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Landmark Fine for UK Drone Flight

The landmark case for conducting an illegal drone flight over the UK went ahead. It resulted in the first-ever civil prosecution of its kind and a huge fine.

DRONE CONVICTION: The fine got handed out to a 42 year old British drone hobbyist and enthusiast.

UK Crown Prosecution Service and Judge Quentin Purdy convicted Nigel Wilson from Nottingham.

The drone conviction was for nine misuse of drone related offences and for him fined £1,800.

News reports said his ‘flagrant disregard‘ for public safety was evident.

Flying his drones over built-up areas included congested regions of central London and a football stadium. It landed the operator of three unmanned aircraft in serious trouble and in breach of drone no fly zones UK.

Drone Offences: Air Navigation Order

He pleaded guilty to seven separate offences in breach of the Air Navigation Order 2009. That got him his fine and a Criminal Behavior Order. The CBO bans him from purchasing drones or flying them for two years from his conviction.

Police arrested Wilson in October 2014. It followed several reports of a drone seen hovering and capturing footage from one hundred meters above football games. There were at Manchester City’s Etihad and Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium.

Besides posting the footage online to YouTube, the drone also flew close to police officers mounted on horseback. The incident caused the animals to rear up dangerously close to the public.

UK ‘No Fly Drones’

The havoc caused at the football matches got overshadowed. Wilson also flew his remotely controlled drones over the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.

Drone Conviction in the United KingdomThe Air Navigation Order 2009 UK drone operator rules are clear.

You must not fly them over or within certain distances and heights of any congested area or near to an organized open-air assembly of more than 1,000 people.

It would need permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Drone users must maintain direct visual contact throughout its flight path to avoid collisions with people and buildings.

In fact, up to the minute news suggests that UK Ministers are now considering whether to legislate drone use even tighter. This follows several near misses with aircraft close to notable British airports.

UK Civil Aviation Authority

Spokespersons from the UK Civil Aviation Authority and Metropolitan Specialist Operations Command quoted:

“Drones become more widely available every year. It is important that anyone using this type of small aircraft understands the strict regulations. They relate to how and where they can be flown. Police, in partnership with the CAA, will look to prosecute anyone who does not follow these rules.

Flying drones over congested areas or buildings can pose great risks to public safety and security. Wilson put many people in real danger. The outcome should serve as a warning to anyone thinking of doing similar. They could end up in court if they ignore these regulations.”


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Illegal Civil Drone Flight: Man gets Drone Conviction in the United Kingdom