Kiplin Hall and Gardens Opens its Skies to Drone Pilots
With the rising popularity of drone flying, Kiplin Hall and Gardens has published a Drone Access Policy detailing how pilots can enjoy exploring the skies over the rural North Yorkshire estate.
The policy is the first of its kind for recreational flight. Two flying zones have been created in the policy, one over the lake and its shoreline, and the other an L shaped zone over the estate parkland beyond the peninsular wood.
There are approximately 250,000 hobbyists and 10,000 professional entities flying drones in the UK, creating a boom in low-level airspace traffic. The Civil Aviation Authority has produced the UK Drone Code, which details how pilots can fly safely and legally. It is against the law to fly a drone or model aircraft without having the required IDs.
Many historic sites, areas of natural beauty or private landowners have banned the use of drones, leaving pilots grounded without space to fly. Of course, there are some places where it is not safe to fly a drone, as the Drone Code details, something which licensed pilots are fully aware of. But there is an emerging market of venues creating safe places to fly, with clear guidance, outlined in Drone Access Policies.
Director of Kiplin Hall and Gardens, James Etherington, explains why they’ve taken the decision to allow pilots to fly at Kiplin.
“Kiplin Hall and Gardens is a large estate offering 90 acres of land and the lake. The estate has a long tradition of recreation. Built as a hunting lodge in the 1620s and throughout its life as a family home Kiplin has hosted various pursuits including boating, fishing, orienteering, walking and trail running, even curling on the frozen lake in winter. As technology advances so do our hobbies. As a venue we must keep up with trends in how people want to enjoy our outdoor spaces. As an independent charity tasked with preserving the Hall and estate we rely on ticket income to continue our work. Appealing to a new audience of drone pilots will help us to do that. Kiplin’s grounds have a lot to offer with ample space for pilots and regular visitors to enjoy. Kiplin provides the ideal backdrop for drone pilots.”
Mr Etherington details how the policy will take effect.
“We’ve worked with Drone-Prep, a specialist organisation connecting pilots and landowners to create a policy that clearly defines when, where, and how pilots can access our airspace. The policy is very detailed and precautions have been taken to safeguard the historic house and the environment. The fly zones mean that drones will be no-where near this historic architecture of the listed buildings and hall. We will pause access to the Estate Zone during lambing season and will assess any issues at the Lake Zone during wild bird nesting season. We are thrilled to be launching our Drone Access Policy. It’s a trial for the autumn months, which are often quieter for us, so we hope that pilots will be a new audience for us. The drones will not alter other visitors’ enjoyment, and some might even find them an interesting addition.”
Drone-Prep, who have worked with Kiplin on this project, connect landowners and drone pilots to open up low-level airspace for safe and responsible drone flight. They run a website and app which offer pilots and landowners the resources and support to plan flights and to create safe spaces in which to fly. Drone-Prep has also been involved in UK-first drone test flights delivering mail and PPE items to remote communities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Claire Owen, Co-founder and CTO of Drone-Prep, describes the map application they’ve created and their approach when working with Kiplin.
“The Drone-Prep map is a web-based application designed to help people plan drone flights. The map contains lots of useful data from Ordnance Survey, ESRI, HM Land Registry, Registrars of Scotland and what3words. You can view airspace interactions, access landowner information and plan your route using our drawing tools. You can also check daylight hours, find new places to fly and save sites for later. Kiplin’s policy offers a sensible approach to drone flight to the benefit of both hobbyist pilots and other visitors to the estate. Kiplin Hall and Gardens recognises the benefit of responsible drone use, encouraging visitors to share flight footage on social media which will promote sensible drone flight as well as the venue as a visitor attraction.”
Pilots wishing to fly at Kiplin Hall and Gardens will need to produce their Flyer ID, Operator ID and insurance on arrival, and must follow the UK Drone Code. Pilots will need to be ticket holders to access the site and will be required to check in and out at main reception. The full Drone Access Policy can be viewed online at www.kiplinhall.co.uk/visit-kiplin/ and you can find out more about Drone-Prep at https://droneprep.uk/
Chris Gorman, a pilot and aerial drone photographer (The Big Ladder Photographer), who took test flights at Kiplin as part of the creation of the policy said this about the flying experience at Kiplin “Kiplin Hall is a unique location for drone users. Set in the stunning Yorkshire countryside the hall provides a beautiful backdrop for those jaw dropping drone images.”
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