Drone owners face drink-fly ban? Telegraph Article

Ministers are consulting on new blood and breath alcohol thresholds as part of a planned overhaul of airspace laws

Drone owners face alcohol limits similar to drink-driving restrictions in an attempt to stop the aircraft causing havoc in airspace reports The Telegraph.

The Government is consulting on blood and breath alcohol thresholds as part of a revamp of flight laws designed to encourage technologies such as aerial taxis.

A consultation paper last week proposed that the limit for amateur pilots would be set at 29 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or 13 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath.

This would be more than twice as strict as the existing alcohol limit for driving on the road, which is set at 80 milligrammes for blood and 35 micrograms for breath.

The proposed limits would mean that the average adult male in the UK, weighing 13 stone and five pounds, would be over the limit for piloting a drone after one pint of beer with a 5pc alcohol volume.

Stricter limits would be enforced for so-called “specific category” flights, licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority, such as flying drones for wedding photography or building inspections, and for “certified category” operations such as piloting aerial vehicles that carry passengers.

In these cases, the blood alcohol limit would be set at 20 milligrammes, the same level that currently applies to aeroplane pilots.

In a consultation paper, the Department for Transport said it was planning strict limits because of the potential havoc such flights can cause.

“The limits that we are proposing for all three categories are relatively low as unmanned aircraft have the potential to cause substantial harm to those on the ground or to other forms of aviation, regardless of the category of operation in which the flight occurs,” it said.

The DfT is consulting on the proposals as part of a planned overhaul of British airspace laws that would allow for autonomous drones that could deliver online shopping, conduct search and rescue missions and survey buildings.

Drones must not be more than 500 metres away from the pilot and within their line of sight, while flying at a maximum altitude of 120 metres under existing rules.

Simon Dale, the chief executive of FPV UK, the association for drone and model aircraft flying, said that rules already say that pilots must not fly under the influence of alcohol and that he was unaware of any incidents involving drunk drone operators.

“I am somewhat at a loss as to why the DfT is looking to implement these new, more complex rules,” he said.

A DfT spokesman said the Government did not have a timetable on introducing the new rules but would bring forward legislation “when Parliamentary time allows”.


Nothing like getting the facts correct is there.


Indeed! That is what I thought!


Drinking and flying is always a bad idea no matter what.


You’d think the CAA would have thought of this already…

  1. Make sure you’re fit and safe to fly
    Do not drink and fly
    You must not fly when under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol will seriously affect your judgement and ability.

Do not fly under the influence of drugs or medicine
Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking medicines that may affect your ability to operate your drone or model aircraft safely. Do not fly if they advise that your ability to drive a car or operate machinery may be affected.


Well its in the ANO somewhere…many a commercial pilot has been nailed to the wall for smelling of booze when reporting for duty…They also have to carry a spare pair of glasses if they have been prescribed by an optician.
Coud that be the next thing for drone fliers.??

Think the last para nails it tho…when there is time…


Your regular reminder that even in a quieter year in the roads, 2020, there were 115,333 casualties in road accidents, including 1472 deaths.

The same statistics for drones … errrm … probably not even measurable one you get past sliced fingers from hand-catching!


See Future of transport regulatory review: future of flight - GOV.UK for the details of the consultation, which goes well beyond drink-fly limits.

Don’t respond to the consultation while drunk!



1 Like

Whilst this is already covered IMHO - my concern is that the government try to impose further restrictions on flying as a result of this.

This is clearly a document to allow other commercial flights - but might recreational flights get restricted as a result?


Follow the consultation link I posted - it’s very clear they are looking at further restrictions on recreational pilots, certainly the blood alcohol limits but also opening the door to mandatory insurance etc.

1 Like

It’s not like there is anything else going on ;o)


Alcohol is banned in most workplaces. Decisions made under the influence of alcohol can have tragic and irreversible consequences.

There are 30 subsidised bars in the House of Commons …


I agree. I’d had a lot to drink when I asked my wife to marry me. It’s enough to make anyone TeaTotal. :scream:

As for drunk in charge of a drone, I think this is just another move down the road of trying to put people off flying drones. The next thing will be compulsory insurance and possibly eventually a practical test that has to be passed.

I don’t think any sensible drone owner would even think of flying after drinking, any more than responsible car owners drinking and driving.

Sadly both happen

Very good

All drones in sub category A1-A3 must be flown within VLOS their is no specific Horizontal limits, only in relation to how close to people/buildings etc… though if you fly within the specific category with GVC and an OA the CAA will determine the distance allowed. BUT under DMARES point 35 …Flying with Follow me mode active

You do not have to keep your drone or model aircraft in direct sight when follow-me mode is active and set to follow within 50m of you. You must still follow all of the other points.

1 Like

You know compulsory Insurance is going to come in down the line…as sure as god made little green apples…though I do have Public Liability for recreational use of £13m


It kinda already is the case anyway since thats why we all should get BMFA membership. I’d rather have that public liability insurance than not anyway for the price.


I just can’t see how they will enforce that, what about all the whoop flyers out there ?