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Flying High

Irish Aviation Authority warns drone users to follow the rules or face 'very serious consequences'

There are a number of regulations associated with using drones in Ireland and they must be registered with the IAA.

THE IRISH AVIATION Authority has warned there will be serious consequences for anyone using drones but not following regulations, including possible prosecution, ahead of the Christmas period. 

The IAA said there are risks associated with the devices which have become popular gifts for children and adults at this time of they year. 

Over the past four years, the number of drones registered in Ireland has almost trebled from 5,000 in December 2015, to almost 14,000 this year. 

All drones must be registered with the IAA which sets and enforces regulations in this area. 

“Worldwide we have seen an upsurge in the use of drones and this is set to continue, Peter Kearney, CEO of the IAA said. 

“But drones are not like any other toy. They can have very serious consequences if they collide with a person, an animal, an aircraft or many other objects. Therefore, if you do get a drone this Christmas, you need to know the rules so that you can fly it safely,” he added. 

The IAA outlined a number of tips to ensure the devices are used appropriately but the IAA’s CEO has told members of the public who witness drones being flown incorrectly to report them to gardaí, which he said could lead to prosecution of offenders. 

All drones weighing 1kg or more must be registered with the authority, while those weighing less than this are permitted to be flown without a permit but no more than 15 metres above ground level, and no further than 300 metres from the operator. 

“Thankfully the vast majority of drone users are compliant with the regulations,” Kearney said. 

“But if you do see anyone not complying with the regulations, we would encourage you to contact your local garda station. Reckless use of a drone or inappropriate use of a drone camera may result in prosecution.”

It is illegal to fly a drone within 5km of an airport in Ireland. Last year, airports across the world including Heathrow and Gatwick in London were forced to ground flights after drones were sighted flying too close to the them on several occasions.

Earlier this year, The National Civil Aviation Threat and Risk Group in Ireland met, at the request of Transport Minister Shane Ross, to discuss potential drone activity near Irish airports.

The 10 tips outlined by IAA to avoid infringement on any the regulations are:

  • Fly your drone no higher than 120 metres
  • Make sure you can see your drone when flying
  • Do not fly your drone over an assembly of 12 or more people, such as a parade, a concert or sports event
  • Do not fly your drone within 5km of an airport or military controlled airspace.
  • Do not fly within 30 metres of a person, vehicle, vessel or structure not under your direct control
  • Do not operate your drone outside of your direct line of sight
  • Do not fly your drone in a restricted area such as a prison or military installation
  • Always seek permission from the landowner for take-off and landing
  • If your drone is over 1kg, make sure you register it on the IAA website
  • Drone safety is your responsibility. Never operate your drone in a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property of others

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