Retail Compass Summer edition 2019

Drone registration and remote pilot competency requirements

Published on 04 July 2019

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will be introducing drone registration and remote pilot competency requirements.

Why does it matter?

For the purposes of this note, ‘drone’ refers to small unmanned aircrafts only and any with a mass of more than 20kg are not covered.

Presently in the UK, drones operated within the restrictions of the Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) for non-commercial or hobby purposes do not require any specific licence or authorisation. Drones for commercial operations do require the permission of the CAA and the ANO defines which drones are captured under this category.

From 30 November 2019, drone operators with a drone weighing more than 250 grams will be required to register online with the CAA – the registration applies to the drone operator, not the drone. Remote pilots will be required to complete an online safety test.

An annual charge to the drone operator of £16.50 has been proposed for the registration scheme and there is no charge for the competency requirements.

There will be EU Regulations that apply from 1 July 2020 and cover various rules for the operation of drones, including the requirement for operators to register in their member state.

An important aspect for retailers to note is that registration and obtaining permission from the CAA are separate matters – retailers must consider both accordingly when using drones for any purpose, be it promotional filming, site investigations or delivery of goods.

What action should you take?

  1. Drone operators should give consideration to the requirements and whether they will need to register – follow the developments of the registration process, which will be released by the CAA closer to the implementation deadline.

  2. Ensure drone operators are trained and have completed the CAA online safety test.

  3. If the drone use constitutes “commercial operations”, consider whether permission from the CAA will be required.