Are UAV's Legal?
Each country has its own regulations, it is your repsonsibility to check with your local authorities. However a few general guidelines for amateur UAV's are listed below. If you plan to use your UAV for commercial use a Industry Code of Practice Certificate is required from the CAA
- Only fly Small UAV (under 7Kg)
- Do not fly above 400 feet (~122m)
- Do not fly beyond visual line of sight
- Maintain a "pilot in control", which is to say that you must always be able to take manual control and fly the aircraft out of danger
- Stay away from built-up areas
The information below is extracted from the CAA CAP 722, and CAP 393. These are subject to change so the information below might not be up to date. Please refer to the actual documents for the most relevant regulations.
CAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations Extracts
This section touches on some of the key information reguarding the opperation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the UK. For more detailed information refer to the Civil Aviation Authority Air Navigation Order here
Civil Operator Qualifications
There are two main operating cases as described below
The risk mitigating factors that are referred to in the table 1 above are shown in the table 2 below. Basically if all of the conditions below are met (flying under Case 0 conditions), then there are reduced qualification conditions that apply (you will not need a qualification to fly if the mass of your UAV is below 7Kg)
The effects of operating mass of the UAS that you are using are summarised in the table below.
Essentially if you are flying under Case 0 situations with a UAS that has a operating mass that is less than 7 Kg you will not be required to have a qualification to fly. However depending on where you are flying you might require a BMFA A Certificate, and if you are flying commercially a Industry Code of Practice is required.
I want to use my UAV for commercial operations (aerial work)
If you want to use your UAV for commercial purposes you will need to obtain a BNUC-S qualification. You can see more in the table below.
- Note 1 Applicable for aircraft used for Aerial Work purposes or if flown within a congested area or close to people or property.
- Note 2 Equivalent pilot experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis during application for an operating permission.
- Note 3 It may be possible to obtain certain exemptions from the airworthiness and registration requirements.
Once you hold your BNUC-S qualification you will need to apply for permission from the CAA in accordance with ANO 2009 Article 166.
CAA Air Navigation Order Extracts
For more detailed information refer to the Civil Aviation Authority Air Navigation Order here
166 Small unmanned aircraft
166 Small unmanned aircraft
- A person must not cause or permit any article or animal (whether or not attached to a parachute) to be dropped from a small unmanned aircraft so as to endanger persons or property.
- The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft may only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made.
- The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions.
- The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft which has a mass of more than 7kg excluding its fuel but including any articles or equipment installed in or attached to the aircraft at the commencement of its flight, must not fly the aircraft:
[A]in Class A, C, D or E airspace unless the permission of the appropriate air traffic control unit has been obtained;
[B]within an aerodrome traffic zone during the notified hours of watch of the air traffic control unit (if any) at that aerodrome unless the permission of any such air traffic control unit has been obtained;
or 14 April 2010CAP 393 Air Navigation: The Order and the Regulations Section 1 Part 22 Page 6
[C]at a height of more than 400 feet above the surface unless it is flying in airspace described in sub-paragraph (a) or (b) and in accordance with the requirements for that airspace.
- The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must not fly the aircraft for the purposes of aerial work except in accordance with a permission granted by the CAA.
- The person in charge of a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not fly the aircraft in any of the circumstances described in paragraph (2) except in accordance with a permission issued by the CAA.
- The circumstances referred to in paragraph (1) are:
[A]over or within 150 metres of any congested area;
[B]over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons;
[C]within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft; or
[D]subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), within 50 metres of any person.
- Subject to paragraph (4), during take-off or landing, a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not be flown within 30 metres of any person.
- Paragraphs (2)(d) and (3) do not apply to the person in charge of the small unmanned surveillance aircraft or a person under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft.
- In this article 'a small unmanned surveillance aircraft' means a small unmanned aircraft which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition.