The Law

Why not just buy a drone and capture your own footage??? Because, if you live within 150M of a built up area, then you are likely to be breaking the law as soon as you take off!  Link to the Drone Code

Ringtone.net Ltd has been granted a permission to carry out “Flights at Night” from the Civil Aviation Authority, by demonstrating that we have the suitable equipment, documented procedures & governance  to execute this activity safely.

SUAS (Small Unmanned Aerial Systems), UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles),  “Drone” Operators require a Permission For Commercial Operation if they wish to fly their aircraft on a commercial basis (conducting ‘aerial work’ for payment or valuable consideration), or fly a camera/surveillance fitted aircraft within congested areas or close to people and properties that are not under their control. The CAA do not ‘Licence’ or ‘Certify’ SUAS Commercial Work (as some people and websites state) but issue a Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO) under various Articles of the Air Navigation Order The Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018.

Also using a Drone with a camera comes under ICO guidelines (see below).

Please ask the Company Providing any Aerial Photo or Film work for you, to see a copy of their Operations Manual which will include the PfCO from the CAA and also a copy of their Insurance Certificate!

Under normal conditions we are limited to a maximum flight ceiling of 400 Feet however most images are captured from much lower. We must also not operate the SUAS/UAV/Drone (Aircraft)  more than 500 Metres away and must be in site at all times. We can create an Operational Safety Case and submit to the CAA for approval but most  most operations can be completed within the standard limits.

The CAA rightly so treats Unmanned Aviation with the exact same safety and rigor as Manned Aviation and there are a number CAA Publications and Procedures that define what we as an operator are allowed to do and obliged to undertake. CAP 393 (The Air Navigation Order 2016 Amended March 2018) and specifically the following articles must be followed at ALL times! In addition to the legislation below, changes  defined in CAP 1687 (The Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018) are also now in effect from July 2018:

The Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018

Article 94A: A remote pilot must not fly higher than 400 ft  above the surface.
Article 95B: A remote pilot must not fly a small unmanned aircraft closer than 1 km from the boundary of a protected aerodrome without first checking that you have permission to do so.

What is Permission for Commercial Operation?

Permission for Commercial Operation is a CAA requirement if you wish to fly Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS), small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones on a commercial basis (conducting ‘aerial work’ for payment or valuable consideration), or fly a camera/surveillance fitted aircraft within congested areas or close to people and properties that are not under your control.

The Air Navigation Order 2016 Amended March 2018

Article 241

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

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;
  • or
  • (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; 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.

(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.

The above sounds quite intimidating however we have been fully trained to ensure we comply with the legislation so as not to compromise your project. * The “150M rule” does not apply to us as we hold a PfCO and carry out a risk assessment to ensure the flight will be safe. Our PfCO (permission) can also take off and land within 30 metres of a vessel, vehicle or structure not under our control. We will need the landowners permission to take off and land.

Article 2 and Schedule 1 – Definition of terms

Commercial operation

For the purposes of the Air Navigation Order 2016, “commercial operation” means any operation of an aircraft other than for public transport –

(a) which is available to the public; or

(b) which, when not made available to the public, is performed under a contract between an operator and a customer, where the latter has no control over the operator, in return for remuneration or other valuable consideration

Small unmanned aircraft

Means any unmanned aircraft, other than a balloon or a kite, having a mass of not more than 20kg without its fuel but including any articles or equipment installed in or attached to the aircraft at the commencement of its flight.

* In the Air Navigation Order 2016  (CAP393), a congested area is referred to as ‘any area of a city, town or settlement which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes.’ This could cover city centres, housing estates, hamlets, villages, retail parks, theme parks, shopping centres  and even public parks.

Information Commissioners Office (ICO)

The ICO recommends that users of drones – also called unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – with cameras, should operate them in a responsible way to respect the privacy of others.

  • If a drone has a camera, its use has the potential to be covered by the DPA.
  • If you are using a drone with a camera, there could be a privacy risk to other people. Please ensure you respect people’s privacy when using your drone.

Misc:

I have complied with all of the regulations stated above and am going to take some aerial photos of my neighbours house for him as a favour. Is this OK? Probably not! CAP722 states that ANO 2009 Article 259 ‘Meaning of Aerial Work’ details that a flight is for the purpose of aerial work if valuable consideration is given or promised in respect of the flight or the purpose of the flight. This means it’s not just money that needs to change hands!

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