New drone regulations came into force in the UK on 30th November 2019 and they require anyone who is flying a drone weighing between 250g and 20Kg to sign-up to the CAA’s register. There are two elements to this as both the drone and the operator needs to be registered.
Drone Operator ID and Registration
Individuals, organisations and companies can register as a drone operator and the cost is £9. This is renewed annually. Registration generates an operator ID number that must be displayed on any of the operator’s drones.
Follow the link to register as drone operator and obtain a flier ID.
The operator ID has to be visible from the outside of the drone, or within a compartment that can easily be accessed without using a tool – the inside of the battery compartment is a good location for some drones.
The writing also needs to be clear and in block capitals taller than 3mm.
Drone Flyer ID and Registration
Anyone who flies a drone weighing 250g to 20Kg in the UK must pass an online test to get a flyer ID. It’s free to take this test and the ID is valid for 3 years.
Fortunately, the CAA doesn’t just expect you to know all the legal requirements of flying a drone and there’s some helpful online training available on the CAA website.
The test is multiple choice with 20 questions and the pass mark is 16, but you can retake the test if you fail.
While children and adults must pass the test to obtain their flyer ID, children under 13 cannot register as a drone operator and their parent or guardian must do so.
Do I need to Register the DJI Mavic Mini?
Cannily, the DJI Mavic Mini weighs 249g, which means it scrapes in under to the 250g bar. However, 249g is the normal take-off weight, if you add any extras such as the propeller guards or longer landing gear it takes the weight above the cut-off and you need register as an operator and a flyer.
It’s likely that even adding an ND filter to the DJI Mavic Mini’s camera will take its take-off weight to over 250g.
The DJI / Ryze Tello weighs just 80g so it does not need to be registered.
DJI’s other recent small drones, the Spark and Mavic Air weigh 300g and 480g respectively, so they must be registered.
If you hold a current PfCO (permission for commercial flight) from the CAA, you don’t need to obtain a flier’s ID.
In addition, current members of the ARPAS-UK, British Model Flying Association (BMFA), Scottish Aeromodellers’ Association (SAA) or Large Model Association (LMA) and FPV UK do not need to register as an operator as the associations will collect the registration fee from them and supply their data to the CAA.
Also, you do not need to register if your drone is only flown indoors.You can purchase the DJI Mavic Mini from DJI.com or from retailers such as B&H Photo Video and Adorama in the US or from Wex Photo Video and Park Cameras.