The answer to do you have to pay to fly your drone in an airports FRZ, or even to pay to fly your drone in ANY airspace is simply NO, however, some airports including London Oxford Airport (at the time of writing of this article) are charging commercial and recreational remote drone pilots to fly their aircraft within their Flight Restriction Zone.
This isn't a new battle...
For years, we've been battling with London Oxford Airport, on behalf of our students and some other Professional Drone operators, to get them to realise that they're impacting Flight Safety, by CHARGING drone users to operate inside their ATZ (now, their FRZ). As drone operators, we HAVE to get permission to operate a drone in their airspace (now the FRZ, NOT the controlled airspace around the airport and/or the ATZ) BUT, London Oxford Airport along with a couple of others are levying a fee in order for people to fly their drones in these areas.
The same cannot be said for 'regular' air traffic... Who can book in to utilise the airspace for FREE and without any of the same restrictions or requirements.
You have privileges you are entitled to exercise under the ANO
As the drone community, we must be aware of the privileges which we are entitled to exercise under the Air Navigation Order and the fact that, provided we are complying with the regulations, we have as much right to access and use airspace as any other airspace user.
During a telephone conversation with London Oxford Airport (see the video) it took 5 times as long on the phone to get the information required, the forms to be sent over AND, we weren't guaranteed permission even after compelting the paperwork... It then took less than 1 minute to get permission from Air Traffic Control (ATC), to get permission to do a similar body of work with a full-sized helicopter.
In addition, the paperwork shows a charge for drone permissions of £120 (albeit over 7Kg [when the CAA no longer delineate between any weight of drone in the 0-20Kg category]).
Whilst we fully appreciate the differences in licensing, training etc behind both sides of this conversation; the fact still remains - an airspace manager/operator SHOULD NOT be charging for access to the airspace which they are granted 'ownership' of by the CAA. Moreover, if they are going to charge drone operators, then they also have to charge manned aircraft. They cannot discriminate between the two types of airspace user.
This is all even more disappointing, given that we've spoken to them a number of times on the phone, via email and even had a FACE TO FACE meeting with the Airport Management; at which meeting, they agreed to waive any costs for drone users to access 'their' airspace. Now they appear to have reneged on this promise.
Let the CAA know! You have a right!
So, if you have encountered similar, then let us know and we'll pass that info onto the CAA directly; or you can do it yourself by using the link https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft/Airspace-Access-Reporting/
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