The Gatwick Incident and Flying Drones In The UK in 2019.

Will the new Drone Laws After The Gatwick Incident Affect Future Pilots?

Quite recently, over the past few years, there has been an upsurge in the drone technology as drones have gained very massive popularity and are still becoming more popular by the day. Today, it isn’t really a strange sight to see a drone fly over your head in an open space, especially in the UK.

But then, just as it is with every other technology advancement and most good things, the advancement and evolution of drone have not failed to bring along a few disadvantages and risks although most of them are dependent on where and how the drones are flown.

The Gatwick Incident

Just recently, one of such high drone risks occurred in the Gatwick airport and because of the incident, the UK authorities have considered tweaking the laws regulating how and where drones can be flown, making it a bit more stringent.

Mid last year, the Gatwick airport came to a standstill as drones were seen flying around its airfield. This incident caused chaos and created many confusions that caused the delay of thousands of passengers who became stranded, with many of them having their flights redirected in the end.

Yet again, on the 19 of December last year, an incident involving drones occurred in the same Gatwick airport which brought the airport to a standstill again for about two days, till the 21st of December 2018. This time, more than a hundred thousand passengers at the airport were affected by the incident.

These recurring drone incidents in the Gatwick Airport and some other busy airports in the UK have caused the UK authorities to continuously review the laws regulating flying of drones in the UK to become more stringent and to also tighten the enforcement. Today, any drone flier who endangers an aircraft by flying his drone above 120 meters as close as 1km around any airport or airfield might be risking about five years in prison. Thus, if you have the intention of becoming a drone flier or you are already one, it is necessary to brush up on the drone flying law in the UK again.

Not to worry, however, the new drone flying rules will be discussed in this article. So, if you are interested in knowing where and how you can safely fly a drone in the UK, all you have to do is read on.

The New Drone Rules In UK

The new ‘Drone Code’ was set in place during the summer of 2018, specifically on the 30th of July 2018. The law places full legal responsibilities on the person who flies a drone and bans people from flying drones at a 120m height and 1km anywhere near an airport or airfield in the UK. People who fail this law and puts an aircraft in danger might face a penalty of five years in prison.

The new law, however, has three caveats that allow The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and airport authorities the power to make exceptions to these laws in some specific situations.

This law also makes it compulsory that people who use drones in the UK will have to take online ‘driving tests’ under some new regulations by the Parliament.

More, starting from the 30th of November in 2019, people who own drones that weigh from 250 grams up must register with the CAA, and the pilots of the drones will have to take a safety test online. Drone users will also have to begin using apps that will relay needed information to them to ensure that planned flights can be legally and safely made.

Also, drone users are to take drone awareness tests which will cover for topics on privacy, security, and safety. These tests might also be administered online via the use of apps.

It also very likely that more reviews are going to be done on the rules and more new laws will be set in place for flying drones in the UK this year, 2019.


Flying drones can be fun as well as a useful activity. However, it might land you in legal troubles if you do not follow the laid down rules for it, especially in the UK. Some relevant information about the new drone regulations in the UK has been discussed in this article. You can also visit the CAA’s website for more updates in the 2019 drone flying rules in the UK. You can also check what we at Interstellar Drones and our fully qualified pilots can do for you.