BALPA is the professional association and registered trade union established to represent the interests of all UK pilots
Rich Sims
BALPA Member
Many of us will be lucky enough to receive a drone for the first time this Christmas but knowing the rules surrounding drones has never been particularly simple.  On top of that we’ve had many changes over the last couple of years, the latest of which was this month!  If this is your first time owning/operating a drone, then have a quick read as I try and simplify the rules a bit and point you in the right direction. I’ve put a checklist at the end to play to your comfort zone.
  • Read the manual.  I know it’s a bit of a ‘busman’s holiday’ but read the manual and gets to know the functionality and the limitations of the drone.
  • If you’ve got a drone with a camera on it (most have) and it’s going to be flown out doors then you need to visit the CAA website and get yourself a Flyer I.D. and an Operator I.D.  This won’t take too long and introduces you to the basics of drone flying. Register and take the test to fly | UK Civil Aviation Authority (
At the time of writing, the Flyer ID is free, and the Operator ID is £10. You need to display the Operator I.D. on the drone. Note: there are other similar apps available.
Drone Assist
Note: there are other similar apps available.
  • If you’re new to drone flying, then you’ll almost certainly start to fly in the Open Category.  An updated version of CAP2012 (Drone Rules: Requirements for Flying in the Open Category) is displayed below.  This has been simplified recently as the UK CAA drone rules have evolved. 
I hope this helps you to have confidence with starting out in the world of drones. If you want to take your training further, then the next step would be seeking out a registered RAE (Registered Assessment Entity) and do an A2CofC (A2 Certificate of Competency) or even a GVC (General VLOS Certificate) but for now safe flying and enjoy your new piece of tech.


FLYER ID__________________________ OBTAIN
CAP 2012 ________________________COMPLY


Posted on 28 December 2022

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