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On 30th November the UK government introduced compulsory drone registration for all users of drones greater than 250g in mass, both commercial and hobbyist. There’s been some confusion as to who needs to do what, so here are the facts:

Do I need register?
Yes, everyone needs to register in some form unless the drone is less than 250g in mass (e.g. the new DJI Mavic Mini)

What is the difference between ‘operator’ and ‘flyer’ registration?
Operators are issued an ID which is shared between all drones falling under their responsibility, and must be displayed on the drone/s. ‘Flyer’ registration is tied to the individual pilot of the drone.

Do I need to do both?
Everyone needs an operator ID. However, those flying drones under a Permission for Commercial Operation do NOT need to obtain a flyer ID currently. Instead, they should be familiar with, and a carry a copy of, a general exemption offered by the CAA. This exemption runs until 30 June 2020, at which point it may or may not continue.

How do I obtain my IDs and complete registration?
The process is extremely simple. Go to the CAA drone registration site and complete the application process. For flyer IDs, there is a short online quiz to complete. The cost of registration is £9 (less than the planned price after feedback from the industry).

Do I need to buy a special sticker?
No. Although they are for sale. All you need to do is mark the operator ID on the drone in such a way that it can be viewed without wholesale dismantling of the drone. Inside the battery compartment is acceptable as this is easily accessible.

What is the point of this?
There is a push to make it easier for drones to be traceable to their operators, so that misuse can be dealt with more effectively. Of course, there will be resistance to registration in some quarters but registration is part of a wider raft of government measures due to be brought into law in 2020.

Leaping Wing runs regular commercial drone training courses in partnership with UAV Air. If you would like more information on this topic, do drop us a line.