A special code of conduct as been published by the UK aviation regulator amid safety concerns about the use of drones.
As many as 1.5 million extra drones could enter UK airspace as a result of a predicted surge in the devices being given as Christmas presents.
But of those planning to buy a drone over the Christmas period, more than a quarter (27%) were unaware of the rules surrounding their usage in the UK.
Drone users must fly responsibly and follow rules laid out in the Civil Aviation Authority’s drone code.
Anyone found guilty of endangering an aircraft with a drone could go to prison for up to five years.
Consumers are also being warned to ensure they buy a drone from a responsible retailer.
Retailers can apply to join the initiative by declaring to the CAA that they meet the criteria and submitting their details.
Those signed up for the scheme include Maplin, Currys PC World, and Menkind.
CAA assistant director of communications Jonathan Nicholson said: “Drones are the latest ‘must-have’ technology, and while the spike in purchases is good news for both the industry and retailers, we must ensure that users are properly educated on responsible flying.
“Ensuring that consumers are able to use their drones safely and legally is critical, and so far, our work with retailers has been invaluable in ensuring that drone-buyers get a copy of the drone code and are able to access all the information they need.”
Maplin technical director, Andrew Uden, added: “Over the last year we’ve worked hard to ensure that we’re retailing drones in a responsible way, educating new and existing owners on safe usage by driving awareness of the CAA’s drone code.
“As one of the most popular purchases this Christmas, it is vital that we continue to provide the best possible advice and guidance for our customers, to ensure they can enjoy flying their new purchases safely.”
The initiative is the latest in a CAA campaign to highlight safe and responsible drone use.
The drone code set out rules designed to promote safe and responsible use:
• Don’t fly near airports or airfields
• Remember to stay below 400ft (120m) and at least 150ft (50m) away from buildings and people
• Observe your drone at all times
• Never fly near aircraft
• Enjoy responsibly
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