The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) takes a very simple approach when it comes to their laws regarding the use of UAV’s, which can be defined as an unmanned aircraft that have a mass of 20 kg, recreationally and commercially.
When it comes to recreational use the key points to follow are:
- You are responsible for flying your drone in a safe manner
- You must keep the drone in your direct sight at all times while it is flying, so that you can ensure that it does not collide with anything, especially other aircraft
- You must not endanger anyone, or any thing with your drone, including any articles that you drop from it
- If your drone weighs more than 7 kg, additional rules apply if you fly in certain types of airspace and you must not fly above 400 ft above the surface
- If your drone is fitted with a camera, there are also a number of additional limitations surrounding where you can fly it, and how close you can fly it to other not involved people or objects. In order to be able to fly within these areas, or closer than the minimum distances that are in the regulations, you must obtain prior Permission from the CAA to do so.
Note though that drones that make use of FPV (First Person View) whether it’s via live feed through a screen or through the use of FPV googles, is not an acceptable mitigation for Beyond Visual Line of Sight flight unless the relevant operator has received a specific approval to do so from the CAA.
For commercial use, a permission is required from the CAA. This is so wish to conduct a commercial operation with your aircraft, or if you wish to fly your aircraft:
- Within 150 m of either a congested area or an organised open air crowd or more than 1000 persons
- Within 50 m of people or properties/objects that are not under your control