New from Aylesbury with a few pre-purchase questions

Hi All,
I’m delighted to join and become part of the Grey Arrows community. I’ve been researching getting into recreational droning for a while but haven’t yet purchased - I had sort of settled on a DJI Mini 2 before hearing rumours that a Mini 3 pro was imminent. Since that is now available I am almost ready to go. I’m a keen amateur photographer so am looking forward to taking to the skies, which will add a whole new dimension.

Before I buy, can I just check my understanding of the rules is correct.
Q1. The DJI Mini 3 Pro is <250g and so many of the restrictions don’t apply. So, it appears
a) I don’t need an operator ID or a Flyer ID (although is it still good practice to do so?)
b) I can fly in residential areas
c) I can fly near or even above other people or crowds without specific 50m distance restriction
d) I don’t need any insurance (although it is probably prudent)

But…
e) I obviously need to respect privacy when photographing/filming
f) must not cause annoyance or danger to others
g) even with <250g I still can’t fly in a NFZ (for example, there is a NFZ near me for a small RAF owned light aircraft airfield which extends to cover my local park, even though it is almost two miles away. The NFZ says SFC to 2000ft - does this really mean I can’t even fly a tiny drone on the local park without first getting approval from the controller?)

Q2. Is it worth becoming a member of FPV?

Q3. Are there any other obvious major things I ought to be aware of before jumping in (apart from the practicalities of learning how to fly and how to get the best out of the camera)? What did you wish you knew before you started?

Many thanks in advance, and looking forward to learning lots!

Simon

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Hi @simon2222 and welcome to Grey Arrows :wave:t2:

Have you seen our members map? (Click the burger-menu in the top right) You may find some pilots living near you. :+1:t2:

We’re a well established club with many knowledgeable members so it’s very likely that any issues you come across will have been discussed here before. Our discussion forum has very powerful search features which should help you find what you need but if you get stuck you can post a new question in the #questions-and-answers category.

Looking for recommendations of places to fly? Check out our interactive map on Drone Scene - be sure to log in to gain access to the full suite of features and map layers:

And please feel free to add locations of your own too.

Please also take a moment to look at the Membership Levels section on our FAQ as we’re quite different to other clubs and you’ll be eligible for some rather exclusive club discounts as your membership level increases :blush:

Welcome once again!

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yes, I have added myself to the location map :slight_smile:

… you will need an Operator ID but don’t need a Flyer ID

Screenshot 2022-05-11 at 15.28.27

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Hi Simon
You most definitely can not fly above crowds of people.
Also the Mini 3 is looking like a great drone, but expect glitches for the early adopters, usually things which can be sorted without hardware changes.
Enjoy you new hobby!

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A good way to test out where you want to fly and whether you can do is the Drone Scene Good 2 Go app:

Although for the Mini 3 Pro, you’ll see that it always points to the same answer :-).

Re: FPVUK - for a sub-250g drone, in my view the membership is worth it for the liability insurance, but the Article 16 flight permissions aren’t relevant to you.

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@BarryH Right, so you can fly over people without the need for a 50m distance, but not over a crowd that could not disperse quickly. Is that right?

The CAA website says…
Small drones and model aircraft: below 250g, C0 or C1 class
The rule on minimum distances to people is different when flying small drones and model aircraft that are below 250g, or in C0 or C1 class.
If you’re flying a drone or model aircraft that’s lighter than 250g or is C0 class, you can fly closer to people than 50m and you can fly over them.

@Jhdee Ah OK. I presume it isn’t classed as a toy then :-). Thank you. I’ll get registered

Correct, but personally I wouldn’t fly over uninvolved people at all.

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The Mini 3 is just out. No one has flown it in normal daily usage and DJI have a tendency to release hardware without the software and firmware being fault free. Wait for the model to become established before buying.

Second hand Mini 2 prices will fall, you should be able to pick one up for half the price of a 3, they are still very capable pieces of kit. Save money, buy a 2 and begin to save up for next year’s Mini 4.

FPVUK membership is great value at £20 per year - if only for the £5 million public liability insurance. But it can also lead to Article 16 authorisation - useful for when you get a heavier drone - and it provides you with a voice when it comes to discussing legislation with the regulators.

Investigate loss and damage insurance on your aircraft and decide whether you can take the risk of a total loss and save money by not buying it. Details here If you are buying new or second hand look at DJI care refresh.

Regarding you question about the local park - the best people to give you answers are the ones who control the airspace, contact the ATC at the RAF base and ask whether the BFZ is active 24/7 and what do you need to do to get permissions if required.

Welcome to the best group!
If you’re keen to stay within the rules, complete the Dmares online to understanding the CAA regulations. Cost you around £9 for both ID’s OP ID is required for drones under 250g, if you intend to fly larger later you’ll be needing the FLYER ID.
You’ll be required to display your FLYER id on the drone as a legal registration.
If your intentions are to do paid work, you’ll be needing commercial insurance. The insurance can be pre paid daily to cover you and your equipment.
FPVUK flies under article 16, but still has its own requirements to fly safely but gives you £5,000,000 PLI for £19.00 per year.
Numerous drone hub sites provide A2CofC certification, this gives you a fuller understanding of the laws and regulations and makes you a safer flier.
The rules will inevitably change again at end of this year probably.
All the information you’ll be needing can be found from this club
Even despite its size and weight flying intentionally over crowds of people not in your control is asking for confrontations.
Good luck

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£19 a year! I went for BMFA and pay a lot more than that! Think I’ll be swapping when its renewal time…

It’s a great package price

Hi Simon - it’s a great group, really useful advice here.

My pointers, having only had my first drone, a DJI Mini 2, since last September -

  1. Watch out for wind!
    I started using the UAV Forecast app since an unexpected gust blew it into the branches of a tree and the fall to the ground snapped a strut.
  2. Consider get the DJI insurance - they replaced the drone with no quibble within a week for £45.
  3. If you can afford it go for the Combo when you buy, as it saves you money purchasing a bag/ charger/ spare batteries etc separately, which I ended up doing.
    Enjoy yourself!
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@RobP21 Good advice, thank you Rob

operator id atached to the drone, not flyer. This is because you could be flying drones belonging to a various ooerators so it is their responsibility to keep track of who was flying and at what time in case of an incident, plus if there was a fly away the drone should be returned to the owner/operator as the flyer isn’t necessarily the owner.

Yes your correct I wrote that wrong, should’ve check before misleading that bit of information, thanks :disappointed:

Hi Simon, although Brum based now I’m originally from Aylesbury and will be back there a fair bit over the next few months at weekend. I’ve fairly recently bought a Mini 2 myself and I’m more than happy to meet you if you wanted to take it for a spin somewhere nearby if it helps with the decision process.

I’ve just handed my money to DJI for a Mini 3. If you get one I would be happy to share beginners experience. I am local to you so our paths may cross.