Drone and model aircraft registration and education service

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 From 30 November 2019,  Anyone responsible for a drone or unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg needs to register as an operator.  The cost for this is £9 renewable annually.

When you register, you’ll get an operator ID with your certificate of registration. You must display your operator ID on your drones and model aircraft. You can use the same operator ID for all your drones and model aircraft.

Anyone flying a drone or unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg must complete a 20 question multiple choice test every 3 years. This is the Flyer ID

If you have a PfCO, you don’t need to do the 20 question test. but you still need to pay £9 every year to register as an operator.

If you operate your drone you may be subject to a fine if you fail to produce, when requested by a police officer the relevant codes. 


Gatwick Drone Incident

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The Drone incident at Gatwick Airport that caused such chaos, disrupting more than 1000 flights, paralysing the airport at peak travel time just before Christmas continues to baffle police.

Sussex police released a report, detailing the drone activity, confirming that two drones were involved and that the perpetrators had detailed knowledge of the airport.

No arrests have been made and they confirmed that no further enquiries would be pursued as no new information was available.

Following the disturbance, the  government brought in tighter restrictions on drone activity near airports and DJI also updates its geofencing system across Europe.

Enforcing Drone Laws

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Following concerns about risks posed to the public by drones, and the fact that many of the issues surrounding drones are not aviation-related and therefore fall within the remit of other statutory bodies such as the police and emergency services, the DfT , the CAA, the Home Office and Police have developed an MOU to better establish where responsibility lies for enforcing breaches of drone related regulations.

Reading the memorandum, the CAA, Home Office, Police and the DfT will jointly draft and implement legislation, education and share information between the bodies. The Police will assess all drone misuse reports on a Threat, Risk and Harm basis, and investigate those ones deemed to be serious enough.  They will not investigate breaches of the ANO 2009 as these are categorised an non recordable offences, rather they will concentrate on offences where the drone has been used to commit a crime.

The CAA will lead on investigating and prosecuting offences concerning aerial work conducted without CAA permission, controlled airspace breaches and incidents where aircraft or people have not been endangered. They will also lead on investigating and prosecuting drone misuse relating to aviation safety only investigate the most serious offences

You can read the full memorandum here

Royal Wedding Flight Restrictions

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The CAA has posted a Restricted Airspace (Temporary) over the Windsor area for the weekend of the Royal Wedding see http://skywise.caa.co.uk/alert-restricted-airspace-temporary-4/?cat=30.  NATS and Heathrow ATSU will have everything under control from an airline traffic perspective and manned aviation operatives, being in touch with other ATSUs and possibly Heathrow itself, will be made aware of this restriction. Good commercial drone operators, should also realise the RA(T) applies to them and any drone operation as well.  NOTAMs  already appear on websites, so with the RA(T) in place, NATS is very unlikely to sanction any drone operation in the Windsor near or on these dates.

Theres a strong possibility that anti drone technology will be deployed to deal with any unwelcome intrusion from unregulated drone operator gatecrashing the big day…

Lets hope its not needed..

John Moreland, Head of Training, DronePartners

Which Continent Will Lead the $20 Billion Drone Market in 2018?

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A new drone market research report by Research and Markets makes the largest and boldest prediction yet for the drone industry, which the report predicts will exceed $50 billion in the next 7 years.  North America is expected to  lead the market this year, largely due to increased defence expenditures of the US and Canada and the presence of major UAV manufacturers in North America.  The European and Latin American regions are expected to be the new revenue-generating markets for unmanned aerial vehicles,” says the report.

Read the full article here

Why UK Near-Miss Statistics Don’t Tell The Whole Story

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Not as catchy as the recent headline of the Press Association analysis of data from the UK Airport Board, the body responsible for collating and assessing near miss incidents between aircraft in UK airspace.

The headline, understandably, is that reports of near misses between drones and manned aircraft have tripled in the last three years,  which is very worrying but this article from Dronelife looks at the numbers in more depth and concludes with the UK Government’s Drone Bill expected in the coming weeks, realism is required more than ever.

Read the full article here

This drone has an origami arm that unfolds to pick up objects

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“Folding, packaging of everyday things are everywhere,”….“Why not for robots?”
Scientists have created a foldable robotic arm that allows drones to pick up objects inside narrow ditches.The arm, described in a study published today in Science Robotics, is made of seven plastic actuators that look like rectangular boxes stacked up on top of each other and stretching up to 27.5 inches (70 centimeters) in length. But what’s special about the actuators is that they can be folded flat, so that the arm is stowed away. Scientists attached the arm to a drone. When equipped with finger-like grippers, the arm could grab an object at the bottom of a ditch. When equipped with a camera, it could take video among tree branches.

In the future, this robotic arm could help scientists collect samples from crevices or inspect chimneys, pipes, and other narrow spaces

Read the full article here

Droneflight acquires QuestUAV DataHawk PPK Fixed Wing

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L1002278-1As our clients needs have grown in scale and complexity we have invested in a fixed wing drone with PPK capability.  This enables us to undertake much larger surveys with greater efficiency than with a multirotor drone, it also means that we do not have to place ground control points to deliver a very accurate survey.  This is particularly important in situations where access to the survey area is restricted or to reduce the overhead of placing ground control points (GCPs).

When it came to select a fixed wing platform we had a number of key requirements:

  • Accuracy, it had to be able to deliver high quality results using PPK or RTK alone.
  • Flight time, we needed around 40mins.
  • Robustness, fixed wing drones typically have a “tougher life” than multirotors.
  • Real local support, we wanted to work with a company with real expertise in the UK.
  • Capability to operate with smaller take off and landing area.
  • Cost, its always a factor!

We looked at a range of fixed wings some VTOL, some RTK, some really expensive!  In the end it was the QuestUAV DataHawk PPK that met our needs and we found them exceptionally helpful.

For more information on the DataHawk PPK visit QuestUAV’s website.


Thinking of starting a Drone Operator business? – Read this first!

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As a new year begins and many people consider a career change a Drone Market Sector Report for 2017 has been published by Skylogic Research, LLC based on data collected from 2,600 respondents in 60 countries worldwide.  Some key statistics include:

  • Nearly 80% of operators only complete between one and five operations per month, and
  • 85% of these operators make less than $50,000 (£45,000) gross per annum

This doesn’t come as news to people in the field, Its the same with any new business venture, it can be a hard slog getting established, and if you are thinking of a career change make sure you talk to people who will help you with top quality training, and make the most of what you can leverage from your existing network and experience.

Links: www.droneanalyst.com, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/skylogic-research-report-unveils-drone-industry-market-share-figures-300520971.html

John Moreland, Head of Assessment, DronePartners