CAA Drone Registration and Competency Test

The latest update regarding drone registration was published on the CAA website on October 21st 2019.

After delays to the proposed registration process, which was originally scheduled to begin on October 1st, registration will now ope on November 5th.  It will become mandatory on November 30th according to the originally published timetable.

There are two major amendments to the originally published plans for the dual scheme that combines a new education package and the registration process with the aim of creating higher safety standards for both the commercial and leisure drone communities.

Anyone flying a drone or unmanned aircraft weighing between 250g and 20kg will need to take and pass an online education package.  There is no charge for this but it does need to be renewed every three years.

In addition to this, anyone responsible for a drone or unmanned aircraft, again between 250g to 20kg, will need to register as an operator and renew their registration annually at a cost of £9.  This figure has been reduced from the originally proposed £16 which will likely be well received by registrants.  Following the publication of a recent paper on the subject, the CAA was encouraged to review the fee as it was felt that the goal of the scheme to create safer air sharing would be null and void if the fee was high enough to deter registration at all.

Exemptions and Exceptions

For PfCO holders (and model flyers holding an achievement certificated issued by a UK model aircraft association), the big news is that they will be exempt from taking the online test.  It was originally proposed that all pilots would be required to pass the test regardless of their PfCO status.

The CAA will be issuing a formal exemption certificate to PfCO holders so they can provide it if they are challenged, by the Police for example. This exemption will be in place until 30 June 2020 when the situation will be reviewed in light of expected new legislation.

The other big news is that members of the following organisations will not be required to complete the registration process.

  • ARPAS-UK
  • BMFA
  • Scottish Aeromodellers Association
  • Large Model Association
  • FPV UK

The associations will collect the fees and any necessary data and pass it as required and agreed to the CAA on their members’ behalf.  They will be providing members with guidance in due course.

Drone operators will be provided with an operator ID following registration which must be displayed on each drone / aircraft belonging to the operator (the same number can be used on each drone).

Operators must be 18 years old or over so parents looking to put a drone under the Christmas tree for their children this year, will need to be aware of this fact.