Drone photography competition aims to promote flight safety and the beauty of the countryside
TECH

Drone safety is being highlighted in a new photography competition which asks amateur pilots to submit images captured with drones while staying below the 400 feet (122m) flying limit for the crafts.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and tourism board VisitEngland has launched the 400ft Britain challenge as a way to “celebrate the beauty of the countryside” while educating drone owners on how to safely use the technology.

Balcombe Viaduct
(Tim Browne/VisitEngland)

Drones have become increasingly popular among amateur users. However, safety concerns have been raised following more than 40 reported “near-misses” involving aircraft in 2016, despite use of the remote control crafts in close proximity to airports being banned. In September, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) said it was only a matter of time before a major accident is caused by a drone collision.

Now the CAA wants to encourage safer use with the launch of the competition, where members of the public will be able to submit entries – captured by a drone flying no higher than 400 feet above ground – via social media using the hashtag #400ftBritain.

The CAA has created the Dronecode, which outlines the main rules governing the safe flying of recreational drones, which includes prohibiting flight less than 164 feet (50m) from buildings and 492 feet (150m) from crowds.

Drone
(Dave Howarth/PA)

The CAA’s Jonathan Nicholson said: “We absolutely want to encourage people to enjoy using their drones but we want them to do so safely.

“By launching 400ft Britain, a competition with the Dronecode embedded in its core, we’re raising awareness of the Code and encouraging drone users to have fun whilst staying safe and within the rules.”

The competition will run into early 2017, with the winners being chosen and announced in February.