Flying a drone is brilliant fun, but did you know they also have so many practical uses, from policing to filming TV shows and movies and even delivering mail and medicines (maybe even pizzas one day!) You might even become a professional drone pilot, provided you work hard at your STEM subjects, of course!
Just like any other aircraft, it’s essential that drones and RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) are operated safely to prevent harm to the pilot, to people on the ground and other airspace users.
When flown within the rules and regulations, drones are a very versatile and useful tool, so it’s vital the guidelines, and our Civil Aviation Authority Drone and Model Aircraft Code are followed. If you have a drone, have fun but remember to use it responsibly! There’s more about drone safety below, but these are the key things to remember when flying outside;
• Never fly more than 120m (400ft) above the surface
• Always keep your drone or model aircraft in sight
• Never fly in or around an airport and its flight restriction zone unless you have permission
• Always respect people’s privacy. They may not like it if you’re hovering over their garden!
Our role in drone safety
Our job here at the Civil Aviation Authority is to keep people safe whether they are using our UK airspace or are down on the ground.
To do that, we regulate the aviation industry, including airlines, pilots, aircraft manufacturers, engineers, air traffic controllers, aerodromes, in fact, everything that uses the sky or is connected to aviation.
With more and more people using drones for fun and for business, our airspace is busier than ever before, so it’s really important we ensure they are used safely. It’s likely more and more flights will be remotely piloted and even pilotless in the future too.
People using a drone weighing over 250g need to register as a pilot with us, pass a flying test and get a pilot ID, all of which is free and can be done online. Even if people are using a drone under 250g, taking the flying test mean they’ll be up to date on all the safety measures and rules.
A drone pilot’s licence is a pretty neat thing to have too!
Our regulations are all based on risk categories covering where and how people use their drones, in the countryside, in urban areas or whether they are using heavier, more commercial drones.
Everything you need to know is in our Civil Aviation Authority Drone and Model Aircraft Code.
Current careers & future roles
There are so many amazing jobs in aviation, and becoming a professional drone pilot is certainly an exciting one.
You could be working for the police or emergency services to help find missing people or tracking down suspects. You might be using your drone skills for TV shows or delivering vital products to people directly to their homes. Drone images and film can be useful for surveyors and planners too.
To get a job flying drones, you’ll need great STEM skills, and many employers will want you to have at least 40 hours’ worth of recorded drone flying experience.
We also offer training here at the CAA, and our courses cover everything you need to know, including air regulations, safety, flight planning and practical flying skills.
You could even end up working for us and be involved in making sure drones are tested and used safely.
With more and more drone flights happening every day, it’s an exciting time to take to the skies.
Whatever you do, have fun, be safe and work hard at your STEM subjects!
The international civil aviation authority – the CAA works really closely with ICAO to ensure the safe global adoption of new aviation technologies.