(Cybertech) – Today marks a pretty big cut-off in the UK’s progress on drone regulations. It’s the deadline that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has set for members of the public to register any drones they own that weigh more than 250g.
In order to fly drones of that type in the UK, the drone operator will, from 30 November onwards, have to be aged 18 or over, and will need to have paid their registration fee – an annual charge of £9.
That’s hardly big money, so shouldn’t exactly deter people from registering. However, the CAA estimates that so far only around 50,000 out of the country’s 130,000 drone users have actually registered. Failing to register and continuing to use drones over the weight limit could result in a fine of £1,000.
That 250g weight cut-off covers the majority of consumer drones of any decent quality, so if you own a drone there’s a good chance you need to register it. For example, even the DJI Spark, a model specifically designed for portability and small form-factor, weighs 300g.
That said, it’s clear that DJI saw these regulations coming a mile off. It just released the DJI Mavic Mini, which weighs in at exactly 249g, just under the minimum requirements. It’s shouted about this plenty, too – it’s a full-on marketing point for the drone. It’ll be interesting to see how long these new CAA requirements remain in their current form, therefore.
The UK is still in the process of putting measures in place to try to avoid chaos like that caused at Gatwick last year by apparent drone sightings near runways. The police have more power to seize drones than previously, while it’s hoped that this registration push will also regulate the sector. Time will tell whether it’s effective or not. You should register by the end of today if the restrictions apply to you.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills.