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Getting a drone for Christmas? What you need to know about the new rules

Between 4 –5,000 drones are thought to already be in use in Ireland.

Image: Irish Aviation Authority

JUST AS DRONES are being wrapped up under Christmas trees across the country, new rules on their use are set to come into force on Monday.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) regulations include a new mandatory registration system for drones, aimed at reducing their safety risks.

Here’s what you need to know.

Do I need to register my drone?

All drones weighing a kilo or more have to be registered.

This includes the weight of the battery and all attached equipment.

How do I register?

You can register it in a two-step process on the IAA website at www.iaa.ie/drones.

First, you need to sign up with Asset, the IAA’s online terrain mapping system.

You can then register with the IAA through the Asset system.

Does my age matter?

You need to be over 16 to register. Drones operated by anyone younger than 16 have to be registered by a parent or legal guardian.

Should I register my model aircraft?

The rules treat model aircraft in the same way as drones, meaning any weighing a kilo or more must be registered.

What am I allowed to do with my drone?

The new legislation bans people from using drones:

  • if it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight;
  • over an assembly of people;
  • farther than 300m from the operator;
  • within 120m of any person, vessel or structure not under the operator’s control;
  • closer than 5km from an aerodrome;
  • over 400ft (120m) above ground level;
  • over urban areas;
  • in civil- or military-controlled airspace;
  • in restricted areas (military installations, prisons, etc);
  • unless they have permission from the landowner for takeoff and landing.

Do I need a qualification to operate a drone?

You don’t – as long as you keep within the limits set out above – but the IAA recommends that anyone who plans to use a drone takes a course of safety training.

What if I want to fly my drone outside the limits of the regulations?

You’ll need to get specific permission from the IAA.

Read: Amazon gives us a clearer look at how its drones are going to work

Read: Soon robots will be able to see the world the same way we do

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