Do I Need a License to fly the DJI Mini 3? (Explained for Beginners)
So you just got your DJI Mini 3 Pro or the newer Mini 3 and can’t wait to test aerial photography. Not so fast.
Unlike handheld cameras, drones are subjected to stricter regulations, and you can’t just pick one and fly it anywhere and whenever you like.
One of the most popular regulations regarding drones is licensing.
Do you need a license to fly the DJI Mini 3 or DJI Mini 3 Pro?
This depends on where and what you will use the drone for. In the USA and Australia, you only need a license if you use your DJI Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro for commercial activities. You may need to get a Flyer ID, an Operator ID, or both in the UK.
Each region has its regulations, so familiarize yourself with them before flying.
Please keep reading to learn more about why you may need a license and other drone regulations you will need to adhere to.
About the DJI Mini 3 and DJI Mini 3 Pro
The DJI Mini 3 and DJI Mini 3 Pro are DJI’s latest mini drones.
For the past few years, drone manufacturers have been doing their best to make smaller drones packing several features.
DJI achieved that with the Mini 3 Pro since it features obstacle avoidance, 4K at 60 fps video resolution, 48 MP still photos, 30+ minutes of flight time, intelligent flight modes, GPS stabilization, and one of the smoothest flights one can get from such a drone.
The DJI Mini 3 came later, and while it has fewer features than the Mini 3 Pro, it’s cheaper and a perfect upgrade for those who would consider the DJI Mini 2 their perfect drone.
The Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro weigh less than 250 grams, which causes confusion on whether you need to get a license or whether the drones should still follow the regulations as the heavier drones do.
United States Regulations
In the USA, you will need to get the Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate if you use the drone for commercial purposes, regardless of the drone’s weight. That means you will also need to register it.
Commercial purposes may include creating YouTube videos where you get paid, real estate photography, or any other use where the drone earns you money.
» MORE: How to Get a Drone License – Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
The Part 107 certificate costs about $175, but you may choose to take a preparation course that costs $100 to $200.
The Part 107 certificate is renewable every 24 months, and the renewals are free.
If you are using the drone for recreational purposes, you must get the TRUST (The Recreational UAS Safety Test) certificate.
Initially, you did not need a license for recreational use.
But the FAA later introduced this certificate since it teaches you the basics of flying drones safely and the regulations you will need to follow even when flying drones for fun.
Unlike the Part 107 certificate, the TRUST certificate is free and you only need to take the test once. You only need to retake it if you lose your certificate.
» MORE: What Is the TRUST Test? (Everything You Need to Know)
In the UK, licensing depends on the weight and type of drone you are flying and where you will be flying.
Let’s look at both categories.
Depending on your drone and the purpose of owning it, you can get either the Flyer ID, Operator ID, or both. Below are the definitions of both IDs.
- Flyer ID is the ID given to the person flying the drone. You need to be 13 years old or older to take and pass the Flyer ID test.
The Flyer ID is free and can be renewed after 5 years.
- Operator ID is given to the person responsible for maintaining, storing, assigning pilots, or purchasing the drone.
You must be 18 years or older to get this ID. Children younger than 18 years will need to ask their parents to apply for the Operator ID.
Companies can also obtain an Operator ID and assign their drones to people with a Flyer ID. The Operator ID costs £10 and is renewed annually.
You will not need any IDs for toy drones without a camera. You also don’t need an ID for drones weighing less than 250 grams that are considered a toy and lack a camera.
You will need an Operator ID for drones weighing less than 250 grams, having a camera, and not considered toys (such as the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro).
Drones weighing more than 250 grams and are not considered toys will need both a Flyer ID and an Operator ID.
The DJI Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro come with two types of batteries; intelligent batteries that keep them under 250 grams and extended batteries that make them weigh more than 250 grams.
Accessories like filters and propeller guards can also make these drones weigh more than 250 grams. So, it is advisable to get both IDs.
If you always keep your drone under 250 grams, you will only need an Operator ID, but if it ever weighs more than that, there are other regulations you need to follow in the following scenarios.
- Rural areas – Drones weighing 250 grams to 25 kg should be flown 150 meters away from residential, recreational, commercial, and industrial areas.
The pilot should also always stay 50 Meters away from uninvolved people.
- Congested areas – If your drone weighs more than 250 grams and you want to fly in a congested area, you will need an A2 Certificate of Competency (A2 C of C).
You will also need to be 50 meters away from uninvolved people.
To fly over uninvolved people, especially with heavier drones, and to get a waiver from any other regulation, you will need a General Visual Line of Sight Certificate from an authorized institution and Operations Authorization from the CAA.
In Australia, CASA categorizes drones weighing less than 250 grams, such as the Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro, in the Micro RPA category.
And in case you add any categories that make it weigh more than 250 grams, it will fall in the Very Small category.
If you are flying your Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro for fun, you will not need a license.
But if you are flying them for your business or part of your job where your drone makes you money, you will need to get an RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator Accreditation).
You will also need to get an Aviation Reference Number (ARN), register your drone, and follow the drone safety rules.
Anyone at least 16 years old can get the RPA, but until they are 18, they will need an adult to supervise their activities. The RPA is also free and renewable after every three years.