The Drone and Model Aircraft Code

For flying drones, model aeroplanes, model gliders, model helicopters, and other unmanned aircraft systems outdoors in the Open A1 and A3 categories
The Drone and Model Aircraft Code published and last updated dates
From: The UK Civil Aviation Authority (opens in a new tab)
Published: October 2019
Last updated: December 2020

Flying safely and responsibly (Points 1 and 2)

General responsibilities.

1. You’re responsible for flying safely whenever you fly

Follow this Code to make sure you never put people in danger.

Always be ready in case something should go wrong with your drone or model aircraft.

You could be fined for breaking the law when flying your drone or model aircraft. In the most serious cases, you could be sent to prison.

2. Always keep your drone or model aircraft in direct sight and make sure you have a full view of the surrounding airspace

You must be sure that you can spot any nearby hazards in the air or on the ground and avoid collisions.

You must be able to see your drone or model aircraft without using:

  • binoculars
  • a telephoto lens
  • electronic viewing equipment, such as a smart phone, tablet or video goggles

Normal glasses and contact lenses are fine.

Flying with the help of an observer

You can ask someone to be your observer when you fly.

They must stand next to you and you must be able to talk to each other at all times.

One of you must be able to keep your drone or model aircraft in direct sight and have a full view of the surrounding airspace at all times.

The observer does not need to have a flyer ID, but you must tell them what to look out for. Remember, you’re still responsible for keeping the flight safe.