Drones

If you are involved in an incident involving drones please report it to us by completing the 'General Incident Form' online and sending it into us at safety@bhs.org.uk

Drones come in a huge and diverse range of forms. These vary from the small, hand-held radio controlled versions, which are for sale to young people as an alternative to model aircraft and are used in their gardens and open spaces, right through to the ones that are being used in industry and by an ever-widening range of businesses, as they are being proven to save manpower in many different areas.

It's important for riders to have some understanding of drones and the legal restrictions surrounding them, should they be encountered when out riding. This awareness should help you to reassure your horse, and reducing the risk of him becoming spooked by such random flying objects.

The operation of the aircraft must not endanger anyone or anything.

The regulations for recreational drone flights are contained within the Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) which is the primary document for all aviation regulations within the UK.  In order to keep the regulations at a proportionate level for these small drones, a set of specific, simpler, regulations apply to aircraft that have a mass of 20kg or less (which are termed ‘small unmanned aircraft’ within the ANO). 

In simple terms, these regulations state that:

  • You are responsible for flying your drone in a safe manner 
  • You must keep the drone in your direct sight at all times while it is flying, so that you can ensure that it does not collide with anything, especially other aircraft 
  • You must not endanger anyone, or any thing with your drone, including any articles that you drop from it
  • You must not fly more than 400ft above the surface.  If flying over hilly/undulating terrain or close to a cliff edge, this may be interpreted as being a requirement to remain within a distance of 400ft from the surface of the earth 
  • You must not fly within the Flight Restriction Zone of a protected aerodrome
  • If your drone weighs more than 7kg, additional rules apply if you fly in certain types of airspace.

If your drone is fitted with a camera, there are also a number of additional limitations surrounding where you can fly it, and how close you can fly it to other uninvolved people or objects. In order to be able to fly within these areas, or closer than the minimum distances that are in the regulations, you must obtain prior Permission from the CAA to do so.

For further details please refer to the CAA's website.

Anyone flying a drone in the UK has a responsibility to be aware of the rules that are in place to keep everyone safe. More information can be found on the Drone Safe website.

The RAF Safety Centre has produced a video titled, 'Ask, Look, Listen' regarding the safe use of drones.

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