Flying Drones in London Boroughs (and surrounds)

Just a quick post about the different rules for flying drones around London.

Remember, always check for no-fly zones, airports, and obey all other rules.

These rules largely concern parks and other open spaces. It can be difficult to determine where the rules apply to.

London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames – Limited

According to the Public Spaces Protection Order 2020 (page 4), you can’t fly without express prior consent.

There is an area in Richmond Park (which is a Royal Park, and handled differently) where you can fly.

London Borough of Ealing – Limited

According to the park bylaws (page 7), no person may fly.

However, on this page, it is said you can contact parks for permission. They OKed this last year.

London Borough of Hounslow – Free

According to the park byelaws (page 7), restrictions only apply to aircraft driven by “petrol vapour other combustible vapour or other combustible substances”. Electric motors are not covered.

Remember Heathrow’s FRZ is partially in Hounslow – make sure to check using Drone Assist or whichever tool you normally use.

I have been hassled by people claiming I am flying close to the planes, but I’m not sure they understand how different 60m is to 2000ft.

London Borough of Brent – Limited

The Public Spaces Protection Order seems to contain rules preventing flying without written consent. I can’t find a direct link to the PSPO but I can find reference (page 12) to it.

Hampstead Heath – No

This is managed by City of London, and they are classifying it as a congested area, so a no-go. This seems an odd way to do it.

Bracknell Forest Council – Limited

According to their website, you need permission to fly in their parks and open spaces. This looks like it is permitted on a per-flight basis and would be awkward for any hobbyist flying.

National Trust – No

The National Trust prohibit all flying, including overflight. The claim is that these byelaws allow them to prevent overflight, but this seems dubious at best. I do not believe this has been legally tested and would be cautious.



How many microcontrollers does a quadcopter have on it?

I was sat on the floor last night, wiring up new bits and pieces to my quadcopter, and it dawned on me that there are an awful lot of microcontrollers on it.

  1. Each electronic speed control (ESC) has an ATmega328 onboard (4, total 4)
  2. The flight controller has an STM microcontroller, CP2102 serial->USB bridge, MPU-6050 3-axis gyro/accelerometer, HMC5883L compass, MS5611 barometer (5, total 9)
  3. The FrSky X8R receiver has at least one microcontroller in it (1, total 10)
  4. The SBUS to CPPM converter has at least one microcontroller in it (1, total 11)
  5. The FrSky Variometer has at least one microcontroller in it (1, total 12)
  6. The FrSky FLVSS voltage monitor has at least one microcontroller (1, total 13).
  7. The SimpleBGC gimbal controller has 2 microcontrollers (1 main, 1 for yaw), a serial to USB bridge, another accelerometer and gyro (4, total 17)
  8. The GoPro will have at least 3 microcontrollers inside it (2 for camera, 1 in SD card) (3, total 20)

That is a lot to potentially go wrong.