If you are using a drone for personnel use then you are governed by the Civilian Aviation Authority (CAA) Air Navigation Order 2016, specifically Article 241 (endangering the safety of any person or property), Article 94 (small unmanned aircraft ) and Article 95 (small unmanned surveillance aircraft). This is the law and you can, and individuals have been, prosecuted for breaking it. The new Drone Code is available to download at
along with a useful Drone Assist App created by the CAA and air traffic control body National Air Traffic Service (NATS) to help individuals understand their responsibilities.
and these bullet points
Essentially your responsibilities are:
to know how to fly your drone safely, and do so within the law
to understand that the operator is legally responsible for every flight
to keep your drone in sight at all times – stay below 400ft
not to fly your drone over a congested area, never fly within 50 metres of a person, vehicle or building not under your control
ensure any images you obtain using the drone do not break privacy laws
avoiding collisions – you should never fly a drone near an airport or close to aircraft. It is a criminal offence to endanger the safety of an aircraft in flight
Some low level photos can be taken with tripod and boom (graves) or adapted window cleaner poles for 15 - 20 ft height (ideal for buildings). Selfie sticks,or mono-pods are great for vehicles and some aircraft, both giving that extra reach. Downside is that the long poles need remote vision or luck with a self-timer.
The drone rules do seem a bit limiting for most users as you will need to keep a good lookout on the ground for people straying into the 50 metre area or keep the drone above fifty metres, or isn't that what is meant? I don't know how you can have a building under your control but again is this based on a three dimensional limit? Still they prevent Amazon's drone delivery scheme.
Until two years ago I used to fly radio controlled helicopters. Not the same as drones, I know, but we were all under the same CAP658 rules.
I note that the latest ANO makes no mention of CAP658, which we were meant to abide by in addition to the ANO of the day.
Assuming CAP658 is still in order, then it would seem there is at least one additional criteria (bold) that may still be salient alongside the revised ANO.
Article 167 – 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; or
(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.
Peter Kirk wrote: The drone rules do seem a bit limiting for most users as you will need to keep a good lookout on the ground for people straying into the 50 metre area or keep the drone above fifty metres
Yes, they're meant to be limiting. When FPV (First Person View) setups started getting used on rc helis, the requirement was that the person operating the heli and wearing the VR goggles had to have a second person there at all times to oversee the aircraft in case any of the VR equipment failed. It may still be such in CAP658, so having someone as a lookout has been there for rc heli peeps for yonks. Not a bad rule for drones, as many of those are FPV these days anyway.
Peter Kirk wrote: I don't know how you can have a building under your control but again is this based on a three dimensional limit?
Yes. You have a building under your control by having the means to deny access to it by other people.
CAP 658 is still alive and kicking on the CAA website. As you'll probably know, this applies to anything up to 20kg. Above that, CAP 722 applies. Both are guidance and acceptable means of compliance, interpreting what's in the ANO, but the latter is the actual law.
Articles last week that GE ( USA ) announced the official launch of AiRXOS -- a new company that will speed the safe, efficient integration of manned and unmanned vehicles, or drones, in the air and on the ground.
AiRXOS is taking part in pilot programs in San Diego, Memphis, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma