The Rules for Drone Operators

The following is an extract of the applicable Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules and regulations to small drones w.r.t distances. 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 and details of the 2018 ANO Amendment 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 remote pilot of a small unmanned aircraft may only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made

  3. The remote pilot 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. Intentionally blank (articles removed)

  5. The SUA operator must not cause or permit a small unmanned aircraft to be flown for the purposes of commercial operations, and the remote pilot of a small unmanned aircraft must not fly it for the purposes of commercial operations, except in accordance with a permission granted by the CAA.

Article 94A

  1. If the permission or permissions that are required under this article for a flight, or a part of a flight, by a small unmanned aircraft have not been obtained—

    (a) the SUA operator must not cause or permit the small unmanned aircraft to be flown on that flight or that part of the flight; and

    (b) the remote pilot must not fly the small unmanned aircraft on that flight or that

  2. Permission from the CAA is required for a flight, or a part of a flight, by a small unmanned aircraft at a height of more than 400 feet above the surface

  3. But permission from the CAA is not required under paragraph (2) if—

    (a) the flight, or the part of the flight, takes place in a flight restriction zone at a protected aerodrome, and

    (b) permission for the flight, or the part of the flight, is required under paragraph (4) from an air traffic control unit or a flight information service unit.

  4. Permission for a flight, or a part of a flight, by a small unmanned aircraft in the flight restriction zone of a protected aerodrome is required—

    (a) from any air traffic control unit at the protected aerodrome, if the flight, or the part of the flight, takes place during the operational hours of the air traffic control unit;

    (b)from any flight information service unit at the protected aerodrome, if the flight, or the part of the flight, takes place during the operational hours of the flight information service unit and either—

    (i) there is no air traffic control unit at the protected aerodrome, or

    (ii) the flight, or the part of the flight, takes place outside the operational hours of the air traffic control unit at the protected aerodrome;

    (c) from the operator of the protected aerodrome, if—

    (i) there is neither an air traffic control unit nor a flight information service unit at the protected aerodrome; or

    (ii) the flight, or the part of the flight, takes place outside the operational hours of any such unit or units at the protected aerodrome.

  5. In this article, “operational hours”, in relation to an air traffic control unit or flight information service unit, means the operational hours—

    (a) notified in relation to the unit, or

    (b) set out in the UK military AIP in relation to the unit.

  6. In this article and article 94B, “protected aerodrome” means—

    (a) an EASA certified aerodrome,

    (b) a Government aerodrome,

    (c) a national licensed aerodrome, or

    (d) an aerodrome that is prescribed, or of a description prescribed, for the purposes of this paragraph.

  7. The “flight restriction zone” of a protected aerodrome is to be determined for the purposes of this article in accordance with the following table—

Article 94B

  1. This article makes provision about the meaning of expressions used in the definition of “flight restriction zone” in article 94A that applies in relation to a protected aerodrome which is—

    (a) an EASA certified aerodrome,

    (b) a Government aerodrome, or

    (c) a national licensed aerodrome,

    and which has an aerodrome traffic zone

  2. Subject to paragraph (4), there is one runway protection zone for each runway threshold of each runway at the aerodrome.

  3. A “runway protection zone”, in relation to a runway threshold at the aerodrome, is the airspace extending from the surface to a height of 2,000 feet above the level of the aerodrome within the area bounded by a rectangle—

    (a) whose longer sides measure 5 km;

    (b) whose shorter sides measure—

    (i) 1 km (except in the case of Heathrow Airport);

    (ii) 1.5 km, in the case of Heathrow Airport; and

    (c) which is positioned so that—

    (i) one of the shorter sides of the rectangle (“side A”) runs across the runway threshold, and

    (ii) the two longer sides of the rectangle are parallel to, and equidistant from, the extended runway centre line as it extends from side A out to, and beyond, the runway end to which the runway threshold relates.

  4. There is no runway protection zone—

    (a) for any runway threshold at the London Heliport;

    (b) for any runway threshold that is prescribed, or of a description prescribed, for the purposes of this paragraph.

  5. The “runway threshold” of a runway at the aerodrome is the location that, for the purpose of demarcating the start of the portion of the runway that is useable for landing, is—

    (a) notified as the threshold of the runway, or

    (b) set out as the threshold of the runway in the UK military AIP.

  6. The “extended runway centre line”, in relation to a runway at the aerodrome, is an imaginary straight line which runs for the length of the runway along its centre and then extends beyond both ends of the runway.

  7. An “additional boundary zone” is the airspace extending from the surface to a height of 2,000 feet above the level of the aerodrome within any part of the area between—

    (a) the boundary of the aerodrome, and

    (b) a line that is 1 km from the boundary of the aerodrome (the “1 km line”), that is neither within the aerodrome traffic zone nor within any runway protection zone at the aerodrome.

  8. The 1 km line is to be drawn so that the area which is bounded by it includes every location that is 1 km from the boundary of the aerodrome, measured in any direction from any point on the boundary.

Article 94A Table

ARTICLE 94G

In this Order—

(a) the “remote pilot”, in relation to a small unmanned aircraft, is an individual who—

(i) operates the flight controls of the small unmanned aircraft by manual use of remote controls, or

(ii) when the small unmanned aircraft is flying automatically, monitors its course and is able to intervene and change its course by operating its flight controls;

(b) the “SUA operator”, in relation to a small unmanned aircraft, is the person who has the management of the small unmanned aircraft.

Article 95

  1. The SUA operator must not cause or permit a small unmanned surveillance aircraft to be flown in any of the circumstances described in paragraph (2), and the remote pilot of a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not fly it in any of those circumstances, 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 SUA operator or the remote pilot 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 remote pilot of the small unmanned surveillance aircraft or a person under the control of the remote pilot 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.

ARTICLE 241

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

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 - For the purposes of this Order, “commercial operation” means any flight by a small unmanned aircraft except a flight for public transport, or any operation of any other aircraft except an operation for public transport (a) which is available to the public; or (b) which, when not made available to the public— (i) in the case of a flight by a small unmanned aircraft, is performed under a contract between the SUA operator and a customer, where the latter has no control over the remote pilot; or (ii) in any other case, 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.

How have NoFlyDrones Determined the INNER AND OUTER ZONES?

These have been determined through use of Google Maps / Streetview / Earth and the Aerodrome Section of the AIP (i.e. the AD Charts). It is a manual exercise and as such is subject to error and should only be used as an initial assessment. Please ensure you contact the airfield to determine if the flight is within or outside any of the flight restriction zones.