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 C1 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 C1 Drone is defined under these new regulations.

C1 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 authorisation from the CAA. The CAA defines this category as ‘operations that present an equivalent risk to that of manned aviation; because of this they are subjected to the same regulatory regime (i.e. certification of the unmanned aircraft, certification of the UAS operator, licensing of the remote pilot).’

Each of these sub-categories have its own set of requirements and for the purpose of this page we are only looking at the C1 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.

C1 Drone Registration

If the drone you purchased is above 250g and below 900g then it is deemed to be a C1 drone and you will be required to register for a Flyer ID and an Operator ID.

Below 900g or in C1 class

Flyer ID required

Operator ID required

C1 Drone Training

For C1 Drones you need to pass the CAA’s official theory test and observer The Drone and Model Aircraft Code

The main points are:

Flyer ID

You must pass the CAA’s official theory test to get a Flyer ID

Operator ID

The operator is usually the person or organisation that owns the drone or model aircraft.

If you’re younger than 18 you must ask your parent or guardian to register for an operator ID. You’ll still be able to fly as long as you have a flyer ID.

Drone and Model Aircraft Code

Observer the code for flying drones, model aeroplanes, model gliders, model helicopters, and other unmanned aircraft systems outdoors in the Open A1 and A3 categories

Identifying a C1 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.

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.

c1 drone classification

C1 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.