Incomming laws for the UK?

coldpenguin

Standard Member
Is There anyone with knowledge of how likely the incoming laws for the UK are likely to remain unchanged?

I have been wanting to get a 'decent' drone, with a couple of specific features. I have some amazon vouchers to spend too, so price is kinda non-negotiable.

I wanted decent quality video, and the ability to do a GPS track through an APP. This has lead me to sifting down to the HS720 drone, at ~£330 (more than my vouchers :( )

However, I then started looking at where/whether I could fly it OK. There is an RAF base not too far from my old house, but the restricted zone is no-where near me now.
I have to register as a flyer, and pay the yearly tax to own the drone. Hmm, OK.

But then I notice that there are some new laws for the EU on the horizon, which it appears the CAA are considering.
This means that drones have to be made to certain standards. OK.
Any drone which is OLD (i.e. bought now) can be flown in a legacy class. Hmmm.

These legacy drones can only be flown until July 2022 in category A1. But then
"- No uninvolved people present within the area of flight
- No flight within 150m horizontally of residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas
"

I don't know anywhere apart from private brownfield land which could satisfy these requirements?

After this date it appears that no drone which is not classed as a either (a TOY or built from scratch) and under 250G will be LEGAL to fly in the UK unless it was marked at point of manufacture with a CE label and drone CLASS.

As the HS720 is >250g <500g, this would mean I could no longer fly it. I have tried to contact the manufacturer to ask whether they are seeking CE markings (for most manufacturing CE is self-certified, and thus can be obtained reasonably easily in many cases), but have not had a response.
This would mean that many mavics etc. flown today would probably be flown 'illegally' too.


Thoughts?
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Noticed your thread hasn’t had any replies, I don’t think this really a well used sub forums.

However, have you found out any more since posting?

I really would like to get the Mavic Air 2, but this new legislation is concerning. I’m still trying to pick it all apart, but from what I can tell, in the near future it will be virtually impossible to fly it legally unless I gain a qualification that costs £250. Even then, what can be done it still fairly limited.

It’s all a bit confusing if I’m honest.
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
I’ve done some ‘research’ and posted my thoughts in Mavic Air 2 - yay or nay?.

In a nutshell I have gone from just hovering over the ‘buy now’ button, to ‘I wouldn’t touch the Mavic Air 2 with a barge pole’ right now.

Shame because it’s otherwise a truly incredible bit of kit.

Hopefully DJI release an updated version that you will be able to fly in places other than the moon from 2022 onwards.
 

coldpenguin

Standard Member
Hi, yeah It is kind of my thoughts on the HS720 too. I guess you have seen the CAA's document from April 29th? https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP1789 April 2020.pdf
Some people were 'suggesting' they have 'read' information that this is not going to happen, but wouldn't give any information as to where they had seen this.
The update above, being just over 3 weeks old would seem to suggest it is still going ahead.
I think for a lot of the manufacturers, drones like the mavic air 2 should be relatively simply to class as C1, so lets hops.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Reading through the guidance the restrictions currently in place - not flying in or over a congested area will remain in place indefinitely for drones purchased before the new categorisations come into force.

What is being allowed under the new regs is closer interaction with people if the drone is suitably equipped and protected. This is likely to require protected props and soft casework - along with advanced collision protection, so it's doubtful many current drones would meet the spec.

Given the expected life of a drone is about 2-3 years, just buy a current drone, register correctly to fly it and find some nice remote areas to learn how to do so safely. Once the new regs come into force you can then purchase a new drone that will allow you to fly closer to people.

Restricted airspace is unlikely to change and is likely to cover most larger cities, so you still won't be allowed to fly over Buckingham Palace or the local RAF base, but taking a few shots of your friends on the beach or in your back garden will be permitted.
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Reading through the guidance the restrictions currently in place - not flying in or over a congested area will remain in place indefinitely for drones purchased before the new categorisations come into force.

What is being allowed under the new regs is closer interaction with people if the drone is suitably equipped and protected. This is likely to require protected props and soft casework - along with advanced collision protection, so it's doubtful many current drones would meet the spec.

Given the expected life of a drone is about 2-3 years, just buy a current drone, register correctly to fly it and find some nice remote areas to learn how to do so safely. Once the new regs come into force you can then purchase a new drone that will allow you to fly closer to people.

Restricted airspace is unlikely to change and is likely to cover most larger cities, so you still won't be allowed to fly over Buckingham Palace or the local RAF base, but taking a few shots of your friends on the beach or in your back garden will be permitted.

No, that’s not quite correct. The drones won’t need prop guards or softer casing. The Mavic air 2 is (was) absolutely certifiable as a C2 drone for A1 and A2 flying. In fact ironically the prop guards take the Mavic Mini over 250gm, and thus will only be allowed in the A3 category.

Airspace like airports is always going to be restricted for obvious reasons, but under the new regulations drones with the correct certifications can fly as close to road and building as they like. Legacy drones over 250g we have to stay away from town, villages and even parks (recreational area).

This guy explains things fairly well, well worth a watch...



 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
The Mavic air 2 is (was) absolutely certifiable as a C2 drone for A1 and A2 flying.
What's your evidence for this? The draft regulations state "designed and constructed so as to minimise injury to people " as a minimum, along with specific requirements around the force that can be transmitted to a head.

It's highly unlikely that any drone with unprotected props could be considered to be designed to minimise injury - unless some other form of mitigation is provided. This is mentioned specifically in the regulations.

The full list of requirements is below. Just see how many of these you can tick off for any current drone, including things like sharp edges being protected, electronic ID transmission, geoawreness lighting etc.

A class C1 UAS shall:
1. be made of materials and have performance and physical characteristics such as to ensure that in the event of an impact at terminal velocity with a human head, the energy transmitted to the human head is less than 80 J, or, as an alternative, the UAS shall have an MTOM, including payload, of less than 900 g;
2. have a maximum speed in level flight of 19 m/s;
3. have a maximum attainable height above the take-off point limited to 120 m or be equipped with a system that limits the height above the surface or above the take-off point to a value selectable by the remote pilot; in the latter case, clear information about the height of the UA above the surface or take-off point during flight shall be provided to the remote pilot;
4. be designed and manufactured in such a way as to fly safely;
5. be safely controllable by a pilot following the manufacturer’s instructions;
6. have the requisite mechanical strength and, where appropriate, stability to withstand any stress to which it is subjected during use without any breakage or deformation that might interfere with its safe flight;
7. be designed and constructed in such a way as to minimise injury to persons or damage to property during operation; sharp edges shall be avoided; if equipped with propellers, they shall be designed in such a way as to limit any injury that may be inflicted by the propeller blades;
8. in case of a loss of data link, have a reliable and predictable method for the UA to recover or terminate the flight in a way that reduces the effect on third parties in the air or on the ground;
9. have a sound pressure level not exceeding 60 dB(A) (measured at a 3-m distance from the UA);
10. if powered by electricity, the nominal voltage shall not exceed 24 V DC or the equivalent AC voltage; its accessible parts shall not exceed 24 V DC or the equivalent AC voltage; internal voltages shall not exceed 24 V DC or the equivalent AC voltage unless it is ensured that the voltage and current combination generated does not lead to any risk or harmful electric shock even when the UAS is damaged;
11. have an electronic identification system that shall: (a) allow the user to insert the 10-digit UAS operator registration number; (b) provide in real time during the whole duration of the flight the following information through electronic data: (i) UAS operator registration number; (ii) the unique serial number of the UA or the add-on; EN 35 EN (iii) geographical position of the UA, its height and associated time; and (iv) geographical position of the UA take-off point; (c) the information shall be protected against unauthorised modification;
12. be equipped with a geo-awareness system that provides: (a) an interface to load and update data containing information on airspace limitations, as defined by Regulation (EU) …/… [IR], which ensures that the process of loading or updating of such data does not degrade its integrity and validity; (b) a warning alert when a potential breach of airspace limitations is detected; and (c) information on its status as well as a warning alert when the positioning or navigation of the UA cannot ensure the proper functioning of the system;
13. if the UA has a function that limits its access to certain airspace areas or volumes, this function shall operate in such a manner that it interacts smoothly with the flight control system of the UA without adversely affecting flight safety; in addition, clear information shall be provided to the remote pilot when the UA flight control system is automatically engaged to keep the UA out of these areas;
14. provide the remote pilot with clear warning when the battery of the UA or its control station reaches a low level such that the remote pilot has sufficient time to safely land the UA;
15. be equipped with lights that cannot be confused with the navigation lights of a manned aircraft as required for controllability: (a) in daylight conditions; (b) during night, if designed for night operation;
16. if equipped with a follow-me mode, when this function is on, keep a distance not exceeding 50 m from the remote pilot, and allow the remote pilot to regain control of the UA or to activate an emergency procedure that terminates the flight;
17. have a unique serial number that must be affixed in a legible manner on the UA and the packaging or the user’s manual;
18. be placed on the market with a user’s manual providing the characteristics of the UA (including but not limited to the mass of the UA, its MTOM, including its payload, the frequency of the electronic identification emission, the general characteristics of allowed payloads in terms of mass and dimensions, a description of the behaviour of the UA in case of a loss of data link), clear operational instructions, troubleshooting procedures and operational limitations (including but not limited to meteorological conditions and day/night operations) as well as an appropriate description of all the risks related to UAS operations;
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
What's your evidence for this? The draft regulations state "designed and constructed so as to minimise injury to people " as a minimum, along with specific requirements around the force that can be transmitted to a head.

It's highly unlikely that any drone with unprotected props could be considered to be designed to minimise injury - unless some other form of mitigation is provided. This is mentioned specifically in the regulations.

The full list of requirements is below. Just see how many of these you can tick off for any current drone, including things like sharp edges being protected, electronic ID transmission, geoawreness lighting etc.

A class C1 UAS shall:
1. be made of materials and have performance and physical characteristics such as to ensure that in the event of an impact at terminal velocity with a human head, the energy transmitted to the human head is less than 80 J, or, as an alternative, the UAS shall have an MTOM, including payload, of less than 900 g;
2. have a maximum speed in level flight of 19 m/s;
3. have a maximum attainable height above the take-off point limited to 120 m or be equipped with a system that limits the height above the surface or above the take-off point to a value selectable by the remote pilot; in the latter case, clear information about the height of the UA above the surface or take-off point during flight shall be provided to the remote pilot;
4. be designed and manufactured in such a way as to fly safely;
5. be safely controllable by a pilot following the manufacturer’s instructions;
6. have the requisite mechanical strength and, where appropriate, stability to withstand any stress to which it is subjected during use without any breakage or deformation that might interfere with its safe flight;
7. be designed and constructed in such a way as to minimise injury to persons or damage to property during operation; sharp edges shall be avoided; if equipped with propellers, they shall be designed in such a way as to limit any injury that may be inflicted by the propeller blades;
8. in case of a loss of data link, have a reliable and predictable method for the UA to recover or terminate the flight in a way that reduces the effect on third parties in the air or on the ground;
9. have a sound pressure level not exceeding 60 dB(A) (measured at a 3-m distance from the UA);
10. if powered by electricity, the nominal voltage shall not exceed 24 V DC or the equivalent AC voltage; its accessible parts shall not exceed 24 V DC or the equivalent AC voltage; internal voltages shall not exceed 24 V DC or the equivalent AC voltage unless it is ensured that the voltage and current combination generated does not lead to any risk or harmful electric shock even when the UAS is damaged;
11. have an electronic identification system that shall: (a) allow the user to insert the 10-digit UAS operator registration number; (b) provide in real time during the whole duration of the flight the following information through electronic data: (i) UAS operator registration number; (ii) the unique serial number of the UA or the add-on; EN 35 EN (iii) geographical position of the UA, its height and associated time; and (iv) geographical position of the UA take-off point; (c) the information shall be protected against unauthorised modification;
12. be equipped with a geo-awareness system that provides: (a) an interface to load and update data containing information on airspace limitations, as defined by Regulation (EU) …/… [IR], which ensures that the process of loading or updating of such data does not degrade its integrity and validity; (b) a warning alert when a potential breach of airspace limitations is detected; and (c) information on its status as well as a warning alert when the positioning or navigation of the UA cannot ensure the proper functioning of the system;
13. if the UA has a function that limits its access to certain airspace areas or volumes, this function shall operate in such a manner that it interacts smoothly with the flight control system of the UA without adversely affecting flight safety; in addition, clear information shall be provided to the remote pilot when the UA flight control system is automatically engaged to keep the UA out of these areas;
14. provide the remote pilot with clear warning when the battery of the UA or its control station reaches a low level such that the remote pilot has sufficient time to safely land the UA;
15. be equipped with lights that cannot be confused with the navigation lights of a manned aircraft as required for controllability: (a) in daylight conditions; (b) during night, if designed for night operation;
16. if equipped with a follow-me mode, when this function is on, keep a distance not exceeding 50 m from the remote pilot, and allow the remote pilot to regain control of the UA or to activate an emergency procedure that terminates the flight;
17. have a unique serial number that must be affixed in a legible manner on the UA and the packaging or the user’s manual;
18. be placed on the market with a user’s manual providing the characteristics of the UA (including but not limited to the mass of the UA, its MTOM, including its payload, the frequency of the electronic identification emission, the general characteristics of allowed payloads in terms of mass and dimensions, a description of the behaviour of the UA in case of a loss of data link), clear operational instructions, troubleshooting procedures and operational limitations (including but not limited to meteorological conditions and day/night operations) as well as an appropriate description of all the risks related to UAS operations;

My ‘evidence’ for this comes from listing to experts who have discussed the subject. I’m always sceptical about what I read online and see on YouTube, so it’s not really ‘evidence’ as such, but I’m taking about professionals who run CAA registered training courses, including one that I know trains police drone operators.

It seems like you have assumed that a drone won’t be considered safe without prop guards, then paste the list that doesn’t include prop guards.Also, we are not talking about C1 anyway. C2 can be flown in A2, provided you have a CoC.

Apparently the MA2 does indeed meet the requirements. Even DJi said it did and was confident of retrospective certification, only to be told publicly be the CAA that wouldn’t happen.

But it is confusing, so maybe your interpretation is better mate. I’m not professing to be an expert by any means.


I ordered a Mavic Mini today, as it’s below 250gm and can be flown in the A1 category indefinitely, although I will be looking to upgrade to a bigger drone at some point :D
 
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coldpenguin

Standard Member
What's your evidence for this? The draft regulations state "designed and constructed so as to minimise
...

The full list of requirements is below. Just see how many of these you can tick off for any current drone,
...
My understanding of the mavic, the only ones which should be an issue would be
2? This can be set in software I believe, but overridden, perhaps you are not allowed ot override.
7, without guards,
9,
11 - telemetry doesn't include the UAS number at the moment?
18

So doesn't seem too bad really.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I think paragraph 7. be designed and constructed in such a way as to minimise injury to persons or damage to property during operation; sharp edges shall be avoided; if equipped with propellers, they shall be designed in such a way as to limit any injury that may be inflicted by the propeller blades;

Is the crux of the matter. Either you fit some sort of guard, make the props from a soft deformable material or perhaps use some form of electronic mitigation that stops them spinning before they are likely to hit someone. There's no doubt other options available, but doing nothing to current designs is unlikely to meet the requirements. So far as I am aware, none of the DJI products can currently transmit the required "Squawk" in a recognised format. I think they were somewhat premature stating that their drones would achieve the standard - particularly as they are still at the draft stage.

C2 is just as restrictive as C1, but with the added information on tethered craft used for long term operations. The chances are most consumer drones will fall into C1 as will be under 900g.

You will need CoC for all operations in A1 or A2 unless you have a micro drone of less than 250g. As this needs to be completed "At a test centre" I think we can expect a not insignificant charge for this... I would imagine that liability insurance will probably be more expensive for this category should you choose to take it out.

Quite how this is all going to be enforced is another matter. How will Mr Plod know whether your drone meets the standard unless you land it for inspection? If a member of the public complains it will be even more difficult.

If you are having trouble sleeping, the draft regulations in full are here: https://www.easa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/dfu/DRAFT COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) ...-... on making available on the market of unmanned aircraft....pdf
 
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Autopilot

Distinguished Member
I think paragraph 7. be designed and constructed in such a way as to minimise injury to persons or damage to property during operation; sharp edges shall be avoided; if equipped with propellers, they shall be designed in such a way as to limit any injury that may be inflicted by the propeller blades;

Is the crux of the matter. Either you fit some sort of guard, make the props from a soft deformable material or perhaps use some form of electronic mitigation that stops them spinning before they are likely to hit someone. There's no doubt other options available, but doing nothing to current designs is unlikely to meet the requirements. So far as I am aware, none of the DJI products can currently transmit the required "Squawk" in a recognised format. I think they were somewhat premature stating that their drones would achieve the standard - particularly as they are still at the draft stage.

C2 is just as restrictive as C1, but with the added information on tethered craft used for long term operations. The chances are most consumer drones will fall into C1 as will be under 900g.

You will need CoC for all operations in A2. As this needs to be completed "At a test centre" I think we can expect a not insignificant charge for this... I would imagine that liability insurance will probably be more expensive for this category should you choose to take it out.

Quite how this is all going to be enforced is another matter. How will Mr Plod know whether your drone meets the standard unless you land it for inspection? If a member of the public complains it will be even more difficult.

If you are having trouble sleeping, the draft regulations in full are here: https://www.easa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/dfu/DRAFT COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) ...-... on making available on the market of unmanned aircraft....pdf

I completely see where you are coming from. But they would have stipulated prop guards if that’s what was required, and are you saying every drone certified for A1 and A2 flying will require prop guards? My understanding is that there already exists ways to minimise the risk, the main one being the emergency propellor stop feature the Air 2 has.

But at the end of the day, they don’t need to be permanent. You could just clip them on for flying in A2 ‘near to people’ situations.

As for CofC, I’m certain I have read that’s it’s been changed now, I believe so it is not a requirement to be at a test centre. No biggie if it is. It will cost about £200, but a lot of people (me included) would be happy with that if already spending hundreds, for the extra abilities I would give.

As for the police, if there was any suspicion it was unlawful, they could just seize it and check with someone who knows. I guess this is only likely in circumstances where people have been hurt, damage done, or messing around at airports and other restricted space, or more serious offences have been committed. The new legislation bill gives police a power of entry to seize the drone, which is why ID broadcast is going to be required to find out who’s drone it was. It’s not going to be difficult to deal with. Where it becomes tricky is if they are strict liability offences, as they talk about ‘unintentional’ flying over people. If you just fly over someone, how do you prove intent? Yet with strict liability offences (like speeding), you don’t need intent. Not sure who that’s going to work, but that’s anything thing altogether really.
 
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coldpenguin

Standard Member

Those are the 'european' ones. They are not 'legal' as such. They have to be translated into local laws/regulations, which are the CAA ones I posted earlier: https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP1789 April 2020.pdf
I think this is also where some of the confusion comes in, in that each member state takes its guidance from the EASA, but ultimately has to write their own interpretation.

For the competency test, it needed to be done at a recognised establishment. When I originally looked at this the CAA had it written, this included BMFA tests, which could be significantly 'cheaper' if you have a BMFA site near you. It would also mean though that you could fly at the BMFA site :)
 

coldpenguin

Standard Member
As for the police, if there was any suspicion it was unlawful, they could just seize it and check with someone who knows.
...
...
Yet with strict liability offences (like speeding), you don’t need intent. Not sure who that’s going to work, but that’s anything thing altogether really.
Offence would also include suspicion of invading someone's privacy. This is why any drone with a camera comes under the must be registered in the new world.
It is difficult for them there, they have the right to view any images that have been taken, but may not delete any (although they can ask you to delete them). You don't have to just show them the images though, but if you don't then they have powers to take the item if the suspicion is strong enough (i.e. they feel they can later justify it without getting in a lot of trouble). Unless they seize the item storing the image, at which point at the end of the seizure, they may delete them. But ultimately they won't want to make a seizure unless they have to.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
@coldpenguin , the document you mention references the EU-UAS document I linked to, as it forms the basis of the UK regs. The UK is not deviating from these regs, but has changed some terminology and and exercises its rights with some options such as minimum age.

I understand that as the BMFA fly exclusively at A3 - far from people sites, they would only host the suggested practical aspect of the training. The CoC has to be completed online in a recognised training centre, so this is more likely to be a secure training or testing environment such as a driving theory test centre.
 

coldpenguin

Standard Member
Sorry, didn't see your response.
Yes, you are right, the document references the EU-UAS, but this is the basis, BUT, does not form the legal definition within the UK, that requires a UK law (as with all EU states). The idea of the EU-UAS document is to provide a 'consistent' basis for all of the member state laws. It is pedantic, but necessary to understand that the CAA document is closer to the UK law than the EU-UAS document is likely to be. That is unless there is a specific delegated regulation, such as "Delegated Regulation 2019/945 on product and manufacturing standards – which will both form part of retained EU law at the end of the transition period."

For interest, I found this today, parliaments response

to quote from: "
The Government is clear that our future relationship with the EU must not entail application of EU law in the UK. Participation in the EASA system is incompatible with this stance. We propose agreeing a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement with the EU to minimise regulatory burdens for industry.

The CAA currently regulates aviation safety in the UK and will continue to do so after the transition period by taking on some EASA responsibilities. UK"

RE: BMFA, from what I read previously, there were some mutterings about if people had done the A2 qualification (or equiv. ), then they would be considered competent enough to be considered CoC. This may have fallen by the wayside.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Yes, I wouldn't disagree that the BMFA quali is probably superior to the suggested drone test in terms of flying ability, but I think it's the understanding of the various drone specific regulations that might possibly be lacking.

I don't have much to do with the BMFA - other than knowing a few flyers who are members - and none of them fly drones. None of them have any clue about the regulations relating to drones, but can fly a turbine F16 model with superb control within inches of the ground!
 

coldpenguin

Standard Member
but I think it's the understanding of the various drone specific regulations that might possibly be lacking.
I think that the problem is that the way these are worded they are not specific to drones :(
The sensible stuff would be covered by the BMFA test anyway. i.e. don't fly near people, don't take off within 30 metres of people not involved.
 

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