To fly a Small Unmanned Aircraft (“SUA”) in the UK, either commercially OR recreationally, all pilots are required to comply with CAP393: Air Navigation Order unless otherwise approved by the CAA.
For pilots who wish to undertake aerial work or gain valuable consideration. From their flights they must also hold Permission for Aerial Work (“PFAW”) what has now been renamed as Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO).
As a brief overview, SUA must be flown only –
- Maintain a distance of 50m from people and property not in control of the pilot.
- Maintain a minimum distance of 150m from crowds of over 1000 people.
- Maintain a minimum distance of 150m from congested areas (if under 7kg maximum take-off weight, an exemption to this restriction will be granted as standard however you will still need to adhere to the 50m rule mentioned above).
- Within line of sight, no higher than 400ft above ground level and to a distance of 500m.
- During daylight hours, so that you can clearly see the SUA and take avoiding action from other air users if required.
- Outside of controlled airspace.
Commercial SUA pilots in the UK are also expected to carry Public Liability Insurance and we would also recommend this for recreational pilots.
When you fly a drone in the UK it is your responsibility to be aware of the rules that are in place to keep everyone safe.
Follow these simple steps to make sure you are flying safely and legally.
- Make sure you can see your drone at all times and don't fly higher than 400 feet
- Always keep your drone away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields
- Use your common sense and fly safely; you could be prosecuted if you don't.
Drones below 7kg fitted with cameras must not be flown:
- within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or structures
- over congested areas or large gatherings such as concerts and sports events
The following visuals are very clear indications on safe drone flying
A new web portal by NATS gives a lot of information to drone users Link. With a useful checklist to see what rules and permissions apply to you dependent on your drone, the purpose of your flight and where you want to fly, Link