back to article Brits must now register virtually all new drones and undergo safety tests

New British drone owners will have to register their craft with the state and pass a mandatory safety test, according to a government announcement sneaked out over the weekend. The plans are a response to the perceived danger of amateur drone operators cavorting around the skies willy-nilly, causing headaches for airliner …

  1. djstardust

    I'm sure

    HM Gov will make a bollocks of this like they do with anything else.

    It will just mean that criminals will steal drones for prison drops that are registered to someone else.

    Sledgehammer to crack a walnut as usual.

    1. Smooth Newt
      Meh

      Dog licence

      HM Gov will make a bollocks of this like they do with anything else.

      It will just mean that criminals will steal drones for prison drops that are registered to someone else.

      Or buy them second hand. Or give false details when they buy them. Or buy them from someone who will not bother with the registration malarkey for an extra twenty quid. Or perhaps just pull the sticker bearing the serial number off.

      There might be a wider incentive to do this, as it will be implemented with the usual profitable PPI inefficiency and price gouging by the contractor, and the Government will doubtless view this as a perfect revenue raising opportunity too.

      1. Just Enough

        Re: Dog licence

        I'm pretty sure that "Criminals will ignore/circumvent this law" is not a good reason for not having a law.

        Criminals have ignored/circumvented every law ever written. That's, by definition, what makes them criminals. If the law wasn't there, there would be no justification for penalising them when caught.

      2. justAnITGuy

        Re: Dog licence

        Or .... simply order the parts from the likes of Banggood or Goodluckbuy in China, to name but two, and assemble the damn things here at the comfort of the dining room table. There's no rocket science to assembling a more than viable Drone that can even fly autonomous missions to drop "stuff" off at yer average Prison or whatever. No need to buy DJI or whatever from a licenced shopkeeper or online store.

        The law will do nothing to limit or impact the criminal fraternity. And numpty consumer Drone pilots will just carry on as normal ... because "Rules are there for the breaking of" as they say in such circles.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm sure

      Repeat one hundred times, trying not to giggle, "Bonfire of red tape". Tenners, more like.

    3. MrXavia

      Re: I'm sure

      Criminals will just not register, or they will build their own...

      How hard is it to order the parts from multiple suppliers and put one together?

      If your a criminal, having one built for you won't be that hard...

      Also will this cover only drones, or helis & planes too? what about blimps?

      I understand the reasoning, but that won't stop idiots flying drones near airports or using them to spy on people...

      1. Palpy

        Re: Heli's, balloons, and hovercraft... oh my.

        For lists of UK aircraft registration, see Wikipedia. Everything from the late Concorde to gliders, hovercraft, and ultralights must be registered. And be insured. (There's a brief section in the Wikipedia article on registration of "unmanned toy balloons" -- anyone know if that's a Wiki-joke or not?)

        Model rockets are regulated according to the size of their engines. Certification is required for larger models. Flying the little beasts is heavily regulated: UKRA.

        Etc. Both left- and right-pondians live in heavily-regulated cultures. I've always thought of regulation as a sad phenomenon. Probably only one in a thousand drone owners would fly one near an airport, and probably only one in ten thousand would do it maliciously -- intending to cause disruption -- but all drone owners will be regulated. Just as all model rockets are regulated.

        Sad fact of life in a society which has many potentially dangerous technologies, and a few people who, through ignorance or malice, may put others at risk.

        And of course some people will ignore the law. Some people ignore the laws on bank robbery, too. Some ignore the laws of physics, but they often come to a messy end very quickly.

      2. My Alter Ego

        Re: I'm sure

        How hard is it? Very easy - it's how I built mine. I went to hobby king, bought all the bits, put them together by following some how-tos and common sense. Almost removed a finger too (common sense was on a coffee break at the time).

        I also checked out the regs because we get RAF Pumas at low level near my office, plus we're just at the edge of a MATZ.

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Go

          Re: I'm sure

          I would think that the main Point of this is not so much the database, but the fact that new users are forced to learn some of the Basic flying rules. If that helps stop some of the more stupid People out there, it's a win. People dedicated to causing mischief arent going to be deterred, but it certainly should stop the kid taking out his new drone and flying it directly above an Airport because he didnt know that wasnt allowed.

      3. a well wisher

        Re: I'm sure

        "but that won't stop idiots flying drones ...... using them to spy on people.

        Somewhat ironic then, that it was in fact the police who were the ones caught spying on the people from their 'drone' aka helicopter

        https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/18/south-yorkshire-police-helicopter-crew-filmed-people-naked-sheffield-crown-court-told

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm sure

      HM Gov will make a bollocks of this like they do with anything else.

      It will just mean that criminals will steal drones for prison drops that are registered to someone else.

      Sledgehammer to crack a walnut as usual.

      Not quite. You're missing the bigger picture, the same as people laughing about the question "have you ever engaged in terrorist activities?" on a US immigration form.

      The point of this law is to establish a legal principle that you can be fined/convicted for. At the moment there's no clarity about who does what, but now your registration requires you to be aware of the rules so if you break those it's now easy to point at a principle for which you get fined/convicted. If you don't register the drone you can no longer claim ignorance either.

      It creates some clarity in an area that has utter idiots allowed to roam free and it was pretty much inevitable after idiots started to gawk on their neighbours and hang around airports with these things.

      Do I like regulation? Absolutely not, but it appears the not so cranially equipped need that sort of help to stop being stupid.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: I'm sure

        Do I like regulation? Absolutely not, but it appears the not so cranially equipped need that sort of help to stop being stupid.

        Stop being stupid? Via legislation? Tell me how that's going to work? This pure eye-wash for the masses as there is no cure for stupid. As a reference point, look around at many stupd things are done by people first yelling, "Hey you all... watch this.".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm sure

        " If you don't register the drone you can no longer claim ignorance either."

        The article says that existing drone owners are not required to register. That seems to produce a case where ignorance of the law is a defence.

        IIRC A bit like the original car seat belt laws where only new cars were required to have them fitted and then worn. Retro-fitting was encouraged but was not compulsory.

  2. Mad Mike

    Legislate, tax, registration fees etc.etc. Same old, same old.

    The model as shown doesn't look anything like any drone I've ever seen and just strapping a normal DLSR camera on is laziness of the highest order. The DLSR alone will be far heavier and denser than anything likely on a drone. The weight alone would cause the drone problems.

    Also, how valid is it to fire (using a canon) the item at a cockpit mockup. This seems to fail to take into account the airflows around the cockpit, as it flies through the air at 600mph (ish).

    1. Sampler

      The image showed a bridge camera, not a dslr - which are a bit smaller and lighter (and shiter)

    2. Paul 25

      Ah, the "I don't know about something therefore it can't possibly exist" argument.

      So you've never seen a DJI S1000 Octocopter then? - https://www.dji.com/spreading-wings-s1000

      That has a camera mount that lets you attach your own gear to it, as a number of other professional drones do. Drones with camera mounts and enough power to lift a DSLR are pretty common and used by professional camera operators.

      The one in the image at the top of the story looks like a DJI Phantom Vision with a gimbal mount and something like a GoPro, to allow for separate movement. It's not a DSLR in that case, but the phantom Vision has less power so not unexpected

      1. Mad Mike

        @Paul 25.

        I didn't say there weren't drones that could carry a DLSR, just that the vast majority will not be. The kind that can do tend to be of the size and money that makes them very serious and much easier to regulate. The weight limit of 250 grams is pretty low and will include a vast number of drones that aren't anything like that. Effectively, what they've done is try a worst case scenario, but are then applying it to almost everything. Not very sensible. Yes, the very big, very heavy, large amounts of metal and carrying DLSR camera drones maybe could do with regulation because they can do that sort of damage, but that's a weight limit way over 250 grams.

        "Ah, the "I don't know about something therefore it can't possibly exist" argument."

        Ah, the I think I know everything, misinterpret what someone is saying and then decide a mature answer is to insult them argument. Childish.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          'The weight limit of 250 grams is pretty low and will include a vast number of drones that aren't anything like that. Effectively, what they've done is try a worst case scenario, but are then applying it to almost everything.'

          They did also model and test the cockpit sections against a smaller quad copter and a larger fixed wing drone, page 11 of the PDF linked in the article. This was used to validate the computer model which ran simulated tests over a wider range of data points (including an even smaller quad copter) to establish the risk. I believe the main limiting factor in live testing was the availability of windscreen sections.

          So no, it wasn't just testing the worst case scenario and applying it to everything. It's a shame the videos aren't widely available (I asked) as even the small quad copter led to glass shards being shed by the inner layer of the windscreen which could be uncomfortable for the occupants.

          1. Mad Mike

            @SkippyBing.

            I haven't seen the videos and didn't know they tested smaller as well.

            To be honest, if even a small drone causes glass splinters, then they really need to do something about the windscreens. They clearly aren't strong or resilient enough. Whilst I appreciate birds are much softer, I would have thought an albatros hitting wouldn't be good news under those circumstances?

            Perhaps the issue (for windscreens at least) is that they need to be better. Maybe drones are just highlighting the problem?

            Now, the average turbofan engine; that's a different matter. Have they done any tests on a drone entering one? What sort of size and construction drone leads to compressor blade failure etc.?

            Hobbyists have been flying fixed wing and rotary models for a long time now and some of those are pretty damn heavy and solid. I remember a neighbours helicopter that would put most drones to shame in terms of solidity and weight. Is it that hobbyists know what they're doing and keep away from sensitive areas (would have thought some dodgy/stupid people have used them though), or are they too difficult to fly and people just give up, whereas drones are much simpler?

            1. SkippyBing Silver badge

              @Mad Mike,

              Re the windscreens, of the two helicopters tested 1 had a bird strike resistant screen, 1 was too old for it to have been a requirement when designed but is still being built, the airliner didn't really have a problem from memory. The screens wouldn't be albatross resistant any way as they're outside the mass the certification standard tests to, but then you're likely to see an albatross quite a way off compared to a drone of equivalent mass.

              Apparently during the eight months of scoping the trials team asked airlines what they were most worried about being hit and they weren't concerned about the engines as to be certified airliners have to demonstrate the ability to lose one at any stage of flight and carry out successful recovery to an airfield. Compressor blade failure isn't normally a problem as they can be contained, turbine blades less so but there's a lot of material to get through before you get to them.

              I think you're last sentence nails why there's concern, drones are so simple to fly that they're proliferating wildly and are flown by people with next to no idea about what the legalities are, never mind airmanship.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              To be honest, if even a small drone causes glass splinters, then they really need to do something about the windscreens. They clearly aren't strong or resilient enough. Whilst I appreciate birds are much softer, I would have thought an albatros hitting wouldn't be good news under those circumstances?

              Might be worth reading up on the behaviour of bodies on impact. Even an albatros will at the collision speeds we're talking about here be more or less a squishy sack that will deform on impact and spread out the load over a large contact area. A drone will maintain the sharp points of impact that will crack the otherwise bird proof certified windows.

              The cost of upgrading all windows on all planes versus the costs of fining the everliving crap out of idiots placing a drone in the flight trajectory of a plane very much favours placing the costs where they belong: with the idiot.

    3. SkippyBing Silver badge

      'The model as shown doesn't look anything like any drone I've ever seen '

      Having seen a presentation by the study team there's a reason for that, a quad copter as traditionally configured wouldn't survive the acceleration down the cannon, basically the two arms perpendicular to the acceleration broke off. Also the test firing was validating the computer model of how the different materials interact during a collision, to the extent that the simulation of a collision is eerily similar to the film with crack propagation on the windsceen being almost identical. With the model validated it's relatively trivial to try different configurations of drone against different cockpit sections.

      As to the airflow deflecting it, it doesn't work on insects or birds so I'm fairly sure it won't work on something dense like a drone.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: using a canon

        Ask Johann Pachelbel.

        1. Steve 114
          Happy

          Re: using a canon

          Finest available. Do please have a listen if ever 'the kids' leave you some bandwidth.

        2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: using a canon

          Bach has also asked that his not be mis-used.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: using a canon

            "Bach has also asked that his not be mis-used"

            IT angle .. there has to be a byte joke there somewhere ...

            Leaving now.

      2. nijam

        > a quad copter ... wouldn't survive the acceleration down the cannon

        Brilliant. "Our test won't work on a typical drone, so we'll use something completely unrealistic to get the result we've been paid to get."

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          'Brilliant. "Our test won't work on a typical drone, so we'll use something completely unrealistic to get the result we've been paid to get."'

          That's not what they said or did, all they did was remove the two arms that would have broken off before getting to the target. The structure they fired at the windscreen was still representative of a drone in its weight class in terms of materials, size, shape, form etc.

          I mean you could just read the report linked in the article it does explain that, or you can stay in your own little outrage bus, up to you.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No other security software?

      Arguing about the nature of the drones used in aircraft collision tests implies that the complainants consider their smaller lighter drones don't put passenger aircraft at risk. Well put up or shut up, run your own tests to prove your case. On the other hand you might consider the alternative: comply with current legislation, don't fly in prohibited zones including where there is the possibility of collision with passenger aircraft, i.e. at high altitude or near airfields.

      The argument that "legislation won't work so don't do it" is garbage, there is legislation prohibiting murder but it still happens.

      The reason the registration/training proposal has been put forward is that the idiots are out there doing stupid things. "Self regulation" in other sectors invariably fails, legislation doesn't put a stop to abuse but it does reduce it. The marketing lobby succeeded in getting self regulation in respect of junk telesales, that gave the telemarketers another 15 years relative freedom as the only sanction they applied to themselves was "a strongly worded letter if a large number of complaints were made". Only since the ICO bared their teeth have any proper sanctions been applied. Has that stopped junk telesales? No but the miscreants are being fined. OK some of the miscreants are limited companies that liquidate rather than pay the fine but from getting 2 or 3 spam calls a week (despite being TPS registered) they are now below one a month.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: No other security software?

        'The argument that "legislation won't work so don't do it" is garbage, there is legislation prohibiting murder but it still happens.'

        That's an interesting point, if there's no legislation forbidding it, then no crime would have been committed so you couldn't punish the sort of f***wit who'd do it, unless they'd got to the stage of actually hitting an aircraft.

  3. silks

    Drone Crims Beware!

    Oh yeah, that'll definitely constrain the drone crims then :(

  4. McVirtual

    Note to self - do not attach kitty-cat to drone when flying... you know... just in case!

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Joke

      You're clearly looking at this wrong.

      1) Order cat on Amazon, with drone delivery

      2) Alter delivery address GPS coordinates to 10000ft higher

      3) Sit back with a mojito and watch fireworks

  5. macjules Silver badge

    “Users may be able to register online or through apps, under plans being explored by the government,” though the mandatory test will cover “safety, security and privacy regulations”.

    Meaning:

    1) The app and online form will be put out to tender [Capita or Steria]

    2) There will be a maximum cost and time limit [£2Bn for the app and a 3 year cost overrun]

    3) Users will be able to register and pay the 'Drone Licence Fee' online [We will need to use Drone Detector Vans to check unlicensed drones and we will send lots of threatening letters to pensioners about the danger of their unlicensed drone]

    4) There will, of course, be a need for a new government department within the Dept of Transport known as the Pilotless Vehicle Licensing Authority (PVLA). This department will need a minimum £1Bn annual budget.

    1. Wensleydale Cheese
      Unhappy

      "1) The app and online form will be put out to tender [Capita or Steria]"

      Well they could use GDS, but good luck getting anything sensible out of them.

  6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    No to licensing!

    Just make it legal to blast them out of the skies and run over anyone controlling one.

    Had one hovering over my garden last night - in a village in mid-Wales FFS!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No to licensing!

      Whoops, sorry about that!

    2. Andy 73

      Re: No to licensing!

      Yeah, you need to fix the third fence panel on the left, and that bird feeder is hideous.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No to licensing!

        And your missus has tits like a joiners nail pouch.

    3. MrXavia

      Re: No to licensing!

      I agree, flying over private gardens is pretty stupid, you can easily hit the building if your not in LOS

      My son has a drone, its fairly big, but mostly plastic so light, I make him keep it in the garden.. my drone is bigger, but still I keep it over my property, and not too high, I am scared of it hitting my roof (or head) if I fly high and it falls!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No to licensing!

      Water gun.

      That is all.

      Trust me they don't come back once you start firing at them.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Chicken gun

    Ahaha you fell for the chicken gun story. One of the oldest urban legends on the internet.

    The nationality, company, target, and payload differ between variations of the legend.

    1. vStinto

      Re: Chicken gun

      This one?

      http://www.snopes.com/science/cannon.asp

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chicken gun

        That's the one.

        When I first heard it, it was a British team firing a frozen chicken at a train.

    2. Smooth Newt
      Happy

      Re: Chicken gun

      Ahaha you fell for the chicken gun story. One of the oldest urban legends on the internet.

      I hadn't heard that version before. The one I am familiar with is that the chicken punched right through the engine/train/airframe etc and out the back of the vehicle because they had bought a frozen chicken and forgotten to defrost it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chicken gun

        Mythbusters did it with a frozen chicken.

        They may as well have fired a cannonball. It made a proper mess

        A frozen 2kg chicken at 400mph is a SERIOUS projectile.

        1. W4YBO

          Re: Chicken gun

          "Mythbusters did it with a frozen chicken. They may as well have fired a cannonball. It made a proper mess."

          But, to be fair, MythBusters also neglected to use "bird strike resistant" windscreens for their experiment. Wouldn't have made any difference with the frozen chickens, but it would've with the thawed ones. Part of the reason I watched them less frequently in the later seasons; less science, more Hollywood.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Chicken gun

          There's at least one "undetected" murder mystery story where the gun fired an ice bullet.

          There is also the one where a woman killed her husband using a frozen leg of lamb as a club. At the end of their fruitless initial investigation - having not found the murder weapon - the detectives happily accepted the woman's offer of some dinner. They appreciated the leg of lamb that had been temptingly cooking in the oven during their visit..

          1. My Alter Ego

            Re: Chicken gun

            Ah, Tales of the Unexpected. I've got to find a copy of them again.

          2. ButlerInstitute

            Re: Chicken gun

            By Roald Dahl.

            See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamb_to_the_Slaughter

            As someone else has noted, this was shown as an episode of of Tales of the Unexpected (1979). And I see from the article that there was an "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" version too.

          3. Wensleydale Cheese

            Re: Chicken gun

            "There is also the one where a woman killed her husband using a frozen leg of lamb as a club."

            Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected - Lamb to the Slaughter

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chicken gun

      Thanks for the warning that this is an urban myth ... was about to order a jet engine to solve the problem of cats in my garden!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chicken gun

        That means YOU are the problem that needs solving.

        The best way of dealing with cat-haters is a gauge 12!

    4. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Chicken gun

      Well, dammit. I was told this version over a rather good dinner a couple of years ago by a mate who I (used to!) trust.

      Next time I see him I'll throw a cat at his head for good measure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chicken gun

        To be fair, any chicken at 40,000 feet would be frozen due to the air temp

        The fact that they can't fly, is besides the point, I suppose

        I've been trying like hell to 'Check Aircraft Engine Temperatures' from the ground with my laser guided monitor, but I can't hit the damn things at that distance. Bloody military jets buzzing our house all night

        It'd be fun to see it crashing out of control into the sea nearby!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Chicken gun

          'The fact that they can't fly, is besides the point, I suppose'

          Ahaha you fell for the old 'chickens cant fly' story. One of the oldest urban legends on the internet. They fly, they fly good. A hidden camera has shown that my pet chicken, 'cupcake' often takes herself out for a quick soar round the block. Other so called 'flightless' birds also fly excellently, generally when they know people are not watching.

          1. Mr_Pitiful

            Re: Chicken gun

            Have they tried an Ostrich

            I'm sure I saw one of the buggers learning to fly on TV the other night

            I had to blindfold my pet Emu to stop it getting such stupid ideas!

            That said, my pet Rhea does run around flapping it's wings a lot, but we get lovely omelettes

            My DJI has decided it doesn't like flying anymore, and refuses to connect to anything!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Chicken gun

            But is it FROZEN, you numbskull?

          3. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Chicken gun 4 nick rampart

            Is it possible that these "drone sightings" pilots report are actually high altitude sightings of chickens in flight mode then?

            By jove, and all this time I've been calling for mandatory flogging of drone owners and even worse if they do something wrong with their annoying flying weed whackers. Just goes to show.

        2. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Chicken gun

          'To be fair, any chicken at 40,000 feet would be frozen due to the air temp'

          Probably not true, the highest recorded bird strike was at 37000'. I mean it was Griffon vulture not a chicken but still. Referenced at the end of this article about some bird strikes at a lowly 30000'

          https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/ntsb-faa-investigate-high-altitude-bird-strikes-nea-334523/

          1. Mr_Pitiful

            Re: Chicken gun

            Is that why Griffon Vultures are rare?

            I can't really see them spotting anything edible from that altitude

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Chicken gun

              "I can't really see them spotting anything edible from that altitude"

              Good as their eyesight is - the sources suggest a Black Vulture hunts at about 300 metres. However - vultures in general do have a heads down approach plus a physiological forward blind spot that makes head on collisions very likely.

              Quote from an article:

              "Vultures’ eyes have also adapted to seeing great distances when they are searching for food. With this wider field of vision, vultures have a blind spot directly in front of them, above and below their heads. They are able to scan large areas of ground and maintain their peripheral vision to avoid crashing into vultures flying around them. Scientists have studied vultures while they fly and have noticed that they also tilt their heads downwards which makes their blind spot even bigger, they also don’t constantly look around them; their field of vision is so broad that they don’t need to, this does mean though that it is very easy for them to miss things like wind turbines and power lines that are directly in front of them."

      2. Wensleydale Cheese

        Re: Chicken gun

        "Well, dammit. I was told this version over a rather good dinner a couple of years ago by a mate who I (used to!) trust."

        I first came across the tale circa 1999-2000. The version that came my way involved a frozen chicken on the first mishap, so they left another one to thaw in the cannon overnight, which is where the cat crept in.

    5. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: Chicken gun

      "One of the oldest urban legends on the internet."

      I'd not heard the cat variant before, but I'm sure I heard the frozen chicken one before I heard about the internet - certainly before the WWW days.

    6. nijam

      Re: Chicken gun

      > Ahaha you fell for the chicken gun story. One of the oldest urban legends on the internet.

      Yes, we all expected to be the one where they forgot to thaw the chicken first.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry HMG, the horse has bolted a long time ago

    The ner-do-wells that use then for :-

    - Dropping goodies to crims in jail

    - Voyeurism

    - Closing Airports

    Will have them already and like their cars and TV's won't have licenses, insurance or even and documentation to show who bought the thing in a different country.

    They will give anyone asking about the drone the finger and if that does not work then proper violence will be used.

    As has been said, I'd love to be legally able to shoot the effing things down on sight. Why? One regularly buzzes my sisters house and obviously tries to get piccies of her naked. Everyone knows who does it but they are part of a family that you don't mess with. The Plod won't do anything naturally. Perhaps if my sister had a little girl then they might help...

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Sorry HMG, the horse has bolted a long time ago

      Apparently confetti cannons work wonders...

      https://www.instagram.com/p/-7Bp5RMcHA/.

      :-)

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Sorry HMG, the horse has bolted a long time ago

        Obligatory XKCD.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorry HMG, the horse has bolted a long time ago

      Use a Super Soaker?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “There is no time frame or firm plans as to how the new rules will be enforced”.

    Sounds like the government are just 'kite flying' these ideas then.

    (Do you see what I did there....)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So we're just getting a helicopter view of the proposal for now?

    2. onceuponatime

      They are definitely taking the wide angle view of the situation. It's definitely a bigger picture. Wonder which lens they are using.

  10. rwbthatisme

    Nets

    Yup the summer silly season is upon us! A drone can be used to drop drugs into prisons... solution put a net up (also catches Frisbee's and footballs that can be resold on ebay to pay for the net install), as for the law and registration, we already have a perfectly good system in place https://bmfa.org/Info/Know-the-Law

  11. anothercynic Silver badge

    I've said it before...

    ... This is what happens when people wipe their arses on rules that were designed to improve air safety. This, folks, is why we can't have nice things. This was inevitable. Given this will be the CAA administering the licensing scheme, it won't be farmed out (yet).

  12. rwbthatisme

    Call the RSPB

    I would also say that in the interests of fairness we should balance the incident of Bird strikes against Drones, (in 2016 1,800)

    http://www.caa.co.uk/Data-and-analysis/Safety-and-security/Datasets/Birdstrikes/

    Quite clearly the RSPB are falling down on the job

    1. Haku

      Re: Call the RSPB

      There are an estimated 7.4 million cats in the UK, I think the number of bird deaths by drones pales into comparison with that of bird deaths by cats.

  13. bon_the_one

    Felines at altitude...

    Oh yes they are...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTVOK2yvbBM

  14. Kevin Johnston

    Aha....I see a loophole

    So this drone I have just designed...

    8 engines in a regular octagon at 2 feet on each side and has 3 camera mounts plus a cargo hook with remote release.

    Total weight with cameras mounted in flying trim? 100grams - thanks to the helium filled centre dome

    1. DNTP

      Re: Aha....I see a loophole

      I for one look forward to lawyers arguing in court whether the 250 gram limit is a definition of mass or of weight. If they meant weight surely the rule would be 2.45 Newtons, not 250 grams. But if they really do mean mass, and you had a drone that massed 249.99 grams at rest, and then flew it very freaking fast, could they give you a ticket?

  15. Simon Harris Silver badge

    Flying machines?

    Is this registration requirement going to cover flying machines advertised as 'drones', or will it cover any flying device - radio controlled model planes, radio controlled gliders, blimps? rockets?

    Why do I think this is some knee-jerk government response that lacks clarity and hasn't been well thought out?

    1. Mad Mike

      Re: Flying machines?

      @Simon Harris.

      This what I've mused in another posting. What makes a drone more of a menace than a remote controlled model (airplane or helicopter). I've seen a RC helicopter and it was very solid, had a lot of metal and was very heavy. Certainly as bad as any drone I've ever seen

      Strikes me there's a lot potentially in the skies other than drones. I guess the argument could be that drones are much easier to control and therefore more available to people now. RC models etc. tend to be a bit of a handful and more LOS than drones.

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: Flying machines?

        The RC model flyers I'm aware of tend to be more responsible and better informed on aviation rules and don't fly where they are not supposed to. They take pride in their knowledge of aircraft and aviation in general. They also like to congregate into organised groups too; one such group flies models from a disused airstrip fairly near to where I fly a microlight and there are never any problems. Drones seem to draw a younger, loner enthusiast, typically with no knowledge of aviation law and a different mindset of "it's their drone so they'll fly it wherever they want." I think legislation of drones was inevitable. If there is a serious accident downing an aircraft with loss of life, then I fully expect all drones to be banned in the UK maybe with the exception of those using them for professional purposes (e.g. film crews).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Flying machines?

          'The RC model flyers I'm aware of tend to be more responsible and better informed on aviation rules and don't fly where they are not supposed to. '

          This may be so, but I can wander along the main street in my town and purchase a fairly large (3ft+) R/C helicopter, one of China's finest, for well under £100, as others have pointed out, weight wise these buggers are a lot heavier than the drone weight limit that the idiots behind this registration scheme money making scam...er, I mean really neat public safety scheme have futzed about and produced.

          The only saving grace: the majority of the idiots who buy these things (cheap large R/C 'copters) crash them on first attempt...

  16. Peter Christy

    But what is a drone.....?

    Part of the problem is that in all the documents coming out government, EASA, etc, no-one has actually defined exactly what constitutes a "drone"!

    They all acknowledge that conventional model aircraft are not a problem, and put out proposals that will sweep up all the RC model enthusiasts, but be completely ignored by the criminals and idiots!

    You couldn't make it up........!

  17. jrd

    This is nothing new. Plenty of hobbyists have found their hobby suddenly becomes regulated when it attracts government attention, often because of an upswell of interest or serious incident. It's frustrating but I can't see a way around it, other than regulate/restrict the drones themselves. Which would upset the enthusiasts even more...

  18. Sir Alien

    And this does nothing to solve the problem...

    As usual, government does massive knee jerk reaction to curb the carelessness of some drones while clearly implementing something that will have no effect. According to CAA (and MAA) rules it is already illegal to fly any form of model aircraft, be it a drone or winged plane near a built up or high population area, airport or military installation.

    Those that are currently breaking these laws will only continue to break any new (and useless) laws the government implement. Would a mandated transmitter/receiver transponder not be sufficient? You can then track the pilot. If it does not have one, blow it out the sky.

    I also question the pilots at airports saying they could see a drone. Try telling the difference between a small bird and drone while doing 250+ miles an hour. That object will be flying past your window so quickly it will be just a dot. The only time you will be able to confirm it's a drone is (a) it's near matching your speed, or (b) it actually impacts the window.

  19. Haku

    You can't stop idiots breaking the law.

    All this will do is screw over everyone who is already going by the rules.

    Making a list of drone owners will only give them a list of people who aren't likely to do bad things, namely because they registered.

    There won't be a list of people who fly drones where they shouldn't, because they won't fucking register!

    How are they going to police it? It's not like the police force is suddenly going to get a boost in funds to deal with all the new 'crime' they plan on legislating.

  20. Haku

    Idenitifying a drone thousands of meters up, hundreds of meters away - bullshit!

    I've flown my 380 size quadcopter, about 1.2kg with the camera & gimbal attached, straight up 100 meters to get some scenic view footage.

    At that distance away it can be near impossible to spot it when you're looking at wide open sky, even though you know where it's supposed to be and can hear it, and see its camera view from the ground.

    If it's so difficult to spot a stationary drone from a stationary spot, that's only 100 meters away, how the hell do those pilots, flying at hundreds of miles an hour, can say with absolute certainty that tiny speck in the distance is a drone?

    I call bullshit on that.

  21. DNTP

    Headline is completely wrong.

    Correction: "British Government Sponsors Massive Development Initiative of <250 Gram Drones"

    1. Wensleydale Cheese
      Happy

      Re: Headline is completely wrong.

      Correction: "British Government Sponsors Massive Development Initiative of <250 Gram Drones"

      My very first thought on reading the headline was:

      "Right, that's created a market for 249 gram drones".

      It's no different from what car manufacturers do. Put a higher tax on engines over 2,000cc and you will surely get a plethora of models being produced at just under that size.

      1. Sir Alien

        Re: Headline is completely wrong.

        Except they caught onto to that and now do it by co2 per kilometre. This encourage manufacturers to cheat (aka. VW USA scandal)

  22. DropBear Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    This is outrageous! A travesty of a proposal! Where are the mandatory background- and criminal checks? Where is the mandatory psych evaluation and the 121-step physical, including centrifuge trials up to 20Gs and being able to read the commemorative Apollo plaque on the Moon, with your naked eye, during daytime, with the Moon on the other side of the Earth...? Where is the compulsory liability deposit of a minimum of one million pounds per each gram of drone?!? Where are the automatic minimum sentences of deportation to Siberia, following castration, and your whole family sold into slavery at the first complaint filed by anyone for any reason against your drone no proof or trial needed?!?!? How can we possibly prevent the fall of the human civilization if we don't take this seriously???

  23. PhilipN Silver badge

    No that's not what it's for

    Mr. Average is required to put up with this nonsense so he feels assured that he is living in an orderly well-managed society where criminals are given a hard time.

    Fact is the average criminal has much better things to do with a drone than buzz airliners. I also almost have this perverse wish that the crims find all sorts of clever uses for drones so as to drag the industry along behind.

    1. Sir Alien

      Re: No that's not what it's for

      So if I give my drone wings it merely becomes a standard model aircraft for which the rules don't apply. Love it, winged VTOL craft coming up...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't help when you get stupid fucking Guardian articles like this one...

    https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/jul/24/flying-drones-in-the-uk-wild-places

    Andrew Gilchrist drives all the way up to Skye (likely from London) or flew to Edinburgh, then drove 250 miles up the A9 to Skye, (the A9 has 100 miles of continuous ANPR Average Speed/Surveillance Cameras on route). Not an Error for American readers, this is modern Surveillance Britain - 100 miles continuous Automatic Number Plate Recognition Surveillance Cameras (We're just waiting to erect the sign at Heathrow that says "Welcome to Britains' Open Prison, have a nice stay")

    He then goes to the far end of Skye (it's not a tourist location on Skye by any means), to climb a munro (a munro is a mountain - 1000m/3000ft) called Sgurr Alasdair.

    This munro to anyone that has done it, is often shrouded in mist, is a narrow steep scree gully up. It can also be howling a gale, so you can hardly hear yourself think, let alone hear the noise of a drone. Which from my own experience is closer to the sound of Hummingbird near your head, than anything close to a dentist's drill (as he described it), FFS.

    The London Centric Guardian Journo then moans that a high-pitched whine drone is on "his" route/path, hovering above him, to scream "I was effectively on CCTV." (shock/horror in Britains' Open Prison).

    What it shows is how accepted the modern car is in society. How many people did he disturb on his 250 mile trip on his way up to Skye by car? How many people did he film with his Dashcam? Speeding past cyclists/walkers - those people having to take to verges, as he past. Maybe none, maybe 50.

    It's the sheer lack of tolerance here, with complete ignorance to how his own actions affect others which is so fcuking annoying. The guy can't see his own actions have consequence too.

    Also, its the acceptance that State Surveillance is somehow fine "justifiable in all instances", that we shouldn't worry our little head regarding how this data is being used to track indivduals, yet immediately a drone is seen nearby, it must be seen in a negative light as having a non-legitimate nature/purpose. So much stereotyping, so much unjustified pre-judgment.

    Yes, a drone can be a bit irritating, but no worse than someone using a mobile (shouting I'm at the top of X) at the top of Munro, while you're trying to quietly eat your lunch. It's called tolerance, other people have every right to be there too, you're in a public place. Yes, its Isolated, remote, you feel almost yourself alone there, but its still public space.

    The problem I have is there is a real sub-text at work here in this Guardian Article and it's total utter nymbyish shite.

    It's the pitchfork approach that says, wherever you are in the UK (you can be as far off the beaten track such as climbing Sgurr Alasdair - so remote, it's pretty much the last place legally (pubicly) you still can fly a drone) the subtext that drones are unwelcome and need to be banned. Even though 364/365 days a year, this guy would be lucky to see another person climbing that route, let alone a drone, or even a view from the top.

    The Anti-Drone agenda by mainstream media is palpable and when you have Governments refusing to release drone test data on the grounds of "security", it's when you realise, that is an full blown anti-drone agenda at work by the Powers that be, here in the UK.

    It might be drones today, but one day we're going to wake up and realise we're all in virtual digital shackles, controlling everything we do, as said I'm waiting for the sign "Welcome to Britains' Open Prison".

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