Are You Aware Of The Drone Code?

By Caroline Schmidt. Posted

Drones are no longer the unregulated novelty of many enthusiast photographers, there are rules and regulations you have to abide by. In our new series detailing the hows, wheres and whys of drone photography – starting in our October issue, on sale now! – we cover why the rules are extremely important to follow and what they actually are. After all, lives can depend on them, not to mention that some drone offences carry large fines. If you're thinking of taking your drone out for a flight this weekend, how about taking five minutes to recap on the rules and regulations ( – but here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about safe drone use:


1. Performed pre-flight checks

A pre-flight check of battery levels, propellers and the airframe of the drone is essential before each flight to check the level of charge and for damage.

2. What’s the maximum flight altitude and distance?

Your drone must always remain in unaided visual line of sight and fly no more than an altitude of 400ft (120m) and a distance of 500m (1640ft).

3. How close can you fly to people and property?

For people and properties, it’s 150ft (50m) and for crowds and built-up areas it’s 500ft (150m). For the latter, you can’t fly above the area.

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4. How close to airports can you fly?

There’s an exclusion zone (restricted airspace) of 2-2.5 nautical miles around aerodromes, with a 5km long and 1km wide exclusion at each end of each runway.

5. How do you know if you're in restricted airspace?

Use an app such as NATS Drone Assist or AirMap to ensure you’re not in restricted airspace such as too close to an airport, military installation or critical infrastructure. You can fly in restricted airspace if you have permission from the air traffic control unit (ATC) of the relevant airport, but without this do not fly!

For more information on drone photography, safety and techniques check out the latest issue of Digital SLR Photography in stores now (or subscribe here) for the first 10-page installment in our new series.


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