• The CAA operates a permissions and exemptions scheme which is designed to enable operations beyond the normal bounds of the regulations laid down within the Air Navigation Order (ANO), provided that the CAA is satisfied that this can be achieved in a safe manner.  

    Permissions and/or exemptions are valid for up to 12 months and are subject to an annual renewal.  The CAA is required to make a charge for these.

    General Exemption has been issued which allows an element of ‘First Person View’ (FPV) flight to be conducted.  The exemption covers the conditions that must be observed while employing this privilege.

    Article 95 of the ANO states that, if you wish to fly your camera fitted drone:

    • within 150m of either a congested area or an organised open air crowd or more than 1000 persons
      and / or
    • within 50m of people or properties/objects that are not under your control

    then you will need to obtain a Permission from the CAA in order to do so legally.  Because the Permission will enable you to reduce the normal safety limits that have been set out for drone operations, the CAA must obviously be satisfied that you are able to do this safely.  

    We do this by:

    • asking you to tell us about your drone and how it works
    • asking you to tell us about how you intend to conduct your flight in a safe manner 
    • asking you to provide us with evidence of your competency to fly your drone

    The process that we use is the same one that must be followed by drone operators who wish to conduct commercial operations. 

    To get this Permission, you will need to:

    • Demonstrate your ‘piloting competence’
      • Demonstrate a sufficient understanding of aviation theory (airmanship, airspace, aviation law and good flying practice). 
      • Pass a practical flight assessment (flight test). 

    Additional details about pilot competence requirements are provided in the paragraphs below

    • Develop basic procedures for conducting the type of flights you want to do and set these out in an Operations Manual.

    • In addition, you will also need to provide us with an Operating Safety Case (OSC)  to demonstrate that the intended operation is appropriately safe. 
      Note:  An OSC is not normally required if the permission is only required to fly a drone weighing 7kg or less within a congested area.

    Pilot competence requirements

    Full details are contained within our guidance document CAP 722 including the requirements for pilot competence.  

    The CAA does not organise or run assessment courses but we approve commercial organisations, known as National Qualified Entities (NQEs) to do this assessment on out behalf.  

    Anyone interested in getting a CAA Permission should first contact one of the NQEs shown on our guidance for operators page in order to obtain the required proof of remote pilot competence. The NQE will generally help you develop an operations manual and will offer advice on completing the additional paperwork.

    Some concessions from the full remote pilot competence requirements are available if you already have suitable aviation (piloting) qualifications such as previous model aircraft flying qualifications or a licence or certificate that allows you to fly in non-segregated UK airspace (PPL, gliding certificate, etc).  At the present time suitable British Model Flying Association (BMFA) certificates are accepted and although not listed, equivalents from the Scottish Model Association and Large Model Association will also be accepted.  Previous military flying experience may also be accepted, the general requirement being that the pilot already has qualifications or experience in flying an aircraft in non-segregated UK airspace (i.e. not limited to flying only within military ranges, training areas or on active military service overseas).  

    The full range of available concessions (acceptable alternative evidence of pilot competency) is set out in more detail in CAP 722.

    Once you meet the requirements you can make an application using form SRG 1320 and send it to UAVenquiries@caa.co.uk.