m ian, a caa certified drone operator with a permission for commercial operations and obviously i play with lots of drones and, as i said last week’s.
Video did cause quite a bit of angst amongst some of you saying that the new restrictions on how they treated legacy drones over 250 grams were pretty harsh. So what i wanted to actually do today is go through what actually changed from the old rules, how the new rules define a congested area and to see how you can actually benefit from the new rules.
First off, if you haven’t actually watched the video outlining how the new rules work. I will put a little link up there, but in a nutshell, if you owned a drone at the start of this year, it’s now classed as a legacy drone, because it does not have the new numeric classifications that the new rules refer to And it’s, the fact that legacy drones are treated far more harshly to in the new rules that got many people annoyed.
So let’s quickly. Look at what changed under the old rules. All drones had to keep at least 150 metres away from any congested residential area and 50 meters from buildings. If you had a permission for commercial operations or epico, then you were permitted to fly inside these areas, but you still had to keep that 50 meter bubble away from buildings and people under the new rules.
The term congested area has been expanded to residential commercial, industrial or recreational area, and they give some examples of what that constitutes there’s also be a change to the minimum distance as well.
You now have a minimum horizontal distance of 50 meters as opposed to the bubble, so flying high over people no longer constitutes uh distance. So, under the new rules, the classification or weight of your drone dictates where you can fly in one of three subcategories of flight, namely the a1 flying inside congested areas, including flying directly over uninvolved people.
You’ve got a2, where you can still fly inside these congested residential, commercial, industrial and recreational areas, but you still have to keep a minimum horizontal distance of 30 or 50 meters from uninvolved people and then finally, you have the a3 category of flying, Which is basically, as i said, before, open countryside, because it’s at least 150 meters, horizontal distance from any of these congested areas and 50 meters horizontal distance from any uninvolved people.
So these are the new rules that have restricted where you can fly and basically, if your drone is over 250 grams, then you are relegated to a3 flights, far away from people and outside these congested areas which, as i said now, also includes recreational areas and that’s been a bit of contention as well, because they also give beaches as an example of this.
So first off let’s, get recreational and specifically beaches sorted. The key point is crowds and whether or not it’s reasonable to expect uninvolved people to be present where you’re flying. So, whilst the drone registration site does mention beaches as an example of a recreational area, i don’t, see that meaning the entire coastline, but instead it’s referring to beaches where people are actively using it for recreational purposes like sunbathing, Walking kite flying and swimming and the like, so the key definition here is the sentence i’ve got highlighted from cap722, which is the main document housing all of the rules for flying drones in the uk, and you can see on their section on Congested areas where they expand on the restrictions for residential, commercial, industrial and recreational areas, they go on to stay i.
e, areas that are densely populated or likely to be occupied by large numbers of persons. So this is the key definition that you need to consider when trying to work out. If you’re in a congested area and whether or not you’re good to fly or not, choosing a site to fly is all about showing that you have considered the risks to others and can demonstrate.
There is no likelihood of uninvolved people being around if challenged so on that basis, i’m happy to carry on flying the drone from uh, quiet beaches and open coastline. If i can see that it is not a beach that’s been primarily used for recreational purposes, i.
e zero chance of crowds being present, but leaving that aside, the new rules actually give you far more scenarios where you can now fly inside these congested Areas where you can fly inside residential, commercial, industrial and recreational areas, and that is actually what i wanted to focus on now.
First off some of you mentioned the benefit you get of being a member of a recognized flying club and the fact that you can continue flying inside congested areas and the horizontal separation distance is reduced down to 30 meters.
So that allows you to fly in the a2 type of flight. This is under something called article 16 and if you’re, a member of a flying club like the bmfa check to see if you can be recognized with this permission, because membership is a really easy way to carry on flying inside these congested areas.
But the second big change to actually start flying inside these congested areas is to do some online training and pass a test before these new rules came in. You actually had to do something called a pfcr pifco, which involved two days of training, a practical flight and an exam, and you got no change from a thousand pounds.
But what that gave you is the permission to fly inside these congested areas, but you still had to stay 50 meters away from uninvolved people and buildings. All that has changed under the new rules, and now you can go online and do a simple online training course and exam called the a2cfc the certificate of competence for flying in a2 type flights.
It’s, nowhere near as complicated as the pifco and it’s way cheaper around 130 pounds. But crucially, this simplified training course allows you to fly your drone inside these congested areas and basically gives you the right to fly your legacy.
Drone in a2 flight categories, which is basically flying inside congested areas up to 50 meters, away from uninvolved people. So this is a huge improvement. I think under the new rules, because instead of having to take a thousand pound two-day course and pay 200 pounds each year to renew it, you actually now to get this certificate for five years for a hundred pounds and you get to fly inside these congested areas.
I do still have issue with the fact that the a2 cfc only gives legacy drones, unclassified drones, a two-year transition period uh before they then relegated back to a three type flight, and i do think that’s.
Pretty unfair. But look two years is a long time and uh i don’t know. Hopefully there is scope for the cia to uh to make changes on that particular point. Another point to mention, of course, is that the rules also apply to self-built home constructed drones that you’ve built at home, as opposed to buying off the shelf in a shop, because all of the rules are based on the weight of the drone Itself, and of course, this is where fpv or first person view drones come into play as well, because many of them are a home built self-built drones as well, so fpv, the application is exactly the same.
It’s based on the weight of the drone. The only additional rule you’ve got under the eos rules is that you have to have a spotter standing right next to you. So whilst you’ve got your goggles on and are controlling and flying the drone you’ve got somebody who is watching where the drone is flying and can check the airspace and make sure you’re, not going to Crash that’s, the only extra rule that applies to fpv flying, so it is again the weight of the fpv that dictates where you can fly and if it’s under 250 grams, then under these new rules you’Re going to get the biggest freedoms because, as i mentioned, all drones under 250 grams now get the greatest freedom and they can fly right inside these congested areas and, crucially, they can fly directly over uninvolved people, and it now means that.
Basically, as long as you’re, not in a restricted airspace or a no-fly zone, many cases you can pretty much take off from your own back garden. So, as i said the other day there, you need to be pretty careful.
I think, because you don’t want to be causing complaints. If you’re taking off in your back garden, you need to be doing a vertical takeoff and get up to at least 50 meters high and then, once you start, flying keep flying don’t, be hovering over other people’s gardens it’s, not just about the rules.
It’s, just about good manners as well and common sense. You wouldn’t, stand on a street and look into somebody’s front room through their window for five minutes because it’s, not very polite. Is it even though there’s, no rule against it, so make the same consideration when you’re flying a drone, basically get up and keep moving, and that way you’re, not going to get people thinking that you’re spying on them.
Another good tip for finding new places to fly is to visit the drone scene, dot, co, dot, uk website it’s. A fantastic website run by the grey arrows drone forum for flyers here in the uk website has got a fully interactive map that you can scroll and zoom in showing all the airspace restrictions in your area and, crucially, it pinpoints excellent locations for flying.
Your drone that have been tried and tested and discovered and uploaded by other users. So it’s, possibly one of your best tools for finding out new places to fly your drone, and you can always rely on the fact that others have already been flying there and tested the ground for you.
So the point i wanted to make today is that it is not all doom and gloom with these new rules. Certainly if you’re flying a sub 250 grand drone. Of course, you’re, a happy bunny and you ‘ Ve, got far more freedom to fly where you want.
But if you’re flying a larger legacy drone, then these new rules do give you a simple opportunity to fly inside congested areas for the first time, instead of having to fork out over a thousand pounds on a two-day training course, you can instead Do a hundred pound course that’s online and that certificate lasts for five years.
So look even though my piffo doesn’t expire for many months. I’m, actually undertaking the a2 cfc with uav hub because they offer it on demand online for around 100 pounds, and i’m, actually making another video on what’s involved, how hard or easy it is, and specifically What extra flying rights that training will give you anyway? Hopefully i’ll.
Get that video up in the next few days you’ll, be able to see it and work out whether or not the a2 cfc is something you want to do, but look hopefully today’s. Video has expanded on a few things and maybe cheered you up a little bit comment below again.
I always love seeing the comments. I really did my best to answer as many comments as i could last time. There were plenty of comments that came in, but it was good to see a lot of you answering each other’s.
Questions as well always good to share the knowledge, but look um as ever. Give me a little thumbs up share this little video to anyone that’s. Uh flying drones and uh hit little bell notification to get notified when uh the next video comes out, either way more than ever, staying safe and sane.
Hopefully, until next time you have fun and happy flying [, Music ]. Do you