Unlike small drones, unmanned aircraft with an operating mass of more than 20 kg are subject to the whole of the UK Aviation regulations (as listed within the UK Air Navigation Order - ANO), although they may be exempted from certain requirements by the CAA. Unmanned aircraft with a mass of more than 150 kg may also be subject to additional certification requirements as determined by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Because of this, any person intending to operate an unmanned aircraft with a mass of more than 20kg within the UK must obtain a specific approval, in the form of an Exemption, before any flight can take place. In most cases, an application, along with an appropriate safety case, must be made directly to the CAA. For Large Model Aircraft however (by which we mean those built and used purely for recreational purposes), the Large Model Association (LMA) conducts the initial technical inspection and assessment on our behalf and should be your first point of call.Due to the greater size and/or capability of the aircraft concerned, there are likely to be additional airspace aspects to be considered, such as the need for segregated airspace (unless the operation is only intended to be within VLOS).
If you are considering operating a UAS with a mass of greater that 20kg within UK airspace, full details and requirements are contained within our UAS guidance document CAP 722.For large model aircraft (ie. those being made and flown purely for recreational purposes) see CAP 658.
Applications for an Exemption must be made using the CAA application form SRG 1321. Details of where to send the application are contained in the form.
Applications must also include the appropriate payment as well as full details of the requested operation (in the form of an operations manual) and the Operating Safety Case (or LMA assessment report if the application is for a large model aircraft).
Our charges for an exemption under article 266 of the ANO are listed within the CAA Scheme of Charges for General Aviation.
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