Where do I start with the Drone Regulation Changes.....

Here is a quick overview of the changes to the drone regulations for 2021. We’re going to start with the Open Category today. So let’s jump straight in…….


Why are the regulations changing?

Drone Regulations are changing to harmonize standards to a single approach across Europe, rather than different regulations in each country.

There will be 3 drone categories coming into effect, all operations will fall into one of the following.


1. Open Category

2. Specific Category

3. Certified Category


Open Category

3 Main Criteria to be adhered too are


· Maximum Take-off mass of the UAV must be less than 25KG

· UAV must be operated within visual line of sight (VLOS)

· Flights maximum altitude are 120 Metres (400 feet)

The 120 Metre limit can be exceeded by 15m above and 50m horizontally as long as the person in charge of the “object” has granted permission.


Within this category there will be addition sub categories.

· A1 – Fly ‘Over’ People

· A2 – Fly ‘Close to’ People

· A3 – Fly ‘Far from’ people

Lets look at these in more detail.


A1 - Drones in this category pose a very low risk of harm or injury to people or property due to their low weight (drone weighs less than 250g), their type of construction, or because they are a toy (‘inherently harmless’); Flights over open-air groups of people are not permitted


A2 - Drones in this category must be less than 4kg; With ‘Low Speed Mode’ selected you can fly to a minimum safe horizontal distance of 30m from uninvolved people, and also fly down to 5m horizontally of uninvolved people; The operator must have completed the A2 CofC.


A3 - This category covers the more general types of operations; The drone will only be flown in areas that are clear of uninvolved persons; Will not be flown in areas that are used for residential, commercial, industrial or recreational purposes (equivalent to ‘congested areas’).


What Qualifications Do I need to complete?



C0 drones are small and include toy drones;

  • Under 250g maximum take-off mass;

  • Maximum speed of 19m/s (approx. 42.5mph);

  • Cannot be flown more than 120m (400ft) from the pilot


What training and certification do I need to fly a C0 Drone? (Courtesy of COPTRZ.COM)

  • UK Drone Registration required if camera equipped

  • Read manufacturer user manual

  • Online training for Commercial operators

  • Online foundation test for Commercial operators

Flying Class C1 Drones in the A1 Subcategory (Under 900g)


C1 drones are heavier than C0 drones and cover more commercial UAV’s;

– Under 900g in maximum take-off mass, or are made and perform in a way that if they collide with a person, the energy transmitted will be less than 80 Joules; – They have a maximum speed of 19m/s (approx. 42.5 mph); – They are designed and constructed so as to minimise injury to people; – The standards also cover other aspects such as noise limits, height limits and requirements for remote identification and geo-awareness systems.


What training and certification do I need to fly a C1 Drone?

  • UK Drone Registration required

  • Read manufacturer user manual

  • Online training

  • Online foundation test

Flying Class C2 drones in the A2 subcategory ‘close to’ (Under 4kg)


C2 class drones: Are less than 4kg in weight;

  • They are designed and constructed so as to minimise injury to people;

  • They are equipped with a low-speed mode which limits the maximum speed to 3m/s (approx. 6.7 mph) when selected by the remote pilot;

  • The standards also cover other aspects such as noise limits (but different from Class C1), height limits and requirements for remote identification and geo-awareness systems, plus additional requirements if it is to be used during tethered flight.

What training and certification do I need to fly a C2 Drone?

  • UK Drone Registration required

  • Read manufacturer user manual

  • Online training

  • Online foundation test

  • Self-practical training

  • Certificate of Competence theoretical test (CofC Test)


Where do I stand with my DJI Mavic Mini?


So the DJI Mavic Mini has a MTOM of over 250g but less than 500g, therefore you need to not fly over uninvolved people and you will need the A2 CofC.


If you don’t wish to get the A2 CofC you can still fly in the A3 subcategory 'far from people'.


After 30th June 2022 you won't be able to fly the DJI Mavic Mini in the A1 Transitional Provision, therefore you will only be able to fly the aircraft in the A3 subcategory 'far from people'.



If you have a PfCO you can fly the DJI Mavic Mini under your Standard Permissions.


Next up we’ll take a look at the Specific Category…..

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