50 meter rule

I’m a newby so apologies of this is a daft question.
I’ve just read the drone code and it mentions staying over 50 metre from people.
How could you film a wedding if that the case? Or does “permission” cover this?

It’s 30m if you are in control of the people (ie you’ve briefed them). However the Pythagoras theory means in reality that you will be about 20m yet complying with the 30m rule.

1 Like

@Brian I’ve seen several weddings at Selby recently where drones have been used by our Asian friends very low and very close.

Has anyone actually been killed by a drone?
Nearly 1800 were killed by cars.
If the same rule was applied to cars you would never be able to drive.
While some loonies will want to fly by airports it is as though it hasn’t been thought through properly…

I wouldn’t like to say what laws our Asian friends or colonial cousins are following,
Possibly Pythagoras theory.
There was a drone stuck in a tree outside the Abbey last year after it blew away in the gentle breeze while attempting to film a wedding.The fire brigade were called to retrieve it. The Selby times posted photos of it and the letters poured in about what a waste of resources having the fire brigade rescue a ‘toy’ they could have been saving lives instead of rescuing a toy etc etc.
It didn’t help public opinion on drones

1 Like

I think it’s the exponential rise in drone use which has prompted the CAA to act. If there were no laws then it would be like the Wild West out there. Drones above motorways, sporting events, balloon festivals, horse races, to name just a few which idiots would deem it ok to fly near without any rules or threat of prosecution. Admittedly the laws have been pushed by airline pilots for the safety of aeroplanes. I’d rather not see a plane downed just so some numpty can get some video on social media. I agree that people are killed on the roads every day, but not killed by the vehicles, they are killed by some numpty either doing something they shouldn’t while driving, or not driving to the conditions. And these people are supposed to have passed a driving test!! Can you imagine what it’d be like in the skies if unregulated drone use was allowed…


Yes good point. Thanks.

Another point @Brian, not everyone is into drones. It’s not like cars, were most people need one. It is a hobby in the end (yes some people make a living off it). Regulation is a necessary evil, as long as the government realise that the hobbyists should be allowed a reasonable space and rules to indulge.
What I am saying is - ok, regulate it (charge if you must), but be reasonable. Open up some land. (National Trust hint).


Bet if it had been a “Cat” it would never have reached the press !.

1 Like

You can get a similar response with street photography.

I was doing a wedding a week or two back, and the Bride and Groom told me that our local “Norwich Cathedral” (opposite the Hotel I was working in)charges a £400 (suggested minimum donation) to simply photograph in the grounds, and that’s from one of the Countries most wealthy organisations (Church Of England.) !.
That is one building I do definitely want to photograph from a drone, if I get chance.

It even made the Daily Facist

I would not have the bloody cheek to even phone them !!


Wow. It must have been a slow news day for the daily wail

1 Like

Welcome to Grey Arrows @AG-Cranes :smiley:

No such thing mate :+1:t2:

Just to add to the previous replies, check this video out too:

St Mary’s church in Nottingham.

Did the Church give the person (who took those pictures) permission to allow them to be taken in the grounds?.
Certainly would not get away with that around here.

It’s ironic Rich, because that video from Ikopta is shot around here, well the small clips he has used in it are.
(Norwich Cathedral, Hales Hall)
I am sure he does not live far from me.
As a lot of his stuff on YouTube is local as well.

Apologies @Brian, but I am going to go all serious here as you are quoting distances.

It is important to remember that the 30 meter rules only applies to take off and landing, for both hobbyists and PfCO fliers. When flying it’s 50 meters.

However these distances only apply when you do not have control of the people, structure, vehicle of vessel.

If you have control of a structure (permissions) you can take off, land and fly as close ‘as its safe to do so’. That’s how you do building surveys.

In the case of this wedding, does the pilot have permission from the church to fly closer than 50m to the building? If not then you are in breach regardless of the people anyway. I heard (I think here at GADC) that a church that as asked required a the drone pilot to have a PfCO and insurance before it would give permission. You can understand this as the church is a public place and the church could be deemed particularly liable if it had given permission as someone was hurt as a result of the drone.

If you have the church permission, then you need to decide if the people are ‘under your control’ (there are a number of ways to achieve this). Then again the 50m distance is not a factor. You can fly as close ‘as is safe to do so’. One caveat, as I have said, the church is a public place and you have to plan for non guests who are not under control, who may walk within your 50 meters drone bubble.

The most important factor is the pilot must always ensure that they fly in a way that is safe and does not endanger people or property.

A question in the case of the wedding. If a guest sent one of these photos, with the shot straight over the heads, to the police or CAA and said the drone was flying to close to them and it was dangerous, would you have evidence to show that they were in your control and that you were flying safely?


And ill wager that there are other buildings within 50 metres whose owners haven’t given permission. That shot is probably illegal in terms of PfCO.

There’s a massive misconception that having a PfCO allows you to behave however you like when in reality it’s the other way round. Holding a PfCO means you have been trained and assessed to a certain standard and could never use ignorance of the rules as any mitigation