Horizon Imaging

Man fined total of £2400 and banned from owning a drone for two years after flying over football stadiums

A recent news story has highlighted the need for any and every drone operator to ‘think before they fly’ as a drone pilot from Manchester gets handed a £1800 fine (and £600 in costs) and a two-year ban on ‘purchasing, owning or using’ a drone. 
Nigel Wilson, 43, from Nottingham, was found guilty of “four charges of flying small unmanned surveillance aircraft over a congested area and five of not maintaining direct, unaided visual contact with a small unmanned surveillance aircraft” at Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday 15th September. Amongst other incidents, the charges relate to Nigel flying his DJI Phantom drone over several football stadiums whilst games were in session, flying over crowds of spectators and Police officers outside a stadium, and flying over Buckingham Palace and Big Ben in London. More details of the prosecution can be found here > 
The drone at the centre of the story, and two screenshots from videos taken by Nigel Wilson. 
The CAA have very strict guidelines surrounding where drones are not allowed to be flown, including “over or within 150 metres of any congested area; over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons; or within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft”. More information on the CAA’s regulations can be found on their website and in the links at the bottom of this blog post. 
The CAA recently put together a simple video outlining the basic regulations that all drone operators have to abide by, and you can watch this video below on the right. Furthermore, following another near-miss with an airliner at Heathrow back in July, the CAA released their simple ‘Drone Code’ which is detailed in this blog post. 
This incident illustrates that the CAA and the Police are not afraid to prosecute those who breach the laws of the air, and it’s a reminder to those flying drones to always put safety first. If you have any questions about drone safety and the use of drones in built-up areas, please do get in touch and I would be happy to advise you. 
The CAA’s simple instructional video outlining the key regulations that drone operators have to adhere to. Click the play button to watch, and the small rectangle in the bottom right to watch full-screen.