Drone Pilots

Drone Rule Changes?

As of December 31st 2020 anyone flying a drone will need to comply with the new EU and UK drone rules.

A C0 Class Drone is part of the new classification for drones, under the A1 Open Category.

The new rules simplify the way drones are classified, to ensure all operators understand what is legally required of them.

Read more to find out how a C0 Drone is defined under these new regulations as it may depend how the manufacturer is promoting the drone for sale.

C0 Drone Classification

Drones are subdivided into three sub-categories based on how you intend to use the drone and the level of risk involved.

These categories are:

OPEN

Requires no authorisation from the CAA. Covers low-risk drone flights that involve a light drone or take place in a largely unpopulated area.

SPECIFIC

Requires authorisation from the CAA. The CAA defines this category as ‘operations that present a greater risk than that of the Open category, or where one or more elements of the operation fall outside the boundaries of the Open category.’

CERTIFIED

Requires no authorisation from the CAA. Covers low-risk drone flights that involve a light drone or take place in a largely unpopulated area.

Each of these sub-categories have its own set of requirements and for the purpose of this page we are only looking at the C3 Drone.

a1

Fly over people but not over a group of people

A2

 Fly close to people

A3

Fly far from people

The new drone rules do not distinguish between recreational and commercial use. These categories will apply no matter whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional flyer.

C0 Drone Registration

You DO NOT need to register if the drone or model aircraft you’ll fly is one of the following:

A toy below 250g or in C0 class

C0 class with no camera, whether it’s a toy or not

Below 250g with no camera and no class mark, whether it’s a toy or not

Drone Operator Registration WILL be required if the C0 drone has a camera or sensor on board and the drone is not a toy.

C0 Drone Training

For C0 Drones you do not need to take any training but are advised to observer The Drone and Model Aircraft Code

The main points of interest are:

Fly below 120m (400ft).

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.

Always keep your drone or model aircraft in direct sight and make sure you have a full view of the surrounding airspace.

You’re responsible for flying safely whenever you fly

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Small drones and model aircraft: below 250g, C0 Drone

You can fly closer than 50m to people who are with you and who are involved in what you’re doing, such as friends, family or colleagues out flying with you. But always remember, you must never put anyone in danger.

When you’re thinking about how close you can fly, remember, you must never put people in danger. Even small drones and model aircraft could injure people if you don’t fly them safely.

You can fly small drones and model aircraft that are lighter than 250g, or C0 drone, in residential, recreational, commercial and industrial areas.

Identifying a C0 Drone Class

As of January 1st 2023, each drone sold will be required to show the identification class of that drone with a label on drone.

These classifications are:

c0 class mark

C0 Class

c1 class mark

C1 Class

c2 class mark

C2 Class

c3 class mark

C3 Class

c4 class mark

C4 Class

The exception to the rule will be self-built drones. These drones will be classified by the weight.

As the class mark is not likely to be on drones currently sold, you will need to use the general guide or the table below to see where your drone fits and then comply with the relevant countries regulation.

Your drone or model aircraft is likely to be a toy and a C0 Drone if:

The manufacturer or store you bought the drone from describes it as a toy.

You bought the drone from a toy department or retailer.

The drone is marked as suitable for below age 14 or a younger age group.

The drone was advertised or packaged to attract children.

Why is all of this information important?

The new drone rules have provided the police with greater policing powers over drone users. You will have to show your drone registration details, if the police consider that a drone is being flown illegally or in an unsafe manner.

The police will be able to seize your drone, and you could be prosecuted.

Drone users who do not register or take the competency test can face unlimited fines or up to five years in prison.

The following information provides a break down of the guidance in terms of drone classification.

c0 drone classification guide

C0 Drone Insurance

Insurance is not compulsory if you’re flying recreationally.

It is worth considering that you may be liable should your drone cause damage or injury.

Some form of insurance is compulsory if you are flying for commercial purposes.

This insurance must be EC785/2004 compliant to utilise drones in the Open or Specific categories.