Drone Rules

Knowing the law helps you understand your rights while flying drones.

Our introductory video below gives a very basic, simplified, version of the rules. UK air law is documented in ‘The Air Navigation Order’ issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). You can view the ANO it in its entirety here: CAP393 The Air Navigation Order 2016.

Watch our drone video safety video Watch our drone video safety video

As model/ drone pilots we fall under “Small Unmanned Aircraft” and in some cases “Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft” and as such we are exempt from the vast majority of the Air Navigation Order. The articles that do apply to us are: 2, 91, 92, 94, 95, 239, 241 and 257 (this is specified in article 23 of the ANO).

The following 4 are not really relevant to R/C and FPV and paraphrased descriptions are included here only for completeness – please open the PDF if you would like to read them in full.

  • 2

    Schedule 1 (interpretation) has effect.

  • 91

    Dropping for the purposes of agriculture

  • 92

    A glider must not be winched or ground towed above 60 metres

  • 239

    Power to prohibit or restrict flying

  • 257*

    CAA’s power to stop flying
    * Except 257(2)(a)

Endangering safety of any person or property

  • 241A

    Endangering safety of any person or property

Small Unmanned Aircraft

  • 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 aerial work except in accordance with a permission granted by the CAA.

    Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft

    • 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.

      Drone Bill Consultation

      Please respond to the new government consultation on drones before 17th September 2018! It’s really important!

      My video on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oYscTpSdco

      The drone consultation covers ‘Use, restrictions and enforcement of drones’ – and that includes all small unmanned aircraft from RC planes, helicopters, tricopters, multicopters, home-built drones, shop built drones, everything.

      Link to the consultation page: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/drone-legislation-use-restrictions-and-enforcement (And the consultation itself: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/drones/).

      Link to the model association guidance on how to complete it: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dppvy451r95uf0y/ConsultationResponseGuidance.pdf

      This guidance is from all of the model associations combined and isn’t exactly how FPV UK will respond, but it gives some good advice/ reasoning.

Membership

£19.99 for 12 months

Includes £5m public liability insurance

Join FPV UK

The Community

Get involved with local FPV clubs and events

Find local FPV Drone clubs and register your interest

Find Local Clubs

Working With

Civil Aviation Authority
House of Lords
NATS
Department for Transport