On their website today, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announces new drone and model aircraft registration and education service that will come into effect and law on November 30, 2019, in the UK. Any drone pilot or operator flying a drone between 250 grams (0.55 lbs) and 20 kilograms (88 lbs) will need to register as an operator. The registration will need to be renewed every year for a cost of £9 or almost $12 USD.

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Drone and model aircraft registration and education service

Registration mandatory from: 30 November 2019. The UK’s new Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Scheme will go live on 5 November 2019 (please note that you cannot register before this date). There will be two elements to the online system.

Anyone responsible for a drone or unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg will need to register as an operator. The cost for this will be £9 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.

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 will issue further detailed guidance to their members in due course.

Please see the following websites for more details:

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.

About the new regulations

The new regulations apply to drones and model aircraft from 250g to 20kg that are used outdoors.

There are three main requirements.

You must:

  • pass an online test to get a flyer ID if you want to fly a drone or model aircraft
  • register for an operator ID if you’re responsible for a drone or model aircraft
  • label any drones and model aircraft you’re responsible for with your operator ID.

Why we’re using the term drones and model aircraft

Users of the new registration service range from experts to newcomers of all ages. In research, we found that using the description drones and model aircraft reflects the terms naturally used by the service’s users.

Who must register

As 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.

Minimum age: None, but children under 13 can only register with a parent or guardian present Registration period: 3 years Fee: Free

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.

Minimum age: 18 Registration period: 1 year Fee: Currently under consultation

Online and offline service

People will be able to register and take the test online at the new service. There will be a link to the new service from caa.co.uk

An offline service will be available for people unable to register online.

Using a drone or model aircraft abroad

UK registration is not valid outside the UK.

People will need to check with the relevant authority in their destination country for details of local requirements for flying drones and model aircraft.

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