List of CAA or United Kingdom regulations

  1. The person in charge of a drone must not fly the drone in any of the circumstances  except in accordance with a permission issued by the CAA.
  2. The circumstances referred to in paragraph are:
    a) over or within 150 metres of any congested area;
    b) over or within 150 metres of an organized 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) within 50 metres of any person.
  3. During take-off or landing, a drone must not be flown within 30 metres of any person.
  4. Does not apply to the person in charge of the drone or a person under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft.
  5. Drone’ means a drone which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition.



In essence therefore, provided the aircraft has a mass of 20 kg or less, the current regulations state:
  1. The operation must not endanger anyone or anything.
  2. The drone must be kept within the visual line of sight (normally taken to be within 500 m horizontally and 400 ft vertically) of its remote operator (i.e. the ‘person in charge’ of it). Operations beyond these distances must be approved by the CAA regulations (the basic premise being for the operator to prove that he/she can do this safely).
  3. Drone (irrespective of their mass) that are being used for surveillance purposes are subject to tighter restrictions with regard to the minimum distances that you can fly near people or properties that are not under your control. If you wish to fly within these minima, permission is required from the CAA before operations are commenced.
  4. CAA permission is also required for all flights that are being conducted for aerial work (i.e. in very simple terms, you are getting paid for doing it).
  5. The ‘remote operator’ has the responsibility for satisfying him/herself that the flight can be conducted safely.


Note: there is currently no ‘protected’ frequency band allocated for the control link between ‘remote pilot’ and aircraft. Some control frequencies are also ‘shared’ with other uses (such as Bluetooth and WiFi, or a band for research and development systems). The drone manufacturers should be well aware of this, however it would be worthwhile checking with them to ensure that there are no other related precautions which need to be taken with their specific machine. You will need to ensure that any other equipment you routinely need to use does not adversely affect the flight of the aircraft.
Careful note should be taken that the collection of images of identifiable individuals, even inadvertently, when using surveillance cameras mounted on a drone, will be subject to the Data Protection Act. As this Act contains requirements concerning the collection, storage and use of such images, drone operators should ensure that they are complying with any such applicable requirements or exemptions.caa







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