A Short Guide to UK Regulation

To fly a Small Unmanned Aircraft (‘SUA’) in the UK, either commercially OR recreationally, all pilots are required to comply with CAP393: Air Navigation Order unless otherwise approved by the CAA.

For pilots who wish to undertake aerial work or gain valuable consideration. From their flights they must also hold Permission for Commercial Operations (‘PfCO’).

As a brief overview, SUA must be flown as follows:

  • Maintaining a distance of 50m from people and property not in control of the pilot.
  • Maintaining a minimum distance of 150m from crowds of over 1000 people.
  • Maintaining a minimum distance of 150m from congested areas (if under 7kg maximum take-off weight, an exemption to this restriction will be granted as standard, however you will still need to adhere to the 50m rule mentioned above).
  •  Remaining a minimum of 5km away from Aerodromes, unless permission has been obtained from ATC to be any closer.
  • Within line of sight, no higher than 400ft above ground level and to a distance of 500m.
  • During daylight hours, so that you can clearly see the SUA and take avoiding action from other air users if required.
  • Outside of controlled airspace.
  • As of 30th November 2019, the Operator and Flyer of the drone must register with the CAA if your drone weighs more than 250g.

Commercial SUA pilots in the UK are also expected to carry Public Liability Insurance and we would also recommend this for recreational pilots.


Useful links:

Air Restriction Notifications from NATS