The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes but, you need to think about:
- Restricted areas
You must also follow the drone code. This means keeping the required distance away from uninvolved people. For this reason we would recommend flying a sub 250 gram drone such as the Mini 2, as drones that weigh less than 250 grams have no minimum distance they need to be from uninvolved people.
There are four flight restriction zones in London. You can see them on the map to the right of or you can download the NATS Drone Assist App which will show you all the Flight Restriction Zones. You will need permission to fly in these areas. It would be difficult to get permission to fly in these as a hobbyist drone pilot.
It is worth noting that there are addition zones on the Drone Assist App that you can fly in without permission. This includes a zone that covers all four zones that only applies to helicopters and is on the app by accident and the CTR zone which is an area you can fly in without permission.
For more info on flying in London see our video at the bottom of the page.
For more info on CTRs click here.
Buildings are considered hazards for two reasons.
The most obvious reason is they can be accidentally flown into. This happen to a hobbyist in New York and everyone from the police to the counter terrorism unit got involved. Despite getting off very lightly, he still lost his drone and it was a lot of hassle to go through. It can be easy to focus on the screen and notice a building, particularly when you are not flying forwards.
Another reason buildings are a hazard – particularly skyscrapers is that they can cause wind turbulence. If you are flying a 250 gram drone the wind turbulence can have a huge effect on the drone pushing it in unpredictable directions.
Roads and vehicles need to be considered too. A drone could be seen as a distraction to motorists. We would recommend keeping away from roads and certainly not flying along them. If you feel it is essential to crossover a road, it would be a good idea to make sure there is no traffic present.
Uninvolved people, as always, will be something else to keep in mind. Even though legally you can over fly people with a sub 250 gram drone, you will need to assess how safe and close you can fly to uninvolved people. Crowds cannot be overflown regardless of what drone of qualifications you have.
Most of London is a restricted area for helicopters. Having said that there are two things to consider.
There are helicopter routes that mainly follow the river Thames. You can see them on the drone assist app. In these routes helicopters will be moving fast and low. They can also come down to 300 feet. As drones go as high as 400 feet, there is a shared space.
For this reason we would recommend avoiding Helicopter Routes. If you need to cross make sure you cannot see or hear any helicopters any before crossing.
Another thing to remember is emergency helicopters and military can go anywhere without notice. So never assume the sky is clear of helicopters even in areas they are restricted from.
As always privacy is something to remember. You can check out our privacy page here for in depth advice. Juts make sure you do not capture anyone’s personal data by making them recognisable in your images or video.
This video will go over everything in great depth.