After fiasco at Gatwick Airport, where all flights were suspended five days before Christmas after staff saw drones flying close to the airfield, Drones will now have to register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) if they weigh 250g and upwards.

The issue with drones

In recent years, drones have become increasingly popular and cheaper. However, new laws came into force in July 2018; which banned drones flying anywhere in the UK above 400ft and flying within 1km of airport boundaries, there has been multiple cases of them illegally coming close to aircraft. Last year, the Department for Transport (DfT) found that a drone weighing 400g could smash a helicopter, while a drone weighing 2kg could critically damage a passenger aircraft’s windscreen.

Drone manufacturers have attempted to combat this issue. Commercial drones, used in drone wedding photography, have a GPS which sends an alert if the device breaches those limits and stops it functioning. However, many people make their own drones which will not have these systems fitted, as well as shop-bought devices being hacked so the limits can be breached.

Should drones be banned?

In 2018, there were 117 near-misses between planes and drones. In October, a drone reportedly put 130 lives at risk after nearly hitting an aircraft approaching Gatwick. While drones won’t be banned, the DfT are considering introducing an age restriction to ban children owning drones weighing more than 250g.

Advice for drone enthusiasts?

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and air traffic control body – National Air Traffic Service, have developed the Drone Assist app to help individuals understand their responsibilities. In light of recent events, The CAA has also issued the following advice:

– Always keep your drone in sight

– Always keep your drone within the legal limit of 400ft

– Follow the manufacturer’s instructions

– Keep a safe distance from people and poverty

– Stay away from aircraft, airports and airfields

– Ensure images do not break privacy laws

Here at Abraxas, Bedfordshire wedding photographer and videographer, drone safety is at the heart of all of our projects. If having a drone is important to your wedding photography package, we advise you to leave it to the professionals to ensure you are in compliance with aviation law. For more information about our drone wedding video or photography, get in touch with our expert team today.

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