Drone Law & Regulations

Take-off Drone Photography is authorised by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to carry out commercial drone operations in the UK. Our Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) number is UAV 4318.

The Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) is a legal requirement. Before being issued with a PfCO I attended a formal course which included ground school, flight training and flight tests. A Operations Manual, which has to be approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has to be produced. The Operations Manual sets out how I will operate, and what I can and cannot do.

I have public liability insurance of £1,000,000 which is fully compliant with EU Regulations (EC) No. 785/2004. The Public liability insurance can be increased if a particular assignment requires it.

The Law

Everyone who operates a Drone either commercially or for recreation must must obey laws which govern their use. The video summaries these laws.  The laws are detailed in the text below the video.

Air Navigation Order - CAP 393

Every flight of a drone is regarded the same as a flight of an aircraft. The operator of a drone is just as responsible as a pilot of an aircraft for the safe conduct of the flight.

As such the rules regarding the operation of drones are set out in the Air Navigation Order which is published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Article 94 - small unmanned aircraft

(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;
  • (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 commercial operations except in accordance with a permission granted by the CAA.

Article 95 - small unmanned surveillance aircraft

(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;
  • (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.

Article 240

A person must not recklessly or negligently act in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft, or any person in an aircraft.

Civil Aviation Authority Responsibility is yours

Article 241

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