UK introduces drone registration from December 2019

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced mandatory registration comes into force for drones and model aircraft from 30 November 2019. The online system will go live on 5 November and will comprise two elements:

  • Anyone responsible for a drone or unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg and used outdoors will need to register as an operator to obtain an operator ID. Drones or model aircraft have to labelled with an operator ID. The cost for this will be GBP9 renewable annually.
  • Anyone flying a drone or unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg will need to take and pass an online education package. This is free and renewable every three years.

Both of these requirements become law on 30 November 2019. From 5 November 2019 the system will be available at Register-drones.caa.co.uk.

There are no exemptions, everyone must register, including:

  • members of model flying associations
  • operators and flyers who have obtained a permission from the CAA
  • operators and flyers who have registered for any other services.

Flyer ID: Anyone who wants to fly must pass an online theory test on flying safely and legally. The test has 20 multiple choice questions and the pass mark is 16. You can take the test as many times as you need. All of the knowledge needed to pass the test is in a new Drone and Model Aircraft Code. When you pass the test, you’ll get a flyer ID, which acts as your acknowledgement of competency as a remote pilot from the CAA. This is free and lasts for 3 years. There is no minimum age but children under 13 can only register with a parent or guardian present.

Operator ID: Anyone responsible for a drone or model aircraft must register as an operator. 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. You must be aged 18 or over to be an operator. Registration lasts for 1 year and costs GBP9. Registration is only valid in the UK.

For holders of current CAA permissions or exemptions for drone operations (e.g. such as the permission related to commercial operations as required in ANO article 94(5)) and model flyers holding an achievement certificate issued by a UK model aircraft association with a CAA reviewed achievement scheme:

Remote pilots flying in accordance with a permission, exemption or operational authorisation (e.g. such as the permission related to commercial operations as required in ANO article 94(5)) that has been issued to a named UAS operator by the CAA will be exempt from having to undertake the online education training and test.

Similarly, where a UK model aircraft association already has an established and CAA reviewed ‘competency scheme’, members who hold an appropriate achievement certificate or award (such as the BMFA ‘A’ certificate) will also be exempt from having to undertake the online education training and test.

Any operators who are not covered under the conditions of a permission/exemption or do not hold a recognised association competency will need to complete the free online course.

To allow operators to demonstrate competence if challenged (for example by the police) the CAA will be issuing a formal exemption that can be used alongside existing permissions / achievements and any other relevant documents.  This exemption will be in place until 30 June 2020, when new regulations are expected.  We will be working with stakeholders in 2020 to put these into place.

For members of ARPAS-UK, British Model Flying Association (BMFA), Scottish Aeromodellers’ Association (SAA), Large Model Association (LMA) and FPV UK:

Members will not need to register as an operator with the CAA system if they are a current member of these associations. With permission, the associations will collect the registration fee from members directly and supply their data to the CAA. This will take place initially by 31 January 2020 and an exemption from the need to register will be put in place by 30 November to cover association members until then.

The associations are due to issue further detailed guidance to their members in due course via the following websites:

Control line model aircraft flying: The CAA will be issuing an exemption meaning those flying control line model aircraft will not need to comply with the registration or education regulations.

For more information visit:

https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft/Our-role/Drone-and-model-aircraft-registration/

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