UK drone pilots have 25 days to register with the civil aviation authority. The drone users must give an online test and pay an annual fee of £9 or face a fine of £1000 after the launch of a mandatory national registration scheme on Tuesday.
The drone users are given the deadline until 30th November to label and identify all the drones that are in use. They are required to pass the test to ensure the safe and legal usage of the drone. The UK government had introduced this initiative two years ago. These rules apply to drones that weigh between 250g to 20 kilograms. If the owners don’t register their drones, they will be charged with the fine.
Another reason why civil aviation authority has issued this scheme is that they will find the drones that have been lost and return them to their owners. Registration makes it easier to locate and return drones that get lost. In fact, the civil aviation authority will have a site for dealing with the lost drones. According to the research conducted by the civil aviation authority, one-fourth of the drone owners have lost their drones at some point. They go missing during flight, or due to malfunction, battery drainage, loss of signal or technical failures. But the majority of the cases are usually the lack of experience and expertise of the drone users.
Once registered, if a pilot does lose a drone, then they can get in touch with the civil aviation authority for finding their lost drone. Any drone carrying its ID number can be identified and notified on the site. Registered drone owners must be over 18, and they need to get their operator ID. People over the age of 13 and over can obtain flyer ID, and it is up to the people holding operator ID to make sure all the flyers have their flyer ID. Not all owners have to register by the end of November. Some associations have been exempted like:
- Scottish aero modelers’ Association
- UK drone association
- Large Model association
- FPV UK
- British Model Flying Association
People who have drones or people wanting to buy one are required to pass the theory test to fly these drones themselves. They need to gain the ID for flying the drone by 30th November. Even the people who wish to fly a drone that is not owned by them need a flyer ID. The civil aviation authority estimates that the number of people that might register would be close to 130,000. Each and every drone will be labeled with a unique license number. Initially, the drones need to be on the ground to be identified, but soon, all of them will be able to transmit their ID number whilst in air.
The lack of drone regulations has led to some serious criticisms for the UK ministers. There were a lot of drone sightings last year at the country’s busiest airports in December. This caused unnecessary disruptions for thousands of travelers. These unidentified drones waltz into airports, which only delays the flights.
The prolonged Gatwick Airport shut down was caused by two drones. The whole Gatwick suspension prompted the government to strengthen the laws of drone flights around the airports. The no-fly zone radius was increased.
While pilots like Rob Hunter encouraged the launch of drone registration by saying this is a good measure to encourage the responsible operation of drones so that collision between a drone and an aircraft is avoided. Whereas Simon Dale, the chief executive of FPV UK, had apprehensions about the registration scheme, so he opposes it, even though his Association has been given the exemption. Simon Dale believes that registration will do nothing to help improve safety or security because not everyone will register, especially people who break the law. He actively chooses to oppose the registration and believes it will be scrapped soon.