Illegal BVLOS, I’m not doing any harm am I!

These are the words that I noted within some of the forums on Facebook yesterday (Yes, the word Mini was in the groups name!) It always frustrates those of us who have been around a while when we see blatantly illegal flights posted in some of the drone groups on Facebook. In this particular instance, the original poster was asking about what the legal limits where when it came to operating UAV’s of below 250g, this was followed by people identifying themselves as having flown ‘2 miles out and about 2 miles high’ and various mentions of ‘I don’t care im not doing any harm’ and ‘I don’t give a f***’ I believe in a lot of cases the last statement is true!

So what does the law actually say about BVLOS with a drone of under 250g? Well, the answer is that it says the same as it does for aircraft of up to 25kg!

Open category operations are bounded by three main factors:

• the maximum take-off mass/flying weight of the unmanned aircraft must be less

than 25kg.

• the unmanned aircraft must be operated within VLOS (unless operating in

accordance with the procedure described at A1.1.1 specifically using an unmanned aircraft observer, the observer must maintain VLOS); and

• the unmanned aircraft must not be flown further than 400 feet (120 metres) from

the closest point of the surface of the earth.

VLOS is something that varies depending upon the size of the aircraft in question, the atmospheric conditions and the visual acuity of the remote pilot. For the Mini 2 VLOS is anywhere between 30m and 70m.

Here are 5 reasons why flying BVLOS is a BAD idea!

1.See and avoid: See and avoid is recognized as one of the best ways of avoiding airborne collisions, It requires that the remote pilot must maintain visual line of sight of both the aircraft and surrounding airspace to facilitate collision avoidance.

2.Airspace Classification: A BVLOS flight conducted by a hobbyist is most likely unplanned, with no airspace or NOTAMS checks carried out to check for any types of restriction, presenting opportunities for accidents to occur.

3.Field of View: Many of the operators who carry out these flights are convinced they are safe because they can see out of the camera. You cannot however see above, to the port, starboard or aft of the aircraft.

4.Reacting to Emergencies: Fire in the air? Engine failure? GPS Failure? What can you do about any of these if the aircraft Is 2 miles away? The answer is nothing

5.It’s a Criminal Offence! In the Air Navigation Order (Amendment) 2020, article 265 details what constitutes committal of an offence. Flying too high and too far is absolutely included. The financial penalties can be very severe, and if you endanger an aircraft can include time at her majesties pleasure! Be under no illusion, people are being find and cautioned and some have had aircraft confiscated.

In an industry that already has its fair share of detractors, the last thing we need are collisions, incidents and accidents.

Fly safe, fly legal and fly sensible!

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