How to stay safe and legal when flying a drone

With drones continuing to be high on many people's Christmas lists this year, Manchester Airport is warning users of the dangers they pose to aircraft after a spate of incidents this year.

Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 1:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 2:50 pm
How to stay safe and legal when flying a drone

During 2017 there has been a 113% increase in the number of incidents involving drones in airspace around Manchester Airport.

They may seem like a fun, harmless toy, but they can actually pose a risk and a range of issues to the aviation industry, with the owners being legally responsible and could face prosecution if breaching Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations.

People should follow these simple steps to make sure they fly safe, and legally:

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• Make sure you can see your drone at all times and don't fly higher than 400 feet

• Always keep your drone away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields

• Use your common sense and fly safely; you could be prosecuted if you don't.

Drones fitted with cameras must not be flown:

• Within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or structures

• Over congested areas or large gatherings such as concerts and sports events

Rad Taylor, Operations Director for Manchester Airport, said: “after a series of incidents in our airspace and ahead of the Christmas period when many people will be receiving drones as a present, we wanted to remind people of the dangers they pose to aircraft. If they pass into our airspace (and permission is needed for this) they can cause issues which may result in delays for our airlines and passengers.

“It is also the user’s legal responsibility to know about the CAA regulations for flying a drone in the UK.”

Air traffic services provider, NATS, has launched an online game for drone enthusiasts called Drone Run. The new Christmas Drone Run game challenges virtual drone pilots to demonstrate they can fly their machines responsibly through a festive wintry landscape, keeping them in sight and below 400ft, as per the Drone Code, while simultaneously avoiding hazards such as Christmas trees, airports, snow-dusted buildings, and other aircraft - including Santa’s reindeer-led sleigh!

As well as the Christmas Drone Run game, NATS has a free app, Drone Assist, which provides users with an interactive map of airspace showing where it is safe to fly and where to avoid, as well as a Drone Portal that offers practical and useful tools, advice and resources for those flying drones in UK airspace. Commercial drone pilots can also take advantage of NATS training courses, which prepare participants for the CAA permissions needed to fly commercially.

For Manchester Airport’s Drone Code log onto –