Blakiston – Letter to my MP regarding the Drone Bill

This is my letter to my MP regarding the Drone Bill in advance of when it eventually makes it back onto the legislative programme. I address a number of concerns that I have relating to PfCO holders (commercial drone users) and how that interrelates with Police Powers.

My aim is to get the law amended to properly protect PfCO holders as they would be treated the same as nefarious drone users. If you are a PfCO holder or have an interest in helping this nascent industry grow, please share or copy and paste the letter into “writetothem” on the web (you have royalty free licence to do so!), which will find your MP for you. There are over 5000 registered PfCO holders in the UK.

My belief is that everyone in the industry should be heard and the initial consultation that informed this draft law could have cast a wider net.

Dear Mr Nicolson,

Re: Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill [HL] 2019 (“the Drone Bill”)

I am writing to you as I have genuine concerns that the Drone Bill as it is currently written does not properly represent my interests as a holder of a “Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO).” The current Drone Bill’s passage was halted because of last year’s general election and made it as far as the first reading of the House of Lords on 22 October 2019. On reflection, it is abundantly clear that the Drone Bill requires further amendment before it commences its journey through both Houses as it is inadequate in many respects.

Summary of the Drone Bill

This is a Bill to make provisions about airspace change proposals and about the licensing regime for air traffic services under Part 1 of the Transport Act 2000, to confer police powers relating to unmanned aircraft and requirements in Air Navigation Orders and to provide for fixed penalties for certain offences relating to unmanned aircraft.

What is a PfCO?

The permission is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority to a drone pilot following extensive assessment of theory and practical ability that allows a drone pilot to fly drones commercially. Upon successful completion of the assessments, a drone pilot must submit a detailed Operations Manual to the CAA that governs every aspect of safe drone operations. This Operations Manual must be approved by the CAA in order for a drone pilot to

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