Closeness warning


I’ve watched and enjoyed a load of drone footage here but several have rung alarm bells in my head.

Some of the footage have clearly been taken within 50 metres of property outside of the pilots control (unless the pilot was using an Inspire with a 45mm - 90mm equivalent in 35mm terms) and in such cases the pilot is in breach of the Air Navigation Order and subject to prosecution, i.e. hefty fine and drone confiscation.

Posting such videos on social media is risky at best.

I do not want to be a kill-joy as I love what this hobby of ours can achieve but forewarned is forewarned - please choose wisely 're what footage you upload.


You may ask yourself if you ever drive over 30mph or 60mph or 70mph in situations on the roads that have these speed limits. If you did it once then I would consider this more of a concern than someone flying a little too close to a random property. I agree with you if you are pointing at someone flying over large crowds etc…, but lets be honest, passing a random building or flying over an A road to get to somewhere for a good film shot is not really much of an issue to be totally concerned about. I expect we all follow the “Drone Code” on here, but you are right to point out if you see someone seriously breaking this code and putting people or property in danger and you would be right to point them and their video out.


stevedickin - I’m with you entirely with what you say. However recent history has demonstrated that, at times, the CAA have supported the prosecution of offenders which has resulted in fines and costs in excess of £2000 following videos being put on social media. I’m reminded of the Blackpool Tower drone footage on YouTube which the CAA used in the prosecution, and others such as the footage of flying over and close to a road bridge before crashing into the sea near a submarine base, recovered by a trawler, and subsequently handed to the police.

The purpose of my thread was to remind members of the Air Navigation Order requirements and what CAN happen in posting on social media, not to deter pilots from doing so.


I’ll be honest, I have not looked at any videos put up on this forum so I cannot really quantify your comment earlier that “several have rung alarm bells in my head”. But that comment alone tells me that there is some serious law breaking footage on this forum, I will be interested to spot them myself.


Now that we’re awarding badges for outstanding videos I’ve had to watch quite a few of late and I’ll say I’ve not noticed any ‘serious law-breaking footage’. A few mild infractions, sure, but nothing I would class as deliberate flouting of the law or DroneCode or whatever. I like to believe that the vast majority of GADC members are mature, responsible adults who just want to enjoy their flying and not ruin it for everyone else. I mean, dammit, we are British after all. :innocent: :uk:


I didn’t intend to cause a stir and maybe, in hindsight, I should not have used the word “serious”. Nonetheless there are some examples, as Londroner has said, where the the ANO has not been complied with.

This reminds me of a young ex-student of mine who was a Special Constable and doing a Foundation Degree in policing. She posted a comment on her “private” Facebook page that during the early hours of the morning on a deserted motorway she had driven at over 100mph. For whatever reason someone, who she’d given permission to access her Facebook page, informed her police supervisors of the entry. She was immediately required to resign from the Special Constabulary and as a consequence the prospect of becoming a regular police officer was virtually nil. On top of that she still had a student loan of £18,000 for a course which was effectively worthless.

IMHO her speeding in the circumstances at that time was a minor breach and had I spotted her when I was operational (with or without knowing she was a Special) at the most I would only have advised her of the potential consequences of her actions - and believe me when I say I came down on fools harshly. But to effectively fine her £18,000 and ruin her ideal job prospects goes to show what can come of such minor breaches when trolls are around.

Not wishing to repeat myself too much but I only raised this issue to prevent both this club and its members being brought to the attention of the CAA adversely. Some people may think minor breaches of any law is OK (and so do I at times) - however there are those out there, internet trolls, who take a perverse pleasure in attempting to harm individuals and groups.


I think the word “serious” was mine, I used it to put emphasise on the original post which I felt was probably a slight overreaction even though I hadn’t yet viewed any videos on the forum. I have come across a few overreactions in my short time flying. Two gun instances (UK too!) and one that nearly ended the hobby for me below.

I had a comment made to me through YouTube by a local aerial photography businessman in my hometown, who once I advised him that I fly within the “DroneCode” he then proceeded to report me to the police for suspected flying in unauthorised airspace. He was totally wrong and also the police were wrong when advising me to contact Air Traffic Control every time I wanted to fly. I live 4km from an airbase, so I contacted them and they advised that I didn’t have to call them at all. The guy who reported me runs a popular drone YouTube channel and with his “I have all the qualifications and it cost me lots of money” head on, took exception that as a recreational flyer I wasn’t required to close off roads, wear hi-vis, and I was obviously filming on his patch where his photography business is located. You can probably guess the YouTuber if you looked across the “kitchen table”. Maybe he even resides in this group… I do hope so!


Maybe that’s why someone else took over the kitchen table antics - so he could re-educate himself re current legislation rather than relying on out-dated knowledge from PPL days. Just my thoughts :wink:


It was the guy that took over, not Simon.


Hi all, I am really interested to know what would be classed as risky or an infringement of the code etc, would it be a good idea to point out what’s been seen in our videos and then we may be able to see for ourselves and learn from it, if I am one of the pilots thats unknowingly committed a silly mistake I personally would like to know ??? because it’s a bit like golf you can unwittingly keep practicing mistakes that can cost you a game or in our case a fine…
I can definitely say I would not take offence if someone politely points out a error.


Ktm250 - as briefly as I can put it, if you place a 50m dome over every property, vehicle or vessel, flying your UAV within that dome would, within the law, be illegal if you didn’t have control of that property, vehicle or vessel.

Regardless of that 50m dome it would be illegal to fly directly over the subject, i.e. you can fly round it but not directly over it.

Now 50m is quite some distance (about 162+ feet) and with the fixed fairly wide angle lenses used on consumer drones the object would appear relatively small in the frame. As a consequence some pilots get tempted to fly within that 50m bubble to get a better composition/image, post their work on social media and some troll, or even the CAA at times, will use that footage to bring trouble for the pilot.

If you do some research on YouTube you will find some contributors who graphically explain what the ANO says you can and cannot do - search for ‘Ikopta’ (real name Dylan) and look through his videos on the subject.

As I said previously some of the footage I’ve enjoyed on this forum do, technically, and to a small degree re this 50m rule, break the ANO - and being placed on the interweb COULD attract some unpleasant attention. I’m not into naming and shaming unless the footage was intentionally or recklessly unlawful, or clearly had placed persons at risk of injury. Remember quadcopters only have to lose a rotor, a motor to fail, or the battery to suddenly lose its charge and you have a bag of spuds dropping out of the sky at one hell of a speed.


I would say that the Drone Code is saying you can fly 50m over people and properties here.


Small unmanned surveillance aircraft
95.—(1) The person in charge of a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not fly the aircraft
in any of the circumstances described in paragraph (2) except in accordance with a permission
issued by the CAA.
(2) The circumstances referred to in paragraph (1) are—
(a) over or within 150 metres of any congested area;
(b) over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons;
© within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the
person in charge of the aircraft; or
(d) subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), within 50 metres of any person.
(3) Subject to paragraph (4), during take-off or landing, a small unmanned surveillance aircraft
must not be flown within 30 metres of any person.
(4) Paragraphs (2)(d) and (3) do not apply to the person in charge of the small unmanned
surveillance aircraft or a person under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft.
(5) In this article, “a small unmanned surveillance aircraft” means a small unmanned aircraft
which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition.

This is a straight lift from Section 95 of the current ANO.

In relation to this topic 2(a) prohibits flying over or within 150 metres of any congested area - the CAA interpret any residential area as a "congested area’
2© prohibits flying within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure, etc., etc.

Before the latest amendment to the ANO the 50m rule was interpreted as a straight, horizontal line between aircraft and subject. This was amended with the bubble interpretation with the CAA derived caveat that you cannot fly directly over such a structure - the reasoning behind it is the consequences of a rotor or motor failure resulting in the craft falling directly down onto the structure, etc. Flying slightly offset would greatly minimise the risk of damaging the property, etc., and therefore is permitted subject to the all encompassing 50m rule.

The Drone Code is a very, very simplified adaptation of Section 95 of the ANO, and even in the picture above they have placed the craft slightly offset to the house.


Mmmm thats me guilty then :policeman:
I personally think the code is a good thing BUT if you want to put together a creative video then basically your done for, everything would be small, boring and every bit of footage the same…
I am confused really because the Spark is marketed as a selfie drone so at 50mts your screwed…
Basically I think common sense should be telling you that it’s not safe to perform certain manoeuvres, BUT I think back to my video of the Crooked Spire, it would not have be impossible to stay within the 50mt rule ? I went and filmed very early in the morning and walked around first to evaluate the pros and cons ie people, the building everything before the mavic left the ground, luckily I didn’t see a soul until the drone was going in its bag.
I am now totally bewildered thinking about what you can and cannot do, for me I want to be safe and respectful to people and property but if you cannot be creative then for me it’s a useless tool.
Can I ask politely but your Quick shot video how would that look at 50mts from the Rolla, was it acceptable because you where flying away from the property or should you have set off 50mts from the subject and then perform the Quick shot ??? confused or it could be I am thick…

Just watching Hidden Britain by drone CH4. quite alot of drone code infringements going on !!!


You missed the point.
You said: “Regardless of that 50m dome it would be illegal to fly directly over the subject, i.e. you can fly round it but not directly over it.”

Whereas you now quote Article 95 which does not state “OVER”, it states “WITHIN”. So my graphic from the Drone Code shows that you can fly over the dome, you don’t have to fly around.


Ktm250 - first of all, you’re not thick. You are a creative person who clearly attempts to remain within the law - a law which 99% of the time is ignored, quite rightly so IMHO, when the intention is to create beautiful, creative footage which puts people and property at negligible risk of injury or serious damage.

You are quite right re the Spark :+1: - 100%!

You clearly considered safety re the Crooked Spire video and as such S.94 would have been complied with. I don’t believe for one second that the CAA would have given its second glance re action.

Re my Quickshot entry I asked the prospective hotel manager and Bentley owner (the same person) for his permission to get closer than the 50m requirement (as per the ANO) before I did the shot.

The whole purpose of my original posting was to bring awareness to the fact that posting footage on social media CAN have unwanted consequences and did not want this forum and its members to be dragged into disrepute by the malicious actions of a small number of demented interweb trolls :poop::poop::poop::poop:

I love footage which stretches the boundaries so carry on my friend :grinning::grinning:


I don’t want to be impolite but as I said the Drone Code is merely a simplification of S.94 and 95 of the ANO.

Apart from completing the flight test, I have passed the theory test and completed my Ops Manual to the satisfaction of my (still current) training provider and consider my knowledge of UAV requirements as above average, so when I stated that “This was amended with the bubble interpretation with the CAA derived caveat that you cannot fly directly over such a structure” it comes from a lot of research - I stand to be corrected if such research is shown to be outdated.


I think you’ve gone over and above in these assessments alone :+1:

Many would have just rocked up at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon and started flying, without a thought for safety or anything else for that matter.

Gets my vote mate :+1:


You are not being impolite.
Which part of the research you have done states that you cannot fly over the 50m bubble…where is this written that a recreational flyer cannot fly over the 50m bubble? I haven’t seen it.


The CAA are not that naive - it is there interpretation ( in their attempt to pacify Drone users). IKOPTA on YouTube, in one of his videos explains this area.