By law any drone operator flying for commercial gain must have permission from the CAA. All pilots must have CAA PFCO (Permission for commercial operation) status and hold valid commercial drone insurance. Hiring an illegal drone operator without insurance or CAA permission could result in prosecution and a hefty fine of £5000.
Civil Aviation Authority official Laws And Rules
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.
A person must not recklessly or negligently act in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft, or any person in an aircraft.
A person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.