The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, also known as drones), is becoming increasingly prevalent across Ireland, with uses ranging from hobbyists and land surveying to search and rescue via an eye in the sky. So much so that they’re on offer in Aldi this week as part of the weekly Thursday SpecialBuys – an X Bladez quadcopter with a 300dpi HD camera for photos and video and 1GB memory, as well as a one-year guarantee.
There are a few things that you should be aware of. According to the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), all drones over 1kg must be registered. If you own unmanned aircraft weighing 25kg or more, you’ll have to register it similar to the registration of an ordinary manned aircraft. To register a drone, you must be 16 years or older. They also note that you don’t need permission or a qualification to fly a drone within limits set out by the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order, 2015 (SI 563 of 2015).
These limits include not flying farther than 300m from the operator, over a crowd of people, closer than 5km to an aerodrome, more than 400ft above ground level or in civil or military controlled airspace. If you want to go outside these limits, specific permission is required from the IAA. The organisation also recommends that you take a training course before flying, and that you take out insurance.
“Drones are an exciting new area of aviation and we are working with industry to ensure that they are used safely and do not interfere with other forms of aviation,” said Ralph James, IAA Director of Safety Regulation, speaking at the registration launch earlier this year. “It is the responsibility of all drone users to operate them in a safe manner and we would ask that they familiarise themselves with the rules, which are available on the IAA website.”