Pre-Defined Risk Assessments (PDRA) 02
Please be aware that PDRA 02 is currently on under review and initial and renewal applications are not being accepted. The reason for this is to assess its risk and introduce a more robust risk assessment to make PDRA02 fit for the purpose.
The suspension is temporary, and we are working on several PDRAs to help the industry and make the process less burdensome.
An update will be provided in due course.
14 December 2021- The CAA has updated CAP1789A - (Consolidated version of Regulation (EU) 2019/947 as retained (and amended in UK domestic law) under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018) which combines all the amendments into a single version for reference.
CAP 2248: Carriage of Dangerous Goods by RPAS
14 September 2021 - The CAA has published CAP 2248 which provides guidance to RPAS operators on the requirements and application process to gain approval from the CAA to carry dangerous goods in the UK, including a case study on dangerous goods related to COVID-19 relief efforts.
Air Navigation Order Amendment
19 August 2021 – The government has published an amendment to the Air Navigation Order, which becomes effective on 19th August 2021, and introduces a new type of Flight Restriction Zone around space sites within a new article of regulation- article 94BA. More information can be found within the Airspace page or read the legislation.
18 August 2021- The CAA has published CAP 722F - Model Aircraft Operations Policy and Guidance as part of the CAP 722 suite of RPAS documents, on the operation of model aircraft. CAP 722F sets out the applicable regulatory requirements and introduces the new Article 16 authorisation scheme.
17 August 2021- The CAA has updated CAP1789A - (Consolidated version of Regulation (EU) 2019/947 as retained (and amended in UK domestic law) under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018) with the removal of some parts of the regulation that were not applicable at the time of EU exit, and therefore not carried across into UK domestic law.
RPAS Loss of Control
The CAA has issued recommendations to reduce the likelihood of RPAS propeller detachments which may result in damage to aircraft, property, or injuries.
UAS Operators and remote pilots in the Open and Specific category of operation should familiarise themselves with this guidance and make any changes to operations manuals and procedures where necessary.
The CAA recommends that RPAS operators and remote pilots should:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing/removing propellers.
- Ensure good condition of all propellers before each flight.
- Do not use aged, chipped, or broken propellers.
- Check, not just the surface and edge of the propellor, but also the hub/root and attachment points.
- Only use original or manufacturer-approved parts.
- Do not mix propeller types. When different types of propellers are approved for use all propellers fitted must be the same type.
- Consider adding cross-checks to your pre-flight procedures to double-check installation, especially where the propellors are regularly removed/attached for transportation.
Remote pilot minimum age requirement changes
28 January 2021 – The UK Government has now removed the minimum age requirement for remote pilots operating a UAS in the Open and Specific categories.
The competency requirements are unchanged, but from this date, the 12 years of age (Open category) and 14 years of age (Specific category) limits no longer apply.
Articles 9 and 9A of the UAS Implementing Regulation (EU 2019/947) have been deleted completely; the full details can be found in Statutory Instrument 2021 No. 10.
CAP 1789A has been updated. This is our consolidated version of the UAS Implementing Regulation, published for reference purposes. This version represents the text of the regulation as it applies in UK domestic law from 11pm 31 December 2020 onwards. The minimum age requirements for remote pilots, set out within Articles 9 and 9A, have been removed.
CAP 722 and our factsheets (CAPs 2003-2008 and 2012) will be updated shortly.
Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2020
18 December 2020 – Following the amendment to the ANO that will come into force on 31 December 2020, we have published guidance to the revised regulations as they now appear in law within CAP 2013.
Amendments to UAS operator ‘standard permissions’ issued prior to 31 December 2020
18 December 2020 – We have just published a General Authorisation which amends the operating conditions of certain small unmanned aircraft permissions so that they align with the conditions of the ‘replacement’ operational authorisation that will be issued from 31 December 2020 onwards.
See ORS4 No. 1449 for details.
Remote pilots operating under permissions or exemptions
15 December 2020 – CAP 722 Annex B sets out the transitional competency requirements for remote pilots operating under permissions or exemptions that have been issued prior to 31 December 2020. Due to technical constraints, it is not currently possible to re-take the online competency test if a remote pilot already holds a valid flyer ID. As a result, sections B126.96.36.199 and B188.8.131.52 of CAP 722 are amended as follows:
Remote pilots operating under OSC based permissions or exemptions issued prior to 31 December 2020
In paragraph B184.108.40.206 (Remote pilots operating under OSC based permissions or exemptions issued prior to 31 December 2020), replace the current text with the following:
Remote pilots may continue to fly under the terms of the existing OSC based permission or exemption held by the UAS operator.
At the point when the OSC based permission or exemption is renewed, which must be on or before 30 December 2021, or when a new remote pilot joins the organisation (whichever is earlier), UAS operators must:
- Review the remote pilot competence elements of their OSC;
- Adjust the OSC as necessary to ensure the risks are appropriately mitigated;
- Ensure that all remote pilots used to fly under their operational authorisation meet the required levels of competence; and
- Ensure that all remote pilots are in possession of a valid 'flyer ID'.
Remote pilots operating under 'standard permission'/'PFCO' based permissions that were first issued prior to 31 December 2020
In paragraph B220.127.116.11 (Remote pilots operating under 'standard permission'/'PFCO' based permissions that were first issued prior to 31 December 2020), replace the current text with the following:
AS operators are responsible for ensuring that all remote pilots flying under the terms of their permission are competent to do so, are kept in current flying practise and are kept fully aware of the applicable regulations.
Until 31 December 2023 remote pilots may be used by the UAS operator if they:
- hold a GVC; or,
- hold an NQE 'full recommendation' obtained prior to 31 December 2020 and a valid 'flyer ID'; or,
- comply with one of the previously accepted Alternative Means of Compliance categories detailed in Table 3 below, are in possession of a 'flyer ID', and can demonstrate currency within the past 2 years.
From 1 January 2024 onwards, all remote pilots must be in possession of a GVC.
New regulations from 31 December 2020
The UK's drone rules change on 31 December 2020. Most users will now fly in the new Open Category. Other categories are Specific and Certified. A set of factsheets are available to explain how your flying will be affected.
UAS Airspace Restrictions Guidance and Policy
10 December 2020 - We have published CAP 722C – UAS Airspace Restrictions Guidance and Policy which describes the policy and guidance for organisations or individuals who wish to restrict or facilitate UAS operations with an airspace restriction.
Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in UK Airspace - Guidance
05 November 2020 - We have now published Edition 8 of CAP 722 Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in UK Airspace – Guidance which provides updated guidance to all involved with the operation of unmanned aircraft in the UK. Its content reflects the effect of the new UAS regulations that become applicable from 31 December 2020.
UAS Master Glossary and Abbreviations
16 October 2020 - We have now published CAP 722D – UAS Operations in UK Airspace – Master Glossary and Abbreviations which provides the Master Glossary definitions and abbreviations for the complete CAP722 series of documents.
Electronic conspicuity devices
Rebates of up to £250 for new Electronic Conspicuity (EC) devices are now available to some operators thanks to funding from the Department for Transport (DfT). See www.caa.co.uk/ec
Guidance and policy: Rotary wing Swarm Operations
25 August 2020 - We have published CAP 722E Rotary Wing Swarm Operations – Visual Line of Sight – Requirements, Guidance & Policy to enable UAS operators to understand the requirements that must be met as part of an application for operational authorisations related to rotary wing UAS swarm operations in visual line of sight (VLOS).
UAS Guidance for COVID-19 BVLOS Operations
01 May 2020 - We have published CAP1915 UAS guidance for COVID-19 BVLOS Operations which enables UAS operators to apply for UAS BVLOS authorisations aimed at supporting the COVID-19 response more effectively and efficiently. It first describes the general factors relevant to the CAA when considering whether to grant an authorisation for UAS BVLOS operations and then describes the specific technical and operational characteristics that bound a simple BVLOS operation. It also outlines the prioritisation that the CAA will afford to applications in support of the NHS, National Public Health organisations or any similar trust or organisation.
Reduction in UAS flying currency requirements
Understandably in the current situation UAS operators/remote pilots have found it increasingly difficult to maintain their two hours of flying currency within the last three months, leading up to the renewal of their Permission or Exemption.
We require these hours so that remote pilots retain the necessary skills required to operate unmanned aircraft safely. It also helps to make sure systems are in good working order prior to conducting operations by having any required software updates downloaded, installed and tested, as well as ensuring batteries are in a safe condition for flight.
As an interim measure, we will now require operators/remote pilots to use their unmanned aircraft for one hour, prior to undertaking any operation. This allows operators to check their unmanned aircraft is performing correctly following a period of storage. Remote pilots will also be required to undertake a minimum of one take-off and landing to ensure they have refreshed their competence of operating unmanned aircraft, and to make sure they are working to the processes and procedures defined in their relevant operations manual. Records/logs for these flights must be maintained for the UAS Unit to check compliance during any future oversight audits.
We will let you know when his interim measure will cease once the UK Government has lifted the COVID-19 restrictions.
Temporary prioritisation of Operating Safety Cases for COVID-19
We normally only prioritise applications from the Police, Fire or Ambulance Services. All other applications are reviewed on a first come, first served basis.
However, following queries about putting in place prioritisation for use of UAS for COVID-19 work we believe it is appropriate to also prioritise these applications.
What can be prioritised?
We will prioritise applications that have the most potential to mitigate harm from the COVID-19 outbreak. In assessing these we will only prioritise applications where the operator has had their services specifically requested by one of the following organisations in relation to COVID-19:
- UK National Health Service Hospital or NHS Trust;
- UK Police Service;
- UK Fire Service;
- UK Ambulance Services or;
- Applications that have been specifically recommended/requested by a Government department.
We cannot guarantee priority of any application. This interim measure may affect the processing times of other, non-COVID-19 related, applications.
How to submit an application
The process for submitting applications remains the same. We ask operators to use SRG1320, which is the form for Applications for Exemption or Permission for Operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in UK Airspace to the CAA.
In Section 10 of this form (titled Additional Information) please state that you have had services requested from one of the organisations indicated above and include evidence of this in your documentation. This will enable the team to prioritise the assessment of the application appropriately.
CAP 722A outlines how an applicant completes a safety assessment as part of the application process for a permission or exemption.
Duration of COVID-19 interim prioritisation by UAS Unit
This prioritisation will remain in place until the end of May 2020, at which point it will be reviewed and renewed if appropriate.
Granting permission for Small Unmanned Aircraft to operate within Protected Aerodrome Flight Restrictions Zones: Guidance to Protected Aerodrome Operators
12 April 2019 – We have published guidance to aerodrome operators and providers of ATS at aerodromes with FRZs, to more fully inform their decision to grant or deny permission for small unmanned aircraft to operate within their Flight Restriction Zones (FRZs): CAP1788 SUA Permission Guidance
Drone safety risk
January 2018 - The CAA has published an assessment of the drone safety risk.
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