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Local drone users invited to take part in photography competition

By Jean Gunn

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The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched new photography campaign and competition – #ShotOnMyDrone – with some amazing prizes up for grabs.

The competition highlights the amazing images that can be produced and educates people around using drones safely and responsibly while exploring the UK’s beautiful towns, cities, and countryside.

Run in partnership with the Royal Aeronautical Society, winning entries – which could be from Caithness – will be exhibited at its prestigious London headquarters. A selection of the images will also be featured in the Society’s Aerospace magazine.

The competition will run until January 31, 2022, and provides a platform for UK drone users to display their skills. From a safety perspective it is designed to raise awareness of the rules and permissions required to fly a drone and that these vary from the countryside to built-up areas.

Wherever in the UK the participants choose to take their potentially winning competition shot, all entrants to #ShotOnMyDrone must comply with the CAA’s Drone and Model Aircraft Code. This law and advice covers everything users need to know on how to make their flight safe and legal, including how to register as a drone operator and get a UK drone Flyer ID.

The competition categories include urban night, urban day and countryside, for which drone users must have varying levels of approval to enter, with tighter restrictions around flying in built up areas.

First prize in the competition is a DJI Mavic Air drone. Other prizes included special backpacks designed to carry drones from Thinktank and Torvol.

Drone use continues to grow, with over 300,000 registered drone and model aircraft users in the UK. New research by the CAA of UK adults revealed that 20 per cent of drone users and half of the general public are unaware that CAA approval is needed to fly a drone in a town or city in most cases.

The survey also showed that two-thirds of drone users would be looking to take their ideal drone photo in the countryside, followed in popularity by city centres and then towns and cities. Of those who would prefer to take their photo in the countryside, almost a third (31 per cent) would choose to take the shot over hills or mountains.

Over a quarter (28 per cent) would prefer the coast, while one-fifth (19 per cent) would do so at a lake or river. As many as 12 per cent would use the drone to take a photo of a historic building/monument, with 10 per cent opting to photograph a forest or woods.

Drone users can enter the competition at caa-dronecomp.uk where they will have the chance to showcase their stunning images from across the country. The site will also host entries as they come in to enable anyone to see the photos submitted.

The highly anticipated competition will be judged by a panel of experts including CAA chair and keen photographer Sir Stephen Hillier; Anna Henly an award-winning professional photographer, drone pilot and photography tutor; CAA drone inspector and BAFTA award winner John Livesey; and Tim Robinson, from the Royal Aeronautical Society.

A separate award will be given by UK air traffic control provider NATS which will be polling all its colleagues to decide their favourite image.

Jonathan Nicholson, assistant director of communications at the UK CAA, said: "The launch of #ShotOnMyDrone aims to showcase some of the stunning images that UK drone users take while also reminding everyone that whether they’re flying in a town, city, or the countryside, they must comply with our Dronecode and stay safe when flying a drone."

#ShotOnMyDrone follows the success of CAA’s 400ft Britain drone photography competition in 2017 which received over 1200 individual submissions from across the UK including James Farley's winning image of the lighthouse at Point of Ayr in North Wales, captured below 400ft (120m) - the Dronecode limit at which drones can be flown in the UK.

For more information on drone safety and the laws covering drone flying please go to www.caa.co.uk/drones

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