• If you want to use a small unmanned aircraft or drone outside of the operating limits set out in the Air Navigation Order then you will need Permission from the CAA, even if your activity is non-commercial.

    Applications for this type of Permission are considered on a case by case basis.

    This could include flying a device over a congested area, or within 50m of a building.

    The Air Navigation Order defines a congested area as being 'any area of a city, town or settlement which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes'.

    • Permission must be obtained from the CAA to land or operate within a congested area
    • Permissions granted may be valid for one flight or for a period of up to 12 months

    In order to ensure that sufficient safety measures have been put in place, we will need you to demonstrate that they have taken the necessary steps to ensure their drone will not endanger people, property or aircraft. This may be as simple as preparing a safety case or a risk assessment for a one-off flight.

    An individual or organisation that would like to conduct regular flights with their drone, however, will probably need to submit an operating manual to the CAA for a permanent approval. This will allow greater freedom to operate continuously without the need to seek ad hoc approvals.

    This type of Permission could be of use to:

    • emergency services
    • a local authority that would like to use a drone to carry out maintenance inspections of its property

    As with a Permission to carry out a commercial operation, the CAA will need to be assured of the competence of the person who will be flying the device. The ‘pilot’ therefore will probably need to undergo an assessment process with one of the approved National Qualified Entities.

    The NQE can help you develop your operations manual to submit to the CAA, but you are free to use this operations manual template.

    If you are unsure whether you need a Permission from the CAA and would like some advice before contacting an NQE email us at UAVenquiries@caa.co.uk.