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UK Civil Aviation Regulations

These are published by the CAA on our UK Regulations pages. EU Regulations and EASA Access Guides published by EASA no longer apply in the UK. Our website and publications are being reviewed to update all references. Any references to EU law and EASA Access guides should be disregarded and where applicable the equivalent UK versions referred to instead.

Anyone flying a drone must take reasonable, proportionate and common-sense steps to manage the risks of their flight. You must not endanger anyone, or anything with your drone.

If you fly within the requirements of the Open category then you don’t need any specific approvals from the CAA but in most cases you must register as an operator and get a flyer ID

The key requirements for flying in the Open category are set out in the Drone and Model Aircraft Code

If your drone is under 250g then there are some variations to some of the rules. If your drone has a camera then you must register as an operator but you do not have to complete the flyer ID test (although we strongly recommend that you do).

If you’re flying a drone or model aircraft that’s lighter than 250g you can fly closer to people than 50m and you can fly over them, but you must not fly over crowds.

When you’re thinking about how close you can fly, remember, you must never put people in danger. Even small drones and model aircraft could injure people if you don’t fly them safely.

All other safety rules, including flight restriction zones around airfields, the need to keep your drone in visual line of sight and not flying over 400ft / 120m all still apply to drones under 250g.

we publish a chart that shows the different requirements for operating in the open category.

Other restrictions

Drone operators need to consider any other restrictions and legitimate interests of statutory bodies such as Local Authorities, many of which have established local byelaws. These byelaws often restrict the take-off/landing of drones from council land. Such a restriction, on its own, is not an airspace restriction, and therefore is not always reflected in drone specific alerts and advice.

It is important to distinguish between the permission required to operate from council land and the permission required to operate in certain portions of airspace. Should a drone operator be given permission by a council to operate on their land this does not necessarily mean that they have overall permission to fly. A permission from a Local Authority in accordance with a Byelaw may be just one of many permissions needed, such as a permission to fly within an Airfield restricted zone, or an authorisation from the CAA to fly within the Specific category.

We cannot provide advice on what is, or is not, a legitimate interest or whether restrictions or fees are being lawfully imposed by other authorities. However, any authority or regulatory body should be able to identify the specific laws, regulations or bye-laws that empower it to regulate the use of drones, or more usually, the land from which they are operated.