So flying in a turbine field permissions and everything sorted. Then out of the blue pops a guy with his dog. I’ve seen him before and realised he’s part of Devon and Cornwall police drone unit.

Anyway chatting to him he said the law is you can’t fly your drone 120meters above sea level. I reply that’s horse s***. For example the place I live it’s 500 above sea level. So just taking off in my garden would be classed as law breaking.

He said that’s the law and if you don’t like the rules sell your equipment and find a new hobby.

This is horse S*** right???

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As an ex police officer with over 30 years service I am still amazed by police officers who are self appointed ‘experts’ just because they might have done a short course on something. If he is part of a specialist police drone unit then he is clearly in need of some additional/refresher training as clearly his knowledge is significantly lacking. The limit in the UK is 120 metres (about 400 feet) above ground level (i.e. AGL), not above sea level, so yes, once again a police officer demonstrates his ‘professionalism’ by coming out with, as you say, horseshit!

It matters not where the pilot is, the 120 metres AGL is measured from where the aircraft is, i.e. from the ground up to the aircraft. So when you fly from home 500 (Metres/feet you don’t say) you are perfectly OK. But be aware that if you take off from, say, the top of a valley, again say 500 feet above sea level, and fly over the valley floor you will immediately have to descend to maintain that 120m AGL limit.

Hope this helps.


Yes, very!

For the exact reasons @BCF listed above :+1:

Let’s hope the same police officer doesn’t go for his PPL … his misunderstanding could kill him!

Oh, wait … let’s hope he does! :wink:

So he used the example that if I took off from a cliff of 300ft and went over the sea I’d have to drop down to 120meters which would put me somewhere half way up the cliff.

Even the maths on that don’t work!

Take-off = 300ft = ~95m … so no problem on his idiotic/inaccurate/fake-news basis.

Basically, ignore him … or report him to the police for harassment … :wink:

Last month I went on the Devon, Dorset and Cornwall Police Drone Unit’s “Safer Drones” training and they spent time on this topic, their interpretation was the height was from take off location, not sea level or ground level.

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I have to say it’s an interpretation I support! :+1:

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The Devon etc Done Unit are completely wrong in their understanding of the 120m limit. The Air Navigation Order makes it extremely clear that it is an AGL limit in relation to the drone’s position. A little research on YouTube would educate them. Indeed the ANO 2016 states not to fly more than “400 feet above the surface” - I.e. below the drone.

If, as per their understanding, the height limit was related to the take-off position and you lived, say, on a mountainside/hillside/valley side at 1000 ft above the surrounding land, then you could legally fly 1400 ft above the land below for as far as your drone can fly. Total bollocks!

The purpose of the 120m/400ft AGL limit for drones is to provide a 100ft minimum buffer or safety zone between your drone and airplanes who are limited to a general minimum of 500 ft AGL (except for landing). In my example above you would put yourself in conflict with aircraft from 400 -1000 ft. - Drone Code page 2.

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The probable source of “confusion” between AGL and ATO is that our drones that have a height limit all implement that limit in relation to take off … since detailed topographic information would be needed to do otherwise.

Thank you to everyone that commented really useful information. I’ll be carrying on at my 400ft limit as normal.

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That’s only for UAS weight over 7kgs.

For our hobby drones (well most of them) the drone has to be in VLOS and the pilot capable of seeing the drone and any obstacles around it.

So taking off from top of hill/valley, as long as you can see the drone and what is around it, you are doing nothing illegal

Please see the following source: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2016/765/article/94/made


@RaRaRasputin - thank you, I stand corrected. I missed the 7kg weight limit in the ANO.

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loving the drawing, a picture worth 1000 words!

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We need a GADC logo in that picture.

Then we need that picture accepted in to the next government legislation document :rofl:


My missus said they look like wolves in sheep’s clothing

I recon PingSpike would be a hell of a lot closer to the back of them sheep …



Should have spoken to the dog you’d have got more sense.


Are they flocking off.

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So I need to do some flying inside that zone. Where it says Mawgan Porth. Now this area is an ATZ zone due to Newquay airport being on top of the cliff above but I have been reading a ton of CAA rules and regs since my little meeting with the officer and his dog and found this.

CAP 722 UAV operations UK
1.36 Under ANO 2009 Article 166, operators of SUA with a mass of 7 kg or less are not required to gain an NSF approval from Air Traffic Control (ATC) to operate within Class A, C, D or E airspace or within an active ATZ. However ANO Article 166 states that a person in charge of a SUA ‘may only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made’ and that they ‘must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft … for the purpose of avoiding collisions’.

So what I am saying is if I follow the drone code and the fact my inspire is a lovely 4kg (she likes to eat not her fault) I’m within the law??

Thanks again people.