Drones and Legislation

Drones and Legislation – a veritable minefield of regulations and safety


As drones become more and more common place legislation changes.

For example: Drones fitted with cameras must not be flown with 50m of people, vehicles, buildings or structures, or over congested areas.

Civil Aviation Authority guidelines for flying “safely and legally” need to be adhered.

For example: a drone should never fly higher than 400ft or 122m

Drone hobbyists be careful 

Whether using drones for a hobby or for commercial use codes of conduct, permissions, databases of ownership, risk assessment of using in a particular location etc all need addressing. Legislation takes time to put in place and often technology develops at a faster pace – governments across the globe need to address this.

When were drones invented?

The first drone, or unmanned bomb filled balloon was launched by Austria in 1849 to attack Venice. In the early 1900s drone innovations primarily concentrated on providing military personnel with practice targets for training purposes.

Early Drones

During WWI and WWII various unmanned aerial combat vehicles were developed including Archibald Montgomery Low’s aerial target, the automatic airplane by Hewitt-Sperry and later in the 1950s when jet engines were used companies such as Beechcraft launched their Model 1001 for the US Navy.

The early drones were remote controlled airplanes and it was later during the Vietnam War that unmanned aircraft were further developed and used widely. Later during the War of Attrition and Yom Kippur War drones UAV’s were widely used with many lives saved due to flying in high risk areas. Drones save lives – General John Charles Meyer, Commander in Chief of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) said “we let the drone do the high-risk flying… the loss rate is high, but we are willing to risk more of them… they save lives!”.

Drones developed further over the decades becoming smaller and smaller, carrying cameras with higher and higher definition and reaching greater and greater heights.

Drones will certainly carry on developing and become more and more a part of daily life.

More information on drones

UK Drone Show ukdroneshow.com – first drone consumer event in UK held in 2015

UK Civil Aviation Authority caa.co.uk/drones