regulations tool

The newly created EU-wide drone regulations were adopted into UK law from 1st January 2021. These complex regulations take a ‘risk based’ approach considering the drone’s mass and the proximity of the drone’s operation to uninvolved persons, and are administered by the Civil Aviation Authority, the UK’s aviation regulator.

This tool is intended to simplify these rules for managers looking to task or contract drone activity for construction, but who do not have a complete understanding of the airspace regulations and want to quickly know where they can safely use drones and what qualifications the operator must have.

All you need to do is answer two quick questions:

1. How are you intending to use drones?

       

2. What is the mass category of the drone?

       
Please note, this tool is intended as a guide to simplify interpretation of CAA regulations. Any reliance placed upon this tool shall be the full responsibility of the drone operator to ensure that all necessary regulations and approvals are met before carrying out any flight.

Here are your results...


You can fly in the OPEN A1 subcategory. This means:
  • You can fly outside of restricted airspace,
  • You can fly over people but should avoid this wherever possible,
  • You cannot fly over assemblies of people,
  • The Operator needs to be registered with the CAA and the drone must be marked with a valid OPERATOR ID,
  • The Remote Pilot (RP) must have read the drone's user manual,
  • 'Follow me' mode may be used to a maximum of 50m from the RP.


You can fly in the OPEN A1 subcategory until 31 Dec 2022*. This means:
  • You can fly outside of restricted airspace,
  • You can fly near people but cannot intentionally fly over uninvolved people,
  • The Remote Pilot (RP) needs to hold a valid FLYER ID and an A2 Certificate of Competency,
  • The Operator needs to be registered with the CAA and the drone must be marked with a valid OPERATOR ID,
  • If it is a company operating the drone, employing more than one RP, they should have an Operations Manual with procedures to coordinate their flying activities and establish and maintain a list of their personnel and assigned duties.

*Existing drones can be flown in the Transition A1 and A2 OPEN categories until 31 Dec 2022. At present, no drones meet C1 and C2 product standards and the above guidance assumes all 250g-2kg drones therefore fall into the A1 and A2 Transition classes.
You can fly in the OPEN A2 subcategory until 31 Dec 2022*. This means:
  • You can fly outside of restricted airspace and within residential, commercial, industrial and recreational areas,
  • You must fly >50m horizontally from involved people,
  • The Remote Pilot (RP) needs to hold a valid FLYER ID, an A2 Certificate of Competency and must have read the drone's User Manual,
  • The Operator needs to be registered with the CAA and the drone must be marked with a valid OPERATOR ID,
  • If it is a company operating the drone, employing more than one RP, they should have an Operations Manual with procedures to coordinate their flying activities and establish and maintain a list of their personnel and assigned duties.

If you need to fly closer than 50m horizontally from uninvolved people, you can fly in the Specific Category.
*Existing drones can be flown in the Transition A1 and A2 OPEN categories until 31 Dec 2022. At present, no drones meet C1 and C2 product standards and the above guidance assumes all 250g-2kg drones therefore fall into the A1 and A2 Transition classes.
You can fly in the OPEN A3 subcategory. This means:
  • The Remote Pilot (RP) needs to hold a valid FLYER ID and must have read the drone's User Manual,
  • The Operator needs to be registered with the CAA and the drone must be marked with a valid OPERATOR ID,
  • If it is a company operating the drone, employing more than one RP, they should have an Operations Manual with procedures to coordinate their flying activities and establish and maintain a list of their personnel and assigned duties,
  • You can fly outside restricted airspace,
  • You cannot fly within 150m horizontally of residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas.

If you need to fly closer than 50m horizontally from uninvolved people, you can fly in the Specific Category.
Some further rules that apply to all OPEN category operations:
  • The drone must be in Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) of the RP, or an observer positioned next to the RP and they must be able to communicate clearly and effectively with each other,
  • You can fly to a maximum of 120m/400ft from the earth's surface,
  • Obstacles taller than 105m may be overflown by a maximum of 15m provided that the person in charge of the obstacle has requested this and the drone must not be more than 50m horizontally from the obstruction,
  • You need third party insurance that meets (EC)785/2004 requirements (non-recreational),
  • No dropping of articles is allowed,
  • No carriage of dangerous goods,
  • No flight in restricted airspace (Flight Restriction Zones, Danger Areas, Restricted Areas) without relevant permission - these can be found on various websites or by downloading a suitable mobile App.

Flying in the Specific Category

You will need a flying organisation/operator with a valid Operational Authorisation from the CAA using Predefined Risk Assessment-01 (PDRA-01) and a valid OPERATOR ID and this must be marked on the drone. These privileges are the same as those previously available under a "Permit for Commercial Operations".
  • Each Remote Pilot (RP) will need to hold a valid FLYER ID and a General Visual Line of Site (VLOS) Certificate (GVC),
  • The drone must be in VLOS of the RP or an observer positioned next to the RP and they must be able to communicate clearly and effectively with each other,
  • Flight is allowed up to a maximum of 120m/400ft from the earth's surface,
  • Flight is allowed <150m from residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas,
  • But no flight within 50m of any uninvolved person - except during take-off and landing when this distance may be reduced to 30m,
  • No flight over or within 150m of open-air assemblies of more than 1000 persons,
  • No flight in restricted airspace (Flight Restriction Zones, Danger Areas, Restricted Areas) without relevant permission - these can be found on various websites or by downloading a suitable mobile App.
If you need to fly closer than 50m from involved people when not taking off or landing, further than 500m horizontally from the RP or above 120m/400ft for your tasking, you will need a flying organisation or operator with permission from the CAA. This is an Operational Authorisation (OA) supported by a full Operating Safety Case. Each OA is different and will clearly state the organisation's authorised limitations. These may include reduced separation distance, greater maximum height above the earth or an increased VLOS range, Extended Visual Line of Sight or Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations.

If you have any further questions or feedback on our tool, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

contact

send us a message at smalltech to find out more about how we can help you