United Kingdom moves to classify drones as aircrafts

Darnell Taylor
November 7, 2019

Drone users in the United Kingdom must now sit an online test and pay a £9 annual fee or face a £1,000 fine after the launch of a mandatory national registration scheme on Tuesday. As well as registration, anyone flying a drone over 250g must also take an online education and test.

The mandatory requirement to register covers any drone or model aircraft weighing more than 250g (8.8oz).

The regulator said it expects that 90,000 people will be required to register as drone operators under the new rules.

The online test for obtaining the flyer ID involves answering 20 multiple-choice questions.

At the same time, the CAA is starting a service it hopes will reunite owners with their lost drones.

Pilots who lose a drone will be able to record the loss via the CAA's drones-reunited site.

The CAA said anyone who registered their drone would get free access to the service, which issues each device with a unique identification code.

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Most of the lost drone went missing due to damage in flight, the study showed. And in a quarter of cases it's down to pilot error.

If you own a drone, you'll also need an Operator ID, which costs £9 and must be renewed annually.

A CAA spokesman said the site would "give something back to the community, helping responsible drone owners and operators to be reunited with lost drones and continue flying".

United Kingdom ministers have come in for serious criticism for lagging on drone regulations in recent years after a spate of drone sightings at the country's busiest airport grounded flights last December, disrupting thousands of travelers. "Our aim is for the Drones Reunited platform to become an essential service for the drone community - the first port of call for anyone who has lost, or found, a drone".

Registration of drones will cost 9 pounds (11.6 USA dollars) a year and also give access to the Drones Reunited platform which is a new scheme also launched Tuesday.

Days before Christmas, Gatwick airport had to take the unprecedented decision to close its single runway over a three day period, after drones were spotted.

Despite an extensive police search and the use of military systems, as well as £50,000 reward, the unidentified drone operators were not caught.

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