No-fly zone for drones to be extended at UK airports

No-fly zone for drones to be extended at UK airports

Extended no-fly zone banning drones from 5km of runways to come into force next month.

Last updated: Mar 11, 2021

4 minute read

An extended no-fly zone for drones around UK airports is to come into force next month.

Yesterday, the Government announced that new legislation to ban UAVs from flying within 5km of runways will begin on Wednesday, March 13.

The enlarged zone will better protect the UK’s airports from those misusing drones, the Government has said.

The law is clear that flying a drone near an airport is a serious criminal act. We’re now going even further and extending the no-fly zone to help keep our airports secure and our skies safe. Anyone flying their drone within the vicinity of an airport should know they are not only acting irresponsibly, but criminally, and could face imprisonment

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

It is already against the law to fly a drone above 400 feet.

From November 30, 2019, it will be a legal requirement for all owners of drones weighing 250 grams or more to register their drone with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and complete an online safety test. Drone pilots who fail to register and sit the tests will face fines of up to £1,000.

Drone detection at airports

The no-fly zone extension - from 1km to 5km - follows the disruption at Gatwick - allegedly caused by a UAV - in December. The incident thrust the issue of defending against drone attacks into the spotlight.

heliguy™ is an expert in drone detection, specialising in DJI's AeroScope solution

Following the Gatwick incident, heliguy™ has been a key drone-detection partner, installing and testing AeroScope at a number of major UK airports as well as putting the sites’ existing defence systems through their paces.

An AeroScope system 

This vital work with leading airports comes on the back of heliguy™ showcasing the specialist AeroScope system at Operation Zenith, which was a world-first demonstration to test how drones and traditional aircraft can safely share the same airspace.

Two versions of AeroScope are available, either portable or fixed, meaning the defence can be used not just to cover static locations, but also as a portable tool when additional control over airspace is needed.

The DJI AeroScope system is a sophisticated and comprehensive platform that rapidly identifies UAV communication links, gathering real-time information such as flight status, paths, serial number, speed, direction and home position, as well as the make and model of the drone.

This monitoring data stream helps AeroScope users make an informed response and security decision as soon as possible.

To take drone detection to the next level and to have a comprehensive and all-encompassing strategy, a layered solution is an extremely effective cause of action. We have an exclusive partnership with Operational Solutions (OSL) to offer an incredibly capable setup.

Harnessing the power of multiple systems - including DJI AeroScope - this integrated approach offers a complete detection package.

This integrated solution features AeroScope, working in tandem with the OSL Face interface - a one-stop-shop piece of visual software. This intelligent platform integrates all radars onto one map.

To take your drone defence even further, the advanced Robin ELVIRA can be integrated into this layered solution and is the final piece in the jigsaw. ELVIRA is a purpose-built drone detection and tracking tool, combining smart software with affordable radar, offering a large coverage area.

For more information about Heliguy's drone-detection solutions, click here.

Other measures to promote safe drone use 

As part of yesterday's no-fly zone announcement, the Government stated that work to progress a new Drones Bill is under way and will be introduced in due course.

It will give police officers powers to stop and search people suspected of using drones maliciously above 400ft or within 5km of an airport.

It will also give additional new powers to the police to clamp down on those misusing drones and other small unmanned aircraft — including the power to access electronic data stored on a drone with a warrant.

"Extending stop and search to include drones will help police tackle disruption like the recent misery we saw at UK airports, when travel was ruined for thousands of innocent passengers, and bring those responsible to justice.

"Police are clear that stop and search is one of the most powerful tools they have to target and disrupt crime and I remain committed to giving them all the support they need to protect the public."

Home Secretary Sajid Javid

To increase public awareness about the rules around flying drones, the Government is working with the CAA on a national campaign to help educate the public about responsible drone use, including issuing a digital toolkit to airports to help them raise awareness of the new rules.

The Home Office is also reviewing the UK’s approach to countering the malicious use of drones, and will consider how best to protect the full range of the UK’s critical national infrastructure — including testing and evaluating technology to counter drones.

Know the rules, know the Dronecode

The CAA’s Dronecode provides advice on how to fly your drone safely and follow the rules at all times. This includes:

Tim Johnson, Policy Director at the CAA, said: "It is illegal to fly drones close to airports and anyone flouting the rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment. Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations. The rules for flying drones are designed to keep all airspace users safe.

"The CAA’s Dronecode provides advice on how to fly your drone safely and follow the rules. you can see it at"

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