Where do you feel comfortable flying?

Hi mates,
After one year flying drones (both Mavic and FPV self-build), I can say I’m still not comfortable. Not for the flight itself, but for the flying locations.
I moved to England 5 years and 1/2 ago, and I have troubles understanding what rules are important and what rules are not.

First example: there are several footpaths in my area where it is explicitly written bicycles are forbidden. Guess what, it’s full of cyclists. Not just people going to work, but whole families. And no-one cares.
Second example: there are fields where it is mandatory to keep dogs on leads. Guess what, all the dogs run around free as birds :slight_smile:
Third example: I can often see photographers trespassing into fields to take pictures of animals.

Here is my problem: as parks are normally full of people and dogs (probably even due to the pandemic) regardless of the time of the day - yes, I see people walking the dog on Sunday at 7 am - and I’d like to stay within the rules, I can’t find a suitable place to fly.
Footpaths are quite busy; all the fields are surrounded by barbed wires - even the ones apparently not used for animal feeding or farming, and all the gates locked with padlocks.
I’m from Italy, where the open spaces are… really open and I’m struggling to understand what to do.
As every piece of land is taken, it seems to me that the rights of ownership are pushed to the limit.

Edit: don’t forget the business car parks empty over the week end! There’s one next to me with a big banner “we are watching you”. Damn, it’s empty! It’s Sunday! Relax yourself!

What’re your thoughts on this?

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Your two friends are these sites, along with NATs Drone Assist, even if you feel other rules are being broken, it’s best not to stretch them for yourself, especially when flying.

I always research areas too, in case of any bye laws that may have been implemented.

Once you get out there and fly a few times you’ll build your confidence in where you can go and there are plenty of places to fly across the uk, although I imagine Italy is nicer :grin:


Probably your first mistake. :joy:

That only increases my assessment of the magnitude of the mistake! … being someone who would be living in Puglia within hours of a significant Euromillions win.

I’m sure you have excellent reasons to be in the UK. :+1:

Understanding the idiosyncrasies of other cultures is never easy. I’ve fallen foul a few times in the USA, over the many visits I’ve made over the last 50 years.
In the twice that I ended up in jail, only once was it a bit pricey to get out.

I’ve heard the Italian murmurings when asking for a cappuccino late in the afternoon and, in a campsite, I’ve been reprimanded by an adorable nonna from the adjacent motor home when I plated the pasta and then added the sauce. :scream:

But, returning to your question, I’m damned if I can think of an easy way to explain when to, and when not to, apply the British laissez faire interpretations of the various signs.

Personally, from the reports of many, the random and absurdly negative reactions from some of the public and those that mistakenly think they have certain rights to tell you to stop flying … is the bigger minefield. (Not something personally encountered in the UK. And my “policeman” instance in Ragusa, Sicilia, ended up being quite entertaining.)

Good luck! :+1:


My aim with flying is really to do it safely. Obey the rules , don’t ignore the bye laws but have a look at the area you want to fly in …if it’s usually empty (and not part of a no fly zone etc) then I would probably fly there …if it’s busy/built up then don’t …

I think it’s all about balance but safety has to be key …

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:joy: :rofl:


Thanks, I know where I CAN fly (I’ve even got the A2 C of C last year): legally nowhere if I want to do it just for fun.

I can’t take-off from a footpath without the owner consense, I can’t take-off from public streets because of safety concerns (people and cars passing by), I can’t take-off from my backyard as too close to other buildings. I can’t fly in parks as full of kids and dogs trying to catch my quads, not over the National Trust or Heritage (I know this is being discussed in another thread but anyway I still have the take-off problem written above), I can’t fly in car parks over the weekend as private properties.

Details of where you CAN fly are shown above. Others manage to fly despite the regs and bye-laws…and if you come across any notices saying that youi cant do this that or the other then obey them.


I live in central London and can get within 30mins to an hour out of the city and normally find somewhere secluded away from people.

Parks are always tricky, but if it’s only 1 or 2 people you won’t have any issues just don’t fly over them.

There are plenty of places you can fly though without any bother at all

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I find an OS map useful - Bing maps has an OS overlay. I tend to look for nearby fields with rights of way (bridleway/footpath) running through it. You usually don’t have to travel more than about a mile or two from a populated area before these footpaths or bridleways are completely deserted of people. The tricky thing for me is then making sure that if I have to go retrieve my FPV quad, if it failsafes or crashes for any number of reasons, that it hasn’t come down somewhere inaccessible - that’s my biggest worry. Generally, if a path runs through the middle of a field then that field is usually physically accessible (if not 100% legally) should you need to subtly retrieve a downed quad. If it runs along the edge of a field then adjacent fields are usually fenced off so I’m cautious to avoid those if I can. Sattelite imagery and some general exploration help with that.

I agree, though, there is very little free space in England, it’s usually all accounted for in some way or another. I enjoy hiking, bikepacking and wild camping and face similar issues. Things are a bit more open and relaxed in Scotland and Wales and I get very jealous when I see video of miles and miles of open wasteland in parts of the USA and others around the world.

I was quite anxious about the same issues as you when I first got into this but am a bit more relaxed now I’ve flown in a few different spots. Once lockdown ends and the weather improves, I’d like to head somewhere a bit more remote (Peak District or similar) for some proper remote flying in spectaular scenery, well away from everything and everyone.

Roughly where are you based in the UK?


I know what you mean, becuase of the covid lockdowns all the open spaces (that are interesting) are full of people walking around. I regularly find myself only getting 15mins flight time from an hours flying doe to another dog walker walking within 50m of where I’m flying, it should get better again as the lighter evenings come back as it will spread out the walkers and give us more time to fly.
I’ve taken the view that if it’s a public footpath then you have the right for access and therefore, so long as there’s no other byelaws or notices, the right to TOAL, otherwise you’d spend your whole life tracking down the owner of the land and requesting permission, which they’ll likely say no to as it’s easier than saying yes!


Thanks Jase, you got the point. I live in Berkshire.
There was a nice open field next to me, but now Bellway is building 250 new houses :frowning:
There was another spot I used to enjoy and the owner has closed the gate with a padlock (even if it’s always been unused).

There was another spot I used to enjoy and the owner has closed the gate with a padlock (even if it’s always been unused).

Probably afraid of fly tippers more than anything else …not that a padlock will stop them…

On the original question, anywhere with the exception of Dubai, the drone has been 3 times and stayed in the bag every time, mainly because I’ve always stayed with family or friends out there and me getting lifted could jeopardise their visa/residency.

Saying that there are some great videos on youtube of folks flying there.

I feel the same. I am very new to drone flying, and have 2 (not sure why I bought the second) Tiny Hawk 2’s which I’ve played with a bit around the house. I have a Radiomaster TX16S, and some cheap analogue goggles, which seem to do the job well.

So all I’ve done is fly around the house, whilst fun, lot’s of bumping and hard to master the manual control (I have spent a fair bit of time on a few sims too). My friends and family aren’t interested in spotting with me so I feel trying FPV outside would be risky (didn’t look like andreab had a spotter in his youtube videos). Loads of farmers fields, etc around near where I am (central Cheshire). Could avoid animals quite easily, but with no spotter… hmmm.

I would love love love to build and learn how to make larger drones, and get into the FPV (possibly digital going forward), but I can’t see to find clubs locally, so I’m just frustrated. Can you make the self builds dual mode FPV, and more of a LOS stable fliers, I guess you can. My goggles can detach to be just a screen. Just so new, but so confused as to how not to get into trouble. I’ve been reading around forums like this for months, but yet to take it outside!

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TH2 is small and silent, I don’t think anybody really cares :wink:

My spotter is almost always there (usually hidden behind trees/bushes to avoid the freezing wind).
I don’t have a spotter when I (used to) fly in the field next to my house.

Heh watched a few of your videos where you landed on a mat and flew through pylons, and didn’t notice a spotter. Whats the risks of that. I dunno. Just wish could find someone interested locally… :frowning:

I don’t think there is any risk with small quads, that’s why I also fly a 2.5 inch freestyle and a couple of 95mm and 85mm whoops. The main concern is to spot them when you crash as normally there is no buzzer installed.
Regarding the spotter, well I married one :slight_smile:
When we go out for a walk over the weekend we account for a 15/20 minutes flight time.


Well the TH2 to actually have a buzzer (which is useful when it goes behind/under sofas in the house), just very keen to fly the thnigs outside, and then look to make bigger ones.

Hmm marry a spotter, that’s a great idea, anyone know one of those available? :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Good work, well done.

All depends what I’m flying.
If I am flying the Mavic 2 Pro or Zoom, or Mini 2, or MA2 I would say standing.
If I am flying FPV I would say sitting or leaning.

Wait wait, you are on about feeling comfortable when flying aren’t you?


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