• Research from the CAA reveals that instruction-averse Brits are too eager to get into their gadgets, leading to Christmas Day heartbreak
  • Drones named among “most commonly broken items” as CAA issues advice on how new users can get the best from their machine
  • Following the findings, the CAA is launching its “12 Days of Christmas” drone Twitter campaign @UK_CAA

It's the most wonderful time of the year, but a large proportion of the UK population might not be quite so jolly this Christmas. That's according to new research from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which found that 34 per cent of people are likely to break a new gadget on Christmas Day - and within mere hours of opening it!

Adding insult to injury, two-thirds of these breakages (66 per cent) could have been avoided if Brits had simply read the instructions.

And, with drones among the top five most broken items, the CAA is calling on people as part of its wider Drone Safe initiative to take the time to open the manufacturers' handbook when piling into their gadget gifts this Christmas.

However, the UK prefers to go it alone rather than take guidance on using a new gadget - the research found that when it came to time to check the manual:

  • Almost a fifth (19 per cent) rarely bother before getting their gadget going
  • Over a quarter (26 per cent) claim that it is “the worst part” of unwrapping a Christmas gift
  • Almost half (49 per cent) called it “boring”

Jonathan Nicholson, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Assistant Director commented:

“Consumer technology is more exciting and accessible than ever before, so it's not surprising that gadgets such as drones are amongst the most popular gifts at Christmas.

“And although drones can be a lot of fun to use, they are not toys.

“As such, reading the provided instructions is essential - not just to get the most out of your drone, but to ensure you're using it safely and responsibly. 

“For consumers who want to learn more about the dos and don'ts of drone flying - everything you need to know to fly responsibly can be found at www.dronesafe.uk .”

Aviation Minister Liz Sugg said:

“Drones are not only exciting presents, but have the potential to change the way we live our lives in the future in lots of innovative ways.

“So enjoy flying your drone, but please follow the rules and fly your drone responsibly - keeping both your drone and the people around you safe.”

Similarly, the study's results also showed that as well as increasing the likelihood of causing a breakage, this failure to read gadget instructions is preventing people from enjoying their new tech at all - almost one in three (31 per cent) of respondents said that not being able to properly use or build a gadget is the worst part of opening one at Christmas. 

Worst of all, it seems we all know better: the majority of respondents (68 per cent) agreed that it was important to read the instructions before using a new gadget.

Following the findings, the CAA is launching its “12 Days of Christmas” Twitter campaign. The project, launching from December 26th, will use a series of GIFs to provide new drone users with invaluable guidance for getting the most out of their Christmas present.

Check out the CAA's campaign by following @UK_CAA.

Notes for editors:

*The Dronecode is a simple set of rules designed to promote safe and responsible use:

  • Don't fly near airports or airfields (it is against the law to fly your drone within 1km of an airport or airfield boundary)
  • 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

The Dronecode is available to download at www.dronesafe.uk.   

Please note: the Dronecode is for consumer drone use, those using a drone commercially must be approved by the CAA.

About the research:

Working with Opinium, the Civil Aviation Authority commissioned a study of 2,007 UK adults.