In an effort to stamp down on irresponsible drone flights, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)—which regulates all flights in the UK—has launched a new version of the “Dronecode.”
The Dronecode is a set of rules, regulations, and recommendations originally launched in 2015 that stated drones must stay within sight of the pilot, below an altitude of 400 feet (120 metres), that they must stay away from aircraft and airports, and that operators must use common sense to keep others safe.
However, according to research conducted by the CAA, only 39 percent of drone owners have actually heard of the Dronecode, with only 36 percent being made aware of it at the time of purchase.
To make things a little easier for pilots to remember, the watchdog has come up with a mnemonic aid as follows:
- Don’t fly near airports or airfields
- Remember to stay below 400ft (120m) and at least 150ft (50m) away from buildings and people
- Observe your drone at all times
- Never fly near aircraft
- Enjoy responsibly
While you can’t help but feel the CAA stopped trying by the time it got to the letter “O,” there’s no doubt that some drone pilots could use some common sense.
Earlier this month it emerged that airline pilots reported four near misses with drones in a month, including one flying near London’s Shard and another at Liverpool airport. One pilot even reported he could identify the particular brand of drone that came within 100 meters of the plane because “his son had the very same model.”
Drone crime has also soared in the UK, with police being called in to investigate alleged pedophiles filming playgrounds, high-tech drug-runners trying to smuggle contraband into prisons, and even one occasion when a man was caught filming people at an ATM in Northern Ireland.
Alongside the Dronecode, the CAA and air traffic control body NATS has also launched dronesafe.uk, which includes the regulator’s rules as well as training resources. UK retailer Maplin said it will ensure those that buy drones in the run up to Christmas are aware of the Dronecode at the time of purchase.
This post originated on Ars Technica UK