What happens to my drone after the 1st of January 2023?

The new drone laws (not so new now!) are still causing more than their fair share of confusion, so we thought that we would put pen to paper, and in doing so hopefully make things a bit more straightforward.

The new class ratings for unmanned aircraft are due to come into effect on the 1st of January 2023 and will affect where unmanned aircraft can be flown within the open category and its subcategories.

We are currently in a transitional period that features the following timeline:

From 1 January 2023 new drones will have to meet a set of product standards, and some may do before this date. These will be classed from C0 to C4, based on the weight and capability of the drone, and will determine how and where you can fly.

  • Drones classed C0 or C1 can be flown in the open A1 subcategory

  • Drones classed C2 can be flown in the A2 or A3 subcategory - but if flying in ‘A2’ you must pass the A2 theory exam (A2 Certificate of Competency or ‘A2 CofC’)

  • Drones classed as C3 and C4 can only be flown in the A3 sub-category

Until January 2023 if your drone doesn’t have a class marking, you may fly it in the following categories:

  • Drones under 250g can be flown in the A1 subcategory (there are also some exceptions for drones up to 500g too).

  • Drones less than 2kg can be flown in A2 subcategory, but you must keep at least 50 meters away from people and pass the A2 theory exam (A2 Certificate of Competency or ‘A2 CofC’). If you have not passed the A2 theory exam, you may only fly these drones in the A3 subcategory.

  • Drones of 2kg or greater may only be flown in the A3 subcategory.

After 1 January 2023, you can continue to fly a ‘legacy’ unmarked drone in the following categories:

  • Drones under 250g can continue to be flown in the A1 subcategory.

  • All other drones must only be used in the A3 subcategory.

If you have a transitional category aircraft (anything without a C classification) from the 1st of January 2023 will need to be operated in the A3 category (150m away from uninvolved persons) or in the A1 category if under 250g.

Those working under an Operational Authorisation within the specific category (predominantly GVC certification holders) will be able to continue using their existing fleet of aircraft.

Recreational flyers can continue to use legacy drones under Article 16 if they are a member of an appropriate association and can meet the applicable conditions.

If you have any questions concerning the new regulations feel free to give the ProDrone academy team a call on 01353 780766 or email ian@prodroneacademy.co.uk

For more detailed information visit this link to the CAA website and check out the various available fact sheets

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