Operating Drones Legally – What accreditations should a drone pilot have?

To operate a drone legally in the UK, you’ll need the appropriate accreditation depending on the type and weight of your drone, as well as the complexity of the operation you plan to conduct.

We at inspectionphotos.co.uk have all the required accreditations and authorisations for our work within the UK but if you’re interested in learning more here’s a brief breakdown:

For recreational drone use (drones under 250g):

  • No formal accreditation is required, but you must follow the Drone Code, which outlines safe and responsible flying practices.
  • The Drone Code covers aspects like staying below 400ft, not flying near airports or crowds, and keeping your drone in sight at all times.

For more complex recreational or commercial drone use (drones over 250g):

  • You’ll need a General VLOS (Visual Line of Sight) Certificate issued by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). This involves online training and an online theory test which can usually be completed within 1-2 weeks depending on your available time.

For professional drone use (complex operations or drones over 20kg):

  • You’ll need a Specific Category Certificate issued by the CAA. This involves more in-depth training and practical assessments compared to the General VLOS Certificate.
  • Additional authorisations may also be required based on the specific operation.

Additionally, depending on the specific operation you plan, you may need further training and authorisations, such as a Operating Safety Case (OSC) – Soon to be SORA.

It’s important to note that these are just the general requirements, and specific regulations can vary depending on your location and the intended use of your drone. Therefore, it’s always best to check with the CAA for the latest regulations and ensure you have the necessary accreditations before flying.

Here are some helpful resources for further information:

Remember, flying a drone safely and responsibly is everyone’s responsibility and this information is correct at the time of writing. Need a drone pilot for your inspection? Request a quote below for your project.

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