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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.



The Specific category covers flying (operations) with a greater level of risk than the Open category.

In most cases, the Specific category is the next step for people who want to carry out anything other than basic flying.

You can use the Specific category to carry out operations for work, for a hobby, or both.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): includes drones and model aircraft.

Operations: means flying carried out under an operational authorisation.

How the Specific category works

Operators must get an Operational Authorisation from the CAA before carrying out operations in the Specific category.

You'll need to tell us about the operations you want to do and provide evidence you'll be able to carry them out safely and legally.

There are two types of authorisation:

  • PDRA01 Operational Authorisation
  • OSC-based Operational Authorisation
Close How the Specific category works

PDRA01 Operational Authorisation (pre-defined risk assessment)

PDRA01 is the simplest type of Operational Authorisation to apply for. It gives you authorisation to fly unmanned aircraft (UA) below 25kg within visual line of sight (VLOS) at residential, commercial, industrial, and recreational areas.

Examples of the reasons people use PDRA01 include:

  • inspecting roofs
  • taking photos of buildings
  • surveying recreational sites

PDRA01 is the only PDRA that's currently available. We may add more in the future.

Find out more about PDRA01 and how to apply or renew.

Close PDRA01 Operational Authorisation (pre-defined risk assessment)

Operating Safety Case (OSC) Authorisations

If the operations you want to carry out are not covered by PDRA01, you'll need to apply for an operational authorisation using an Operating Safety Case (OSC).

Examples of operations that require an OSC-based Operational Authorisation include:

  • dropping items from your drone
  • flying beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS)
  • flying close to crowds

Guidance

You can read full guidance in the Operation of unmanned aircraft, UK Regulation (EU) 2019/947.

Close Operating Safety Case (OSC) Authorisations

How to apply for an operational authorisation

There's a different application service for each type of authorisation.

Make sure you've read the guidance on these pages so that you know which type of authorisation you require before you start.

You can no longer apply for a PDRA01 using the OSC service

Close How to apply for an operational authorisation

Applying for an OSC-based Operational Authorisation

Please complete the online application form and submit the required documents (the application form will lead you through the process).

The form has the facility to attach copies of any relevant information, such as Remote Pilot competence and risk assessments. We are unable to accept documents stored and hosted in third-party cloud servers.

Failure to submit all required documentary evidence will delay the assessment process.

Applications for OSC-based Operational Authorisation are received by our team at uavenquiries@caa.co.uk and will be assessed within 28 working days from date of receipt.

The documentation submitted must be in line with the UK Reg (EU) N.2019/947 (the UK UAS Implementing Regulation).

Guidance to this Regulation can be found in CAP1789A.

Note: The application process contains rejection rules for incorrect application submissions. Should an application be rejected the applicant will be notified and will be required to make a fresh application submission. A rejection/assessment fee of £124.00 for applications which do not meet a certain level of standard may be charged in line with the CAA Refunds & Waivers Policy.

Applications for OSC-based Operational Authorisations Case 1 and Case 2 are received by our team at uavenquiries@caa.co.uk.

Applications including the UAS operators risk assessment should include:

  • Operations manual
  • Risk assessment
  • Details of the competency levels of each remote pilot involved in the operation

Applications will be triaged within 10 working days from date of receipt and passed to the Sector Team for allocation.

Applications might be put on hold for reason such as (but not limited to):

  • one or more of the volumes of the operating safety case is not provided
  • the name of the organisation and Companies House number do not match
  • the OP-ID is not valid
  • the Accountable Manager on the OP-ID does not match the AM listed in the OSC-the application type is incorrect

*on-hold means the application is paused and passed back to the applicant for a response.

Once the on-hold reasons are addressed, the application will be passed to the Sector Team.

The Sector Team does not prioritise any application.

The length of time required to assess an application varies and may be impacted by a serious of factors such as, but not limited to:

UAS Operators are advised not to make any commercial decisions or book any contracts if not in possession of a valid Operational Authorisation.

Please note that a renewal application can be received up to 90 days prior to the expiry date of an Operational Authorisation. Any renewal submitted close to expiry date is not guaranteed to be renewed prior to expiration.

Complex applications and applications that are not supported by a robust operational risk assessment may require additional assessment time than paid for with the application fee. Please refer to our Scheme of Charges for details.

In order to avoid incurring in many extra hours of assessment/work, the Sector Team will reject applications that, after few hours of assessment, clearly do not show compliance with the current Regulation.

This is in order to avoid application assessment to be carried on for long period of time and to give the UAS Operators the time needed in order to amend the documentation and review the operational objectives without incurring in any unnecessary extra fees.

Non-UK operators

If you are an unmanned aircraft operator from overseas and want to fly in the UK, then you must register as a UK operator and comply with the same requirements that would apply if you were based in the UK.

There is some scope for valid national documents relating to operator certification, remote pilot competency or even national operational authorisations to be accepted by the CAA as part of a risk assessment. This is particularly the case where the regulatory environment in the operator’s parent country is similar to that of the UK (e.g. EU Member States).

Close Applying for an OSC-based Operational Authorisation

Charges

Details of our charges can be found in the General Aviation Scheme of Charges.

All applications are subject to the payment of the necessary fees as defined in the CAA Scheme of Charges. The latest details can be found by looking for the CAA Scheme of Charges (General Aviation) section.

Case 2 (reduced charge) applications

The CAA Scheme of Charges provides for some selected situations where it is anticipated that the time required for the CAA to process and authorise the application would be less than expected for the majority of applications. As a result, these ‘Case 2’, applications are charged at a lower rate.

The following types of operation (one only) may be applied for under ‘Case 2’ status:

  • Flights above 400ft/120 metres that are conducted under VLOS;
  • Flights of UAS with a mass that is less than 25kg at reduced distances from uninvolved persons down to a minimum of 30 metres;
  • ‘Extended VLOS’ (EVLOS) flights using a maximum of one observer.

All other applications or use of two or more in the list above must be made as ‘Case 1’.

Note: despite fitting into one of the Case 2 categories above, if the amount of work expended by the CAA while processing an individual  application exceeds 4 hours (e.g. because the application is unclear, or poorly justified), the application would then become a ‘Case 1’ and the higher charge would apply.

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CAA approved remote pilot assessment organisations (RAEs)


  • 3iC Ltd
  • Acme Helicopters Limited, trading as Dragon Drone Training
  • Across Safety Development Ltd
  • Aerial Motion Pictures Limited, trading as UAVHub
  • Airborne Platforms UK Limited, trading as Airborne Platforms UK
  • ASSD Media Limited, trading as Pigs Can Fly
  • Aviation Systems Group Ltd, trading as ASG
  • British School Of Aviation
  • Colena Ltd, trading as Heliguy
  • Commercial Drone Training Education Ltd
  • Consortiq Limited, trading as Uavair
  • COPTRZ Ltd
  • DAC UK Limited, trading as Flyby Technology
  • Drone Pilot Academy Limited
  • Drone Training Limited, trading as Global Drone Training
  • Eagle Eye Innovation Ltd, trading as RUSTA
  • Harbour Media Limited, trading as Osprey Drone Training
  • Iprosurv Limited
  • iRed Limited
  • Nexus Nine Ltd
  • PCC Devon & Cornwall
  • Professional Drone Training Ltd
  • Railscape Limited, trading as RUAS Training Acadamy
  • Sentinel Small Unmanned Aviation Systems (SUAS) Ltd
  • The UAV Academy Limited
  • UAV8 Ltd
  • Wiltshire Police
Close CAA approved remote pilot assessment organisations (RAEs)