Monday 14 October 2019

Getting a drone in your Christmas stocking? Fly through these rules first

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has launched a campaign to raise awareness around the safe operation of drones, as the popularity of the technology grows.

Since the introduction of the Small Unmanned Aircraft and Rockets Order in December 2015, the IAA has registered over 8,000 drones and model aircraft.

The order - which currently governs the use of drones in Ireland - requires all drones weighing over 1kg to be registered with the IAA.

Unregistered drones weighing less than 1kg are restricted to operating at a height restriction of 50 feet.

"Drone use is continuing to grow at a rapid rate in Ireland. We want to highlight to all drone users that they must abide by the law and operate their drones in a safe and responsible manner," Ralph James, IAA Director of Safety regulation said.

"Ultimately, drone users must understand that they are legally responsible for the safe conduct of each drone flight, so the onus is on the drone user to inform themselves of the rules and regulations surrounding drone use before they take to the skies."

According to the IAA, it is neither safe or legal to operate drones;


•             Near airports

•             Within restricted areas surrounding airfields & aerodromes

•             If a drone is or will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight

•             In military-controlled airspace or other restricted areas (e.g. prisons)

•             For flights 400ft (120m) above ground level or 50ft (15m) in certain airspace

•             Farther than 300 metres from the controller or outside a controller’s direct line of sight

•             Within 30 metres of any person, vessel, vehicle or structure not under your direct control

•             Over a group of more than 12 people (e.g. concerts, sporting events, group gatherings, parades)

•             In a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger life or cause damage to the property of others


The IAA encourages owners to take a drone user course and advises that any unauthorised use of drones may be referred to gardai for investigation.

A number of other initiatives as regards the safe use of drones has been lobbied by the IAA including the No-Drone-Zone campaigns at both Cork and Dublin Airport.

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