The Flying of Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA)
Some Frequently Asked Questions about the responsible operation of ‘drones’
1) Why do I need to worry about where I fly my drone?
All the airspace of the Bailiwick of Guernsey is ‘controlled airspace’ and the operation of any remotely controlled small unmanned aircraft [SUA] (helicopter and ‘drone’ included) is strictly controlled under The Air Navigation (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2012. The relevant sections have recently been publicised, explaining how a person in charge of these devices must operate. In brief small unmanned aircraft shall at all times be flown in accordance within the Regulation guidance Visual Flight Reference [VFR] rules. Exemptions may be obtained from the Director of Civil Aviation [DCA] who is based at Guernsey Airport.
2) Do I need insurance and if so, what should it cover?
The first aspect that an operator must address is that of Legal and Third Party Liability Insurance [TPL], particularly where the drone is operated from any land which is not under the control of the operator. So in theory, whilst you could operate a drone within the boundaries of a private property (with the property owner’s permission), should the drone cause injury to a person or damage to someone else’s property, then insurance cover is highly advisable.
To operate from States of Guernsey land (car parks, public areas, playing fields etc) there is a requirement for £5million minimum level of TPL cover.
3) My house insurance covers me for ‘activities’, would this be OK for flying a drone?
There is a belief that insurance held in respect of a house, may cover the ‘activities’ of the policyholder, and that the operation of drones falls within that category of cover. It is understood that some Insurance companies that offer household insurance, specifically exclude the operation of SUA including drones in their cover in respect of ‘activities’; unless an application to provide an extension to their policy for specified aerial ‘activities’ has been granted.
Before any flight is undertaken, it is strongly advisable to check and double check that you have the relevant insurance cover for this type of activity.
4) If I don’t have the relevant insurance, where can I get cover for flying my drone?
The Guernsey Model Flying Club is affiliated to the British Model Flying Association and as such offers the relevant insurance cover as part of its membership; it can however also be obtained from the BMFA itself (www.bmfa.org)
5)Why is insurance so important, if I’m a very careful pilot anyway?
If you are unfortunate enough to damage another person’s property, or worse still, injure another person with your drone, the financial penalties concerning third party liabilities and litigation can be very substantive. Insurance won’t prevent an accident, but at least it offers some recompense to the injured third party, and would mean that you would not be personally liable.
6) Where can I fly from and can I fly over other areas?
A very important aspect to be considered before a drone is operated, is the location from where it is launched/retrieved and where and what it will overfly. Under the regulations covering the operation of these devices, launching or overflying public areas which are not under the control of the operator is generally considered a no-no; the biggest concern here is that the pilot/operator must act responsibly in order for his/her insurance cover to be valid.
In the event of any claim by a third party for damage etc, the first question will be whether the pilot/operator was operating / flying in a responsible manner. If the answer is no, the pilot/operator will most likely find themselves without insurance cover and personally liable for a potentially enormous litigation bill.
Refer to the guidelines issued by the Guernsey Airport Authorities for more precise details. (see link below)
7) Where can I get help and advice about flying a drone?
The Guernsey Model Flying Club already has a number of drone pilots within their membership and in common with our policy of encouraging all types of modelling activity the club, would welcome the opportunity to help with the initial setting up of such a craft, as well as flight training to ensure safe and responsible operation of these exciting craft.
Hopefully you will find the information above to be of help when considering how and where you intend operating your drone, but if you have any questions regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact any committee member (contact details on Committee Member page) and we will do our very best to help with your query.
Office of the Director of Civil Aviation www.gov.gg/dca
Guernsey Airport Guidance on operation of SUA www.airport.gg/guidance-use-drones-unmanned-aeronautical-systems-and-model-aircraft-guernsey-and-alderney
Office of the Director of Civil Aviation www.gov.je/pages/contacts.aspx?contacted=149
Channel Island drone safety http://www.cidronesafety.co.uk/
Jersey Airport flying drones/ SUA www.jerseyairport.com/about/Pages/Drones.aspx
Jersey Airport full guidance on use of SUA http://www.jerseyairport.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/SUA%20comprehensive%20guide.pdf
Jersey Airport basic guidance on use of SUA www.jerseyairport.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/SUA_Basic_I1.pdf
British Model Aircraft Association www.bmfa.org
Jersey Model Aero Club www.jmaconline.co.uk
UK Civil Aviation Authority guidance on operation SUA www.caa.co.uk/uas
The following Guidance material is available on the UK CAA website. www.caa.co.uk
- The following documents (available on the CAA Website) refer to UK legislation; however, the guidance contained within these documents can be considered industry best practice.
- CAP658 Model Aircraft: A Guide to Safe Flying
- CAP722 Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in UK Airspace
Enjoy your model but remember to fly safely!
Full details of the Bailiwick of Guernsey regulations covering the operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft (drones) can be found here – Link to Gsy Airport guidelines document………. https://www.airport.gg/sites/default/files/A%20GUIDE%20FOR%20THE%20SAFE%20OPERATION%20OF%20MODEL%20AIRCRAFT%20-%20GUERNSEY%20AND%20ALDERNEY%20-%20basic.pdf