As the search continues for the owner of a drone which is believed to have hit a flight landing at Heathrow Airport on Sunday, here’s a look at the rules for flying drones.

Drone pilots could face criminal prosecution if they fail to conduct a flight in a safe manner. They can be jailed for up to five years if they recklessly endanger an aircraft.

Users can also be prosecuted under the Air Navigation Order 2009 if they fly their drone beyond their line of sight, which is measured as 500 metres horizontally or 400 feet vertically.

Unmanned aircraft fitted with cameras must not be flown within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or structures, or within 150 metres over a congested area or crowd of people such as at concerts and sporting events.

Snappa graphic showing rules for flying drones

Pilots are forbidden from flying drones near aircraft, airports and airfields.

They must obtain permission from the Civil Aviation Authority before using a drone for commercial purposes.

In September last year a man was prosecuted for flying drones over Premier League football stadiums, the Houses of Parliament and near Buckingham Palace.

Nigel Wilson, 42, from Nottingham, used the drones to shoot videos which he uploaded onto his YouTube channel.

He was fined £1,800, the first time someone has been prosecuted for using drones following a police-led operation.

In the US the law says owners of unmanned aircraft system must register before they fly outdoors. However, there is no registration system for users in the UK.

An expert has claimed because of this detectives are unlikely to catch the operator of the drone which is apparently hit the British Airways plane on Sunday.

Justin Pringle, chief technology officer at Newcastle-based firm Drone Operations, told the Press Association: “There isn’t any chance of catching the pilot because drones do not have to be registered.

“It’s an untraceable event. There doesn’t have to be any registration on the drone, there’s nothing that tells you where you got it from and ultimately someone has got one of these things and abused it.”

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said the Government is looking at the possibility of introducing a registration scheme in the UK, similar to the ones already in place in Ireland and the US.

Check out the video below to learn more about the rules for flying drones.