In the UK, to fly drones which aren't classed as 'toys', you need to be a 'UAS Operator' OR be operating under the supervision of one... Read on to find out more!
Under Aviation Law in the UK, most drones need to be flown by or under the supervision of a 'UAS Operator'.
The UAS Operator is a person who is responsible for ensuring that a flight is (or can be) safely made. It's worth noting that the UAS Operator doesn't need to be the person flying the drone.
A couple of examples of this in action:
- As the Managing Director of a Company, one could assume the role of UAS Operator but not be flying the drone(s) which the company own... The Managing Director would need to be aware of any drone flights taking place and would be responsible for ensuring that the Remote Pilots (the people actually controlling the drones) were operating safely and had the appropriate equipment, training and knowledge to conduct the flight safely.
- A parent or responsible adult (18+) could be the UAS Operator, overseeing their child whilst the child is flying a drone. Again, as per the example above, this does not necessarily need to be direct supervision but this would be down to the UAS Operator to decide on the appropriate level of supervision required.
To become a UAS Operator in the UK, you need to complete the CAA's Drone Operator Registration Scheme and get an 'Operator ID'. This must be visible on ALL drones which fall under the responsibility of the UAS Operator and mean that the drone can be traced back to the responsible person if required.
There's a useful video below which walks you through the process of obtaining an Operator ID...