Can I fly my drone in London? A beginner’s guide.

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Got a new drone for Christmas and want to know where you can legally take it for a spin in London? We’re here to tell you your flying rights and to recommend the best spots that the capital offers for ‘above-board’ quadcopter antics.

1. Can I fly my drone in London?

The red-shaded area indicates airspace in which drone flight is prohibited. The red-shaded area indicates airspace in which drone flight is prohibited.

Do you want the good news or the bad news?

The bad news is that London boasts 5 major airports and a truly impressive flow of air traffic. I suppose it was never going to be the perfect aerial playground and, as you may expect, drone flight is indeed restricted throughout much of the city.

The good news, however, is that Richmond Park, Hampstead Heath, Dulwich Park and Greenwich Park all sit tantalisingly outside of the prohibited zone – just take your pick! Looks like it was a drone-fanatic that outlined the capital’s no-drone-zone after all…

The other thing to consider is that if your drone weighs more than 7kg, you’ll need prior permission before flying it, even if you’re outside the red zone. However, a DJI Phantom 4 weighs in at just 1380g, so with this and all other consumer drones for hire on Fat Lama, you’ll be golden. Special thanks to No Fly Drones for making us aware of our piloting rights!

2. Do I need a licence?

For drones under 7kg, no license is required.

You’ll only need a license if you’re using your drone on a commercial basis (ie. ‘aerial work’) or if for some reason you wish to fly in congested zones. So, regardless of whether it has a camera, you don’t need to worry about a license if you’re a mere hobbyist. So long as it’s less that 7kg and you’re staying in the outlined areas, you’ve nothing to fear.

If your drone weighs more than 7kg, you’ll need to head a little further afield for your drone kicks and should your quadcopter weigh over 20kg, you’ll need to head to a ‘danger area’ such as Parc Aberporth aerodrome in West Wales.

Training courses are not obligatory for consumer drone flying.

3. Do I need pilot training?

Training courses are not obligatory for consumer drone flying.

Whilst there are a number of drone flying courses (some approved by the Civil Aviation Authority) you are not required to take one by law. If you’re considering taking the leap into aerial fun and games, you may want to consider drone hire as an alternative, and significantly cheaper, first step. Drone rental allows you to try out a number of industry-standard flyers without committing £1000+. With a range of drone rentals available from fellow Londoners on Fat Lama, you can hire a drone that suits the brief. Head to the Vuepeer blog to read more about how production companies and individual drone lovers are saving money through drone rental on Fat Lama.

Soon Amazon will be delivering anything from cheese to toothpicks via unmanned aircraft, so the law will doubtless evolve quickly. If in doubt, contact the Civil Aviation Authority for up to date legals.

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