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What You Need To Know Before Flying A Drone In The UK

What You Need To Know Before Flying A Drone In The UK

Over the last few years, drones have taken off (no pun intended) in a big way. Once used only by the military, these unmanned aerial vehicles are now being used in a vast array of industries. Search and rescue operations, crop surveillance, and delivering medical supplies to inaccessible regions are just a few of the many applications of drones.

The use of drones by civilians has grown, as these devices are being produced for consumers for an affordable price. A lot of persons use them as toys, while others may attach a camera and use the drone for taking photos and videos from the sky.

Defining a Drone

If living in the United Kingdom and wish to fly a drone, there are rules that govern all aspects. A drone would be specified as any small unmanned aircraft that weighs less than 20 kilograms.

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It is Not Easy to Control a Drone

The first thing that you should know about flying a drone, is that it is not always going to be easy to control. In reality, quadcopters are impossible to fly – they are kept stable by a computer that is inside of the body. This part of the drone is generally called the flight controller. Depending on how the flight controller is set up, each drone will fly just a little bit different than another. In some drones, the flight controller is set up for providing stability, while another flight controller may be set up for agility.

When shopping for a drone, it is important to know how the price is related to the level of difficulty for use. When looking at radio controlled cars, helicopters, or planes, as the price goes up the level of difficulty will go up as well. This is not the case for drones. As the price of a drone goes up, this means that there are added sensors and functionalities to the product, actually making it easier for a novice drone pilot to fly. In relation to the price versus difficulty level, the drones that are easiest to fly can be found for around £530.

Currently, some of the easiest drones to fly are the Q500 4K, Inspire 1, 3DR SOLO and the Phantom 3. The Syma X5C and Hubsan X4 are on the cheaper end of the spectrum, but they are a little bit harder to control by someone with only a little bit of experience.

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Brand New Drones Are Not Always Ready to Fly

There are a few common acronyms that you will see when you are looking for a drone to purchase. There are RTF, ARF, and BNF.

RTF is short for ready-to-fly. In general, an RTF quadcopter will not need any additional assembly or setup, but you will need to do a few simple things like charge the battery, bind the controller to the quadcopter, or install the propellers.

ARF is short for almost-ready-to-fly. An ARF quadcopter is more like a drone kit. Normally they will not come with a receiver or transmitter and could require some assembly. This type of quadcopter kit would also leave it up to you to get some of the components like the battery, flight controller, motor, or ESCs. There is a very broad definition of ARF drone kits, so just know that no two are alike and the description and contents should be read thoroughly.

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BNF is short for bind-and-fly. This type of drone normally comes totally assembled but lacks a controller. With this type of model, you will need to either use a compatible controller that you already have, or purchase one separately.

It should be noted that simply because a transmitter is on the same frequency as a receiver, it is not guaranteed that they will work together. They must also have the same manufacture protocol to be able to communicate. This is why it is so important to check that a controller will work with a drone prior to purchasing.

Rules for Flying a Drone

Due to the risk that drones pose to individuals, establishments, and even airports, there are a strict set of rules in place.

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  • First and foremost, when operating a drone, it must not endanger anything or anyone and the “remote pilot” is responsible for satisfying themselves that the flight will be conducted safely.
  • The drone cannot be flown over or within 150 metres of an area that is congested.
  • The drone cannot be flown within the confines of 50 metres of any vehicle, vessel, or anything that is not controlled by the person that is flying the drone.
  • When the drone is in the air, it must stay in the visual line of sight of the remote pilot. This is generally 400 feet vertically and 500 metres horizontally.
  • The drone cannot be flown within the confines of 150 metres of an open-air organized assembly made up of over 1000 people.
  • The drone cannot be flown within 30 metres of any individual except for the individual that is in charge of the drone.
  • If the drone is being operated outside of these distances, the remote pilot must seek approval from the CAA. The remote pilot must then prove that they can operate the drone safely outside of those distances.
  • The drone cannot be flown within 50 metres of any individual—except when it is taking off or landing.

Surveillance and Work Drones

  • Any small unmanned aircraft that is being used for the purposes of surveillance is subject to tighter restrictions regarding the minimum distance that is able to fly near people or properties.
  • The remote pilot must seek permission from the CAA before these operations are commenced.
  • When using a drone for paid aerial work, the remote pilot must get permission from the CAA before commencing work.

The Data Protection Act comes into action when flying a drone for surveillance purposes. This is because the camera on the drone will be collecting images of individuals that may be able to be identified, even if the images that were collected were not intentional. The Data Protection Act outlines how the images should be collected and stored. Be sure that you are in compliance with this Act when flying a drone with camera capabilities.

Safety Risks

When a drone is being used for commercial purposes, the remote pilot must get permission from the CAA, and when the drone weighs over 20 kilograms, then it is only lawful to use it in a certified “danger area”.

The enforcement of the CAA is focused on ensuring that those who are not properly licensed are not using any drones for commercial purposes, but there have been a few instances in which the CAA imposed themselves and took action against a remote pilot, even when the person in question was using the drone for private (domestic) purposes.

The implications come when the drone poses a safety risk to a person or another aircraft of some sort, or when the drones with cameras pose a privacy risk to individuals that may be recorded. This is the reason that the CAA calls for permission.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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