Getting what you need to fly legally
ID and registration requirements
There are two IDs you may need before flying drones or model aircraft outdoors in the UK:
- flyer ID, which shows you’ve passed the basic flying test
- operator ID, which must be labelled on your drone or model aircraft
You may need to have both.
You must pass the CAA’s official theory test to get a flyer ID before flying a drone or model aircraft covered by the regulations.
You’re responsible for flying safely and legally whenever you fly.
The operator is the person responsible for managing a drone or model aircraft. This means they’re responsible for things like maintaining it and making sure that anyone who flies it has a flyer ID.
You must be 18 or over to get an operator ID.
The operator is usually the person or organisation that owns the drone or model aircraft, but not always. For example, if you’re younger than 18 and you own a drone or model aircraft, you must ask your parent or guardian to register for an operator ID. You’ll still be able to fly as long as you have a flyer ID.
Categories of drone and model aircraft operations
The types of flying you do with your drone or model aircraft are known as operations.
There are different categories of operations. The categories affect things like where you can fly, and how close to people and crowds you can fly.
|Categories||Type of flying|
|Open A1 and A3||Basic, low-risk flying|
|Open A2||More risk than A1 and A3|
|Certified||High-risk, complex flying|
This Code tells you everything you need to know to pass the test to get a flyer ID. This allows you to fly in the Open A1 and A3 sub-categories, which is the starting point for anyone wanting to fly a drone or model aircraft in the UK.
You’ll need to go on and get further authorisation if you want to do more advanced flying, or if you want to fly a drone or model aircraft that weighs 25kg or more. For example, if you want to fly in the Open A2 sub-category (opens in a new tab), or Specific category (opens in a new tab), or Certified category (opens in a new tab).
Drone and model aircraft classes
Drones and model aircraft are split into five classes: from class C0 to class C4.
The classes have only recently been introduced, so your drone or model aircraft may not have been given a class when it was made. If your drone or model aircraft does not have a class mark, it is classed by its flying weight.
If you’ll only use the smallest weight or class of drone or model aircraft, you may not need a flyer ID or operator ID.
Privately built aircraft are classed by their flying weight.
Working out if you need a flyer ID, operator ID or both
Follow these steps to work out what you need to fly in the Open A1 and A3 categories of operations.
Check if your drone or model aircraft has a class mark.
The class mark will be marked on the drone or model aircraft and in any instructions. If not, go to step 3.
If it does have a class mark, follow the class mark requirements table to see what ID you need.
Class mark requirements
Class mark requirements table Class ID needed Flyer ID Operator ID C0 - toy No No C0 - not a toy - no camera No No C0 - not a toy - with camera No Yes C1 Yes Yes C2 Yes Yes C3 Yes Yes C4 Yes Yes
If it doesn’t have a class mark, follow the flying weight requirements table.
Flying weight requirements
Flying weight requirements table Flying weight ID needed Flyer ID Operator ID below 250g - toy No No below 250g - not a toy - no camera No No below 250g - not a toy - with camera No Yes 250g and above Yes Yes
Toys, small drones and small model aircraft
You do not need to register if you will only fly or use the following types of drone or model aircraft:
- toys below 250g or in C0 class
- C0 class with no camera, whether it’s a toy or not
- below 250g with no camera and no class mark, whether it’s a toy or not
Remember, you must still follow the Drone and Model Aircraft Code when you fly.
Working out if your drone or model aircraft is a toy
There is no standard mark to show that a drone or model aircraft is a toy.
Your drone or model aircraft is likely to be a toy if:
- the manufacturer or store you bought it from describes it as a toy
- you bought it from a toy department or retailer
- it is marked as suitable for below age 14 or a younger age group
- it was advertised or packaged to attract children