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UK Drone Registration: What You Need to Know

06 Nov 2019

red5 fx15 drone in sky

So, you’ve heard whispers of drone registration, but you’re not sure how to go about it or if it even applies to you. It has you more confused than that time you tried to learn Backgammon. Fortunately, you’ve come to a leading drone retailer, Menkind, and we have all sorts of helpful information for you!

In this guide, we’ll cover the principle behind drone registration, who needs to do it, how to do it, and other things that you need to know about the drone registration law.

When is drone registration required, and why?

As a result of new laws, drone registration is mandatory from 30 November 2019.

Why? Well, drones can be dangerous if they aren’t used properly, and these laws will help keep drone pilots from flying like Maverick in Top Gun.

But, there’s even better news. Drone registration might help locate lost drones! Yeah, we heard that ‘whoop’ you just let out. If you’re a drone pilot, the fear of losing your drone is real. But, with drone registration numbers, you’ll have a better chance of finding your lost drone.

The plan is to begin a service which can log lost and found drones, easily matching registration numbers to their owners. If only Lassie had that… it would have saved us a whole lot of emotion (and Googling the story of Lassie. Spoiler: she comes home).

illuminator drone with lights on

Who needs to register their drone?

OK, so drone registration became mandatory on the 30th of November 2019. But, it’s not mandatory for everyone.

Only drones weighing over 250 grams need to be registered.

If you plan to fly or be responsible for a drone over 250 grams, then you’ll need to register. But, there are two types of registrations, and you may need both. So, let’s break them down:

1. Flyer ID

If you want to fly a drone or model aircraft over 250 grams, you need a Flyer ID.

How do you get one? You just need to take an online test about flying drones safely and legally. This is a 20-question test, and you need 16 to pass. But, if that sounds scary, don’t worry… you can take it as many times as you need to.

There’s no minimum age to be a flyer, but children under 13 will need to register with a parent or guardian present.

How much does it cost? Nothing, it’s totally free and the registration period lasts for 3 years.

2. Operator ID

If you are responsible for a drone, you’ll need an Operator ID.

An Operator ID means you’re accountable for that drone. You’ll receive a unique ID which you will be required to label your drone or model aircraft with.

All good so far? Cool! The only problem with the operator ID: you have to be 18 or over to get one. Also, it costs a small fee (really small) of £9 per year, with the registration period lasting 1 year.

Are you an organisation that owns a drone over 250 grams? The same rules apply, but you’ll need to register the organisation here: 

hubsan x4 drone with trees in background

How to register a drone

So, we’ve pretty much covered this already. But, just to be sure, you can register on the CAA site.

If you’re planning to fly your own drone, you’ll need both a Flyer ID and an Operator ID. If you’re planning to fly a drone but not own one, you’ll just need a Flyer ID. And, if you want to own a drone but not fly it, you’ll just need to register for an Operator ID as a non-flying operator.  

Is there a drone registration fee?

So, we’re starting to repeat ourselves more than a dear old grandparent telling that story you already know word for word. But, yes, there is a fee for registration. But it only applies to the Operator ID.

If you’re registering for a Flyer ID, it’s free and lasts 3 years. Whoop!

If you’re registering for an Operator ID, it’s £9 and is renewable yearly.

Who doesn’t need to register their drone?

We’ll start with easy answer first. If you have a toy drone under 250 grams, even if it has a camera, you don’t need to register it.

But, there are a few instances where people with drones over 250 grams don’t need to register. Who are these lucky people, you ask? Well, some model aircraft associations have CAA reviewed competency schemes. If you hold an achievement certificate from one of these associations, you will be exempt from the online training and test.

Also, there are special permissions given to commercial operations. You know, the ones as required in ANO article 94(5). We’re sure you know it well. And, if you do know it well, you’ll be happy to know that permissions issued by the CAA to a named UAS operator will mean that that operator can skip the online training and test.

red5 hawk folding drone white background

Which Menkind drones need registration?

Fortunately, most of the Menkind drones are under 250 grams and are classified as toys, so don’t need to be registered. Currently, the only drone that requires registration is the RED5 Hawk folding drone… which is totally worth it because it’s awesome.

Drone registration requirements in a nutshell

It might all sound a bit confusing at this point, but here’s the meat and two veg:

If you have a drone under 250 grams that is classed as a toy, whether or not it has a camera, you don’t need to register it.

If you have a drone under 250 grams with a camera that is NOT classed as a toy, you don't need a Flyer ID but will need an Operator ID.

If you own a drone over 250 grams, you’ll need to register for a Flyer ID and an Operator ID. You’ll need to be 18 or over for the Operator ID, and you’ll need to pay an annual fee of £9. 

For more on all this, check out the CAA drone registration requirements

In the end, it’s as simple as that. Registration requirements are not going to make owning a drone difficult, and may actually help you find your drone if anything goes wrong. So, get on out there and enjoy flying your drone. Ready? Go!

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