Drones are quite literally set to fly off the shelves over the next couple of weeks with nearly a quarter of consumers planning on buying one over the festive period, potentially adding another 1.5 million to UK airspace.
Research from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and its DroneSafe campaign has revealed that 63 per cent of drones bought are set to be given as a gift.
Worryingly, of those planning to buy a drone over the Christmas period, over a quarter (27 per cent) were unaware of the rules surrounding their usage in the UK.
Drone users must fly responsibly and follow the simple set of rules laid out in the CAA’s Dronecode with anyone found guilty of endangering an aircraft with a drone facing a five year prison sentence.
The CAA is warning consumers to make sure they buy a drone from a responsible retailer that will make sure the drone comes with a copy of the CAA’s Dronecode and can provide other safety advice.
This was backed up by its survey results with 69 per cent revealing that they would prefer to buy a drone from a responsible retailer – showing clear demand for expert advice at the point of purchase that can be passed on to the person flying the drone.
Says Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA):
“Drones are the latest ‘must-have’ technology, and while the spike in purchases is good news for both the industry and retailers, we must ensure that users are properly educated on responsible flying.
“Ensuring that consumers are able to use their drones safely and legally is critical, and so far, our work with retailers has been invaluable in ensuring that drone-buyers get a copy of the Dronecode and are able to access all the information they need.”
CAA’s Drone Code
Don’t fly near airports or airfields
Remember to stay below 400ft (120m) and at least 150ft (50m) away from buildings and people
Observe your drone at all times
Never fly near aircraft
The Dronecode is available to download at www.dronesafe.uk.