UAS Legislation

Aerial work within the United Kingdom is governed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and with guidance from the Air Navigation Order 2009 which covers aspects of UAV legislation. In January 2010, the CAA issued new regulations that require operators of small unmanned aircraft used for commercial aerial work purposes and those equipped for data acquisition and/or surveillance to obtain permission from the CAA.

Operators that meet the following criteria must have permission from the CAA to operate a UAS:

– if they fly the aircraft on a commercial basis
– if they fly a camera/surveillance fitted aircraft within congested areas

To operate a Unmanned Air System commercially, then permission is required from the CAA and this also requires additional requirements in line with UAV legislation. In order to apply for CAA permission for aerial work, then the operator must complete the Basic National

UAS Certificate training (BNUC-S) which consists of a ground based theory exam and then a flight assessment.

Once passed and the aircraft registered, then an operations manual outlining procedures linked to flight operations and duty of care has to be constructed and assessed. This operating document is then used throughout the duration of operations and updated as necessary, permission can then be applied for from the CAA in order to conduct aerial work.

Standard Permissions
3.25 The standard CAA permission for SUA/SUSA in the 7 kg or less category allows
flight in congested areas to within 50 metres of persons, structures etc. (or within
30 metres if the persons are under the control of the person in charge of the
aircraft). This category of SUA/SUSA cannot fly within 150 metres of open-air
assemblies of 1,000 people or more where only a standard permission has been

3.26 The standard CAA permission for SUA/SUSA in the mass category of above 7kg
but not exceeding 20 kg does not normally allow flight within congested areas.
An operator may apply, utilising the UAS OSC, to the CAA to have their existing
permission varied.

3.27 In any circumstances or mass category, it must be noted that flights directly
overhead persons and vehicles will not be allowed at any height in a congested
area, or otherwise, unless these vehicles and persons are under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft.

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