UK airspace is ‘royally’ busy this week… Think twice before flying your drone.

This week, in the United Kingdom, we’re celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s birthday. What better way to celebrate than with a grand flypast of some of the greatest aircraft! But, where there’s a flypast, there are temporary flight restrictions and – given the magnitude and security of the event – those restrictions are perhaps even more important to be aware of particularly since they do apply to drone operations.

While we don’t blog about every temporal airspace change on a day-to-day basis (on a global scale, there are many!), the Queens’ birthday is likely to be an event that is going to attract a large proportion of photographers – many of whom will want to capture the action on the air and the crowds on the ground by drone.

The temporary restrictions in effect will apply to drone operations and it’s important to be aware that areas of the United Kingdom in which you can normally fly are now out-of-bounds for the specified timeframes.

Guidance attached to the restrictions includes the following specific warnings (emphasis ours) that ensure there can be no mistake that these restrictions do apply to drones too:

“… the term ‘aircraft’ includes, but is not limited to, all flying machines, as defined by the Air Navigation Order 2016, any small balloon, any kite weighing not more than two kg, any small unmanned aircraft and any parachute including a parascending parachute.”

In other words, do NOT fly your drone in these zones at the times indicated. These restrictions are in effect from the SURFACE at various altitudes, which mean you cannot fly your drone without prior clearance (which is likely to be rejected).

The effect to UK drone pilots, however, will be quite important. Take a look at the map snapshot below. The blue areas represent temporary flight restrictions over the next few days to a week, and you’ll note the larger areas (joined by blue ‘corridors’) are all related to the Queen’s Birthday Flypast:


Snapshot of selected UK Airspace Temporary Flight Restrictions as will be shown/showing on Alttiude Angel w/c 11th June 2017 for the Queen’s Birthday Flypast

So, even if you don’t think you’re where the ‘action’ is in London, remember, huge chunks of the United Kingdom are caught up and affected by the temporary restrictions on flight and these will include those planning to fly their drone recreationally or commercially.

Remember, Altitude Angel always shows the latest information and in the case of temporary flying restrictions where advanced notice has been published, we will give you advanced warning too, so we can all enjoy safer skies.

All our mobile apps, our online safety map and developer API feeds reflect these latest announcements.

Happy, safe, flying!



  1. Why are drones flying at a much lower altitude than the flypast planes restricted at all when the two airspaces don’t even meet? Seems like another abuse of the system. If you are going to set unreasonable rules more people are just going to ignore them and cross their fingers, which is no good for anyone.

    1. Hi Ben, thanks for your comment.

      The rules are determined by the CAA for the protection of other airspace users and people and property on the ground. The restrictions in force on this occasion actually extend to the surface and the CAA have been quite clear that this restriction does in fact apply to drone use as well.

      At Altitude Angel, we do not set the rules, we ensure that the general public are aware of them so that you have the ability to make informed decisions when you fly.

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