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New regulation requires drone pilots to register and pass test before end of November

The Civil Aviation Authority has launched a new Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Service, heralding new conditions requiring drone pilots to register as an operator and pass an “online education package”.

Any “drone” or “unmanned aircraft” weighing between 250g and 20kg must be registered with the CAA before 30 November 2019.

The regulation applies to drones flown outdoors and has three main requirements. Operators must:

  • pass an online test to get a flyer ID if they want to fly a drone or model aircraft
  • register for an operator ID if they are responsible for a drone or model aircraft
  • label any drones and model aircraft they are responsible for with their operator ID.

The online test in which one must score 16 out 20 to pass asks questions on The Drone and Model Aircraft Code and can be retaken multiple times.

A ‘flyer ID’ will be given to those who pass. Owners of a drone must register for a second ID (an “operator ID”) which must be displayed on the aircraft itself and is only available to those 18 and over.

The CAA’s website notes that the operator ID must be:

  • Visible without needing a special tool to remove or open part of your aircraft;
  • Clear and in block capitals taller than 3mm;
  • Secure and safe from damage;
  • On the main body of the aircraft;
  • Easy to read when the aircraft is on the ground.

Registering as an operator with the CAA comes at a charge of £9 and has to be renewed annually. The online test, needed to receive a flyer ID, is free to take and expires every three years.

Giving “guidance on flying safely and legally” underpins the new regulations, according to the CAA but the new requirements have been criticised by some.

Simon Dale, chief executive at FPV UK, said that: “Registration will do nothing to improve safety or security because bad actors will not register their drones”.

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