The Permissions required to operate Unmanned Aircraft
All aircraft, including unmanned aircraft, must be operated in a manner that does not create a hazard to people or property. Even very small aircraft can be a hazard when operated in close proximity to people or property and could potentially inflict critical damage to other airspace users.
Articles 166 and 167 of the ANO 2009 explain the specific circumstances in which operating permission must be obtained from the CAA. In summary, permission is not required for aircraft of 20 kg mass or less being flown within direct unaided line of sight and away from people, property and congested areas. Most other operations, including flights in congested areas and those conducted for Aerial Work purposes, will require prior permission from the CAA.
In order to ensure that sufficient safety measures have been put in place, operators that are required to apply for permission from the CAA will be asked to demonstrate that they have considered the safety implications and taken the steps necessary to ensure that the aircraft will not endanger anybody. This may be as simple as preparing a safety case (and/or risk assessment) for a one-off flight. Regular operators may choose to submit an operating manual for approval which will allow them greater freedom to operate regularly without the need to seek further approval from the CAA.
To assist with the production of an operating manual, operators might wish to use the SUA Operations Manual Template.