The Rules for Drone Operators

The following is an extract of the applicable Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules and regulations to small drones. Note: this is just an extract, please refer to the CAA as the official source of these rules and see CAP 393 - the Air Navigation Order for the latest version of rules that apply.

Article 94

  1. 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.
  2. The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft may only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 (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.
  5. The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must not fly the aircraft for the purposes of commercial operations except in accordance with a permission granted by the CAA.

ARTICLE 241

A person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property

Article 95

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Subject to paragraph (4), during take-off or landing, a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not be flown within 30 metres of any person.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Some noteworthy definitions:

  • Congested Area - any area of a city, town or settlement which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes
  • Small Unmanned Aircraft - any unmanned aircraft, other than a balloon or a kite, having a mass of not more than 20kg without its fuel but including any articles or equipment installed in or attached to the aircraft at the commencement of its flight.
  • Commercial Operation - any operation of an aircraft other than for public transport (a) which is available to the public; or (b) which, when not made available to the public, is performed under a contract between an operator and a customer, where the latter has no control over the operator, in return for remuneration or other valuable consideration