On Saturday 11th November, over 100 South Coast and South West drone users gathered at Compton Abbas airfield for one of the UK's first major drone safety events.

The event, which sold out in just three days, was run as part of the Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) 'Share the Air' campaign. Alongside the staff of Compton Abbas airfield, the event played host to several experts from across the sector:

  • ThePhantom Flight School was on hand to give flying and photography advice
  • Yuneec, global drone manufacturer, showcased its latest models with a flying display 
  • UAVision, a local drone distributor, offered expert advice and hands-on demonstrations of drone maintenance.
  • V-Mach Media, a VR specialist, provided two highly realistic training simulators for attendees to try, including their Rotor Rush racing system.
  • Air traffic control body NATS was on site to talk about its drone flying app and future work.

The CAA was also available to provide the latest information on the UK and European regulations covering drones. The airfield team also explained the range of General Aviation flying opportunities that exist in the local area, enabling drone users to expand their love of flying.

Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) commented:

“Drones being the latest 'must have' in tech, we've seen a huge spike in drone ownership across the country. What's vital now is that we ensure everyone using the air shares it safely. For done users that means following the Dronecode at www.dronesafe.uk.

“If you have a drone but are unsure of where to fly it safely or you want to know how to get the most out of your new bit of kit then these events are for you.”

Phil Binks, Drone Expert at NATS said:

"We all agree that drones can provide many benefits, but whether you're a hobbyist or commercial drone pilot, we must ensure drones are introduced into UK airspace in a safe and responsible manner. The event held at Compton Abbas was a great way to provide updates on the developments taking place within the drone industry as well as providing a platform for manned and unmanned aviators to get together to discuss their concerns. I believe that this event was the first of its type in the UK and we look forward to supporting more events like this in the future."

Steve Landells, Flight Safety Specialist at the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said:

“Pilots see huge potential in drone technology but want to ensure that our skies remain safe for all airspace users and that we all do everything we can to promote that together.

“That's why BALPA is keen to be part of events like this that give everyone the chance to meet face to face and look at ways to share the air in a safe way.”

Graham Newby from Compton Abbas airfield added:

"The safe integration of airspace users is vitally important, and it was with pride that Compton Abbas airfield hosted the first of these major events for the drone and GA community."

Notes to Editors:

Media contacts

For further information and interview enquiries, please contact the CAA press office:

press.office@caa.co.uk

During office hours: 020 7453 6030

Out of hours: 07789745636.

About 'Share the Air':

The 'Share the Air' initiative aims to demonstrate to drone pilots the significance of the role they play within the aviation community, and help them build stronger links with local airfields. Through increased collaboration between drone users and the General Aviation community, the CAA hopes to ensure all parties are aligned in their use of the skies, and are able to share the space responsibly, whilst still getting the most out of their local environment. It is the latest exciting step in DroneSafe, the CAA's successful national education campaign to showcase the importance of following guidance around safe drone usage.

About the Dronecode:

People looking to understand more about responsible drone flying should look at the CAA's Dronecode, a simple set of rules around 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

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.

About the CAA

The CAA is the UK's aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.

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