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I have found a place I can fly my drone, and want to take some photos of it. At the moment it's ill-advised to leave one's home unless it's necessary, and aerial photography of abandoned places is not necessary, so I want to try to do this by releasing piloting my drone from the doorstep.

Assume that this place is within battery and radio distance of my house, and can be reached by a public footpath that joins a road that reaches my house. How can I get the drone there and back with minimal inconvenience (and risk) to myself and others, and under what conditions?

(Creative solutions are encouraged; e.g., some safe way to get a drone to count as a vehicle suitable for road travel.)

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When flying in the UK you need to keep your aircraft within 500m horizontally of yourself, below 400ft above ground level and within visual line of sight. If you are able to satisfy these conditions, then you should be able to safely fly the aircraft from your home to the location, take the pictures, and return home.

If, however, you cannot meet these criteria then unfortunately you are unable to complete this flight safely during the lockdown.

Information on UK flying regulations, including distance rules, are available from the Drone Safe website - this is well worth a read, especially the "Drone code" page, and knowing this information will help when/if registering as a drone user.

You should also give thought to what you would do if you had an in-flight emergency - if your drone crashes or you have to land away from home, will you be able to recover it?


Edit: You mention in a comment to this question that you live in an apartment building; this complicates things a little more, specifically due to CAP 393 Article 95 which states

95.—(1) The SUA operator must not cause or permit a small unmanned surveillance aircraft to be flown in any of the circumstances described in paragraph (2), and the remote pilot of a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not fly it in any of those circumstances, except in accordance with a permission issued by the CAA.
(2) The circumstances referred to in paragraph (1) are—
(a) over or within 150 metres of any congested area;
(b) over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons;
(c) within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the SUA operator or the remote pilot of the aircraft; or
(d) subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), within 50 metres of any person.
(3) Subject to paragraph (4), during take-off or landing, a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not be flown within 30 metres of any person.
(4) Paragraphs (2)(d) and (3) do not apply to the remote pilot of the small unmanned surveillance aircraft or a person under the control of the remote pilot of the aircraft.
(5)In this article, “a small unmanned surveillance aircraft” means a small unmanned aircraft which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition. (b)

(Emphesis mine)

Therefore, unless the building is under your control (as a house might be) you should keep 50m away. What exactly constitutes a building under your control might be another question...

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  • $\begingroup$ I forgot about the visual line of sight rule. Am I right in assuming that this would work if I lived high up in an apartment block? $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Apr 15 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ @wizzwizz4 I've edited my answer to cover your comment, as a more detailed response was a bit long for a comment. $\endgroup$ – Kralc Apr 15 at 20:21

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