We use necessary cookies to make our website work. We'd also like to use optional cookies to understand how you use it, and to help us improve it.

For more information, please read our cookie policy.

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.

C2 links

C2 Links are how RPAS and UAS receive commands and are controlled, also how they report their status, flight plan, position and trajectory to the remote pilot.

Through the UKRI Future Flight Challenge, we were commissioned to carry out a study to better understand the benefits and drawbacks of using mobile communications networks in an aviation context, including providing C2 Link functionality, and, how mobile networks services could improve the safety, security, and productivity of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems market.

UAS swarm aerial advertising

An increase in the use of UAS swarms for the purposes of displays has highlighted the need to clarify certain aspects of existing rules around what is considered appropriate use of this technology.  

The use of UAS swarms for the purpose of displaying advertisement or other communication is prohibited under section 82 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982. Examples of displays that are likely prohibited by this regulation could include a swarm showing the logo of a company to advertise its products, or a QR code embedding a website address; therefore, these displays would likely be a contravention of section 82 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982.  

Although it is not ultimately a decision of the CAA, we consider swarms depicting general displays for entertainment such as shapes or animals would likely be acceptable.  

For clarity, this message does not signal a change in the existing rules, approvals, or authorisations, but rather seeks to clarify the view of the Civil Aviation Authority.  

The CAA will not assess this requirement when issuing an Operational Authorisation for a UAS swarm, UAS Operators are reminded of the requirement to comply with all other legislation, in addition to the UAS regulations.

Future of Flight Industry Update – September 2023

30 August 2023

We are working with colleagues across industry and government to deliver the regulatory frameworks and certification that will enable the next generation of aircraft to be developed and operated in UK airspace and continue to extend the use of drones, while continuing to protect the public and other aviation users from harm. This update provides industry and other stakeholders with a snapshot of the CAA’s Future of Flight progress.

Updates to Specific Category Operations: Pre-defined Risk Assessment Requirements, Guidance & Policy (CAP722H)

4 August 2023

The CAA has now published an updated version of CAP722H Specific Category Operations: Pre-defined Risk Assessment Requirements, Guidance & Policy. Changes to the original text include updates to the risk assessment methodology, improving consistency with CAP 722A. In addition, other administrative changes have been made to enhance ease of use.

Updates to CAP722H have been made following stakeholder feedback and we thank members of the community, RAEs and stakeholder groups for their assistance in updating this latest version.

Conditions for operating under a PDRA01 authorisation have not been substantively changed in this update. However, fresh clarifications, notes and updates have been made to the PDRA template authorisation and current holders should familiarise themselves with the updated content.

Review of PDRA01

The CAA will review PDRA01 to prepare it for inclusion in the project that will deliver the digitisation of applications in the specific category. This will make the application process quicker and easier for operators. The review will also explore better ways for operators to mitigate the risk of their operations to uninvolved persons. We are reviewing the privileges of PDRA01 as part of our adoption of the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) methodology.

SORA will change the way we look at assessing safety risk in unmanned operations, and is aimed at assisting operators to mitigate potential risk in their operations more effectively and efficiently. It is our intention to assess PDRA01 and future PDRAs using this new methodology to ensure they remain safe and appropriate for future operations. We also want to make sure the operational conditions for PDRA01 are still appropriate for the evolving industry use cases.

This review is being progressed as a priority and safety will come first in our decision making. It will make use of any available evidence which may include, but is not limited to, recent academic analysis, accident reports and the practices of other regulators from across the world. We will work with the newly formed RPAS Safety Leadership Group (SLG) and RAEs and ensure that the RPAS industry is appropriately represented in the upcoming review of PDRA01.

Whilst the review of PDRA01 is conducted, operators should continue to submit renewal applications in the usual way and fly in accordance with the conditions of their operational authorisations. We continue to recommend that all operators fly defensively and avoid the deliberate overflight of uninvolved people where possible. More guidance can be found in CAP722 section

If you have any questions or comments at this early stage of the review, please direct these to our dedicated email address: PDRA01review@caa.co.uk

Consultation on future Specific Operating Risk Assessment (SORA)

23 January 2023 - In the future we will be introducing the Specific Operating Risk Assessment (SORA) for UK RPAS operations in the specific category.

This is a way to classify the risk posed by a RPAS and then identify mitigations and safety objectives. It allows the operator to identify operational limitations, and training objectives for the personnel involved (e.g. remote pilots, observers, maintainers), technical requirements for the drone and develop the appropriate operational procedures that will be part of the operator manual.

Rather than regulation, it is a set of recommendations and guidelines to conducting a risk assessment and meeting required target levels of safety for use in the specific category. When introduced it can be used as an acceptable means of compliance to article 11 of the UAS implementing regulations.

We have been working within the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS) for several years to develop this SORA.

JARUS is currently consulting (until 6 March 2023) on the latest version. You can reply to this consultation at JARUS External Consultation - "SORA Version 2.5 package" | JARUS (jarus-rpas.org). Any comments on this consultation need to be sent to JARUS directly, and not to the UK CAA.

As the current version is still being developed it isn’t yet available to UK operators to use as part of their Operational Authorisation. However, we are encouraging UK operators to respond to JARUS as we will use this work to build the UK specific SORA. This consultation is being done so the UK CAA meets our regulatory requirements to consult on changes as covered under the Basic Regulation Article 115.

JARUS is an international group comprising of national authorities and industry experts working to develop a harmonised approach to RPAS operations around the world. The SORA has been widely recognised and adopted as an acceptable means of compliance around the world (including EASA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) to provide a robust safety case to competent authorities for RPAS operations in the Specific Category.

Its guidance material aims to allow each authority to write their own requirements and avoid duplication. Whether the UK’s future SORA will be recognised internationally will be down to individual National Aviation Authorities. Some nations may have different airspace requirements and national sensitivities that will need to be addressed between the applicant and the respective NAA on a case-by-case basis.

Once the JARUS consultation is complete, JARUS will publish the comment response document which we will publicise.

New Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material (AMC/GM) to UK Reg (EU) 2019/947 

7 December 2022 - We have published a decision introducing new Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM) for UK Regulation (EU) 2019/947 (ORS9 No 16), which is effective immediately. This provides a way of complying with regulatory requirements and can be found in the regulation library.

As a result, CAP 722, CAP 722A, CAP 722B, CAP 722C, CAP 722D and CAP 722E have been re-published, and CAP 722H (Pre-Defined Risk Assessments) has been newly published.

There have been significant changes to all these documents, in particular- CAP 722A, and UAS Operators and Remote Pilots are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the changes. UAS Operators and Recognised Assessment Entities are asked to start to implement these changes within their operations, before the end of January 2023.

UAS in the Open Category

2 December 2022 - From 23 December 2022, there will be no UAS in the UK which are class marked in accordance with UK Regulation (EU) 2019/945. UAS in the Open Category may continue to be used, as they have been so far, within the legacy and transition provisions, and the basic open category limitations.

Following the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) consultation on whether to extend the legacy and transitional provisions for drones operating in the open category, and after a formal decision from the Department for Transport (DfT), it has been decided that the transition and legacy provisions will now be extended to 1 January 2026. The DfT will also remove the automatic recognition of class marks issued within the EU, as equivalent to UK Class marks, from the 23rd December 2022, in The Aviation Safety and Air Traffic Management (Amendment) Regulations 2022.

There are currently no designated standards, Market Surveillance Authority, or conformance assessment bodies established in the UK under UK Regulation (EU) 2019/945, therefore it will not be possible for manufacturers to comply with the UK class marking requirements of this regulation.

As such, there will be no UAS which are able to make use of the Open Category class mark provisions in UK Regulation (EU) 2019/947.

Any UAS operated within the Open Category, regardless of whether it holds a class mark issued in the EU, should be flown to the ‘non-class mark’ open category limitations and conditions. As a result of extending the Transition and Legacy arrangements from 01 January 2023 to 01 January 2026, there is little impact to most Open Category operators, who may continue to operate within these existing provisions.

The CAA will start to remove references to class markings from guidance material shortly.

The CAA is working with the Department for Transport to review the UAS regulatory framework, in particular the Open Category, to ensure that it continues to be safe, proportionate and fit for purpose for the UK.

Holders of an A2 Certificate of Competence that references transition and legacy period dates of 31 December 2022, may continue to use these privileges until either the expiry date of the certificate, or the end of the new transition/legacy period (on 01 January 2026) whichever is sooner. A re-issue of the certificate is not required.

CAP 2012 has been simplified, and updated to reflect the new situation.

CAP 1789A and CAP 1789B (consolidated versions of UK Regulations (EU) 2019/947 and 2019/945, respectively) have been updated to reflect these regulatory changes, that come into force on 23 December 2022.

Extending legacy and transitional provisions and class markings update

November 2022 - Following the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) consultation on whether to extend the legacy and transitional provisions for drones operating in the open category, and after a formal decision from the Department for Transport (DfT), it has been decided that the transition and legacy provisions will now be extended to 1 January 2026. This time will allow for the CAA and DfT to conduct a review of regulations for unmanned aircraft, including the open category to ensure it is properly regulated in a way that is fit for purpose for the UK prior to 2026.

The DfT will also be changing UK regulations so that European Union (EU) class marks on drones will not be recognised in the UK after 1 January 2023. Drones with EU class marks will still be able to be flown in the UK after that date in the Open and Specific categories but may not make use of the class mark provisions in the A1, A2 and A3 subcategory.

The DfT will formally publish these changes to UK Regulation (EU) 2019/947 and UK Regulation (EU) 2019/945 in December ahead of them coming into effect before January 2023.

The CAA website and guidance material will be updated to reflect the changes later this month and more information is available in our requirements for flying in the open category publication

Holders of an A2 Certificate of Competence that references transition and legacy period dates of 31 December 2022, may continue to use these privileges until either the expiry date of the certificate, or the end of the new transition/legacy period (on 01 January 2026) whichever is sooner. A re-issue of the certificate is not required.

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.

CAP1789A Update

01 July 2022 – The CAA has updated CAP 1789A to reflect the changes made to UK Regulation (EU) 2019/947 in the Aviation Safety (Amendment) Regulations 2022. These updates remove certain applicability dates, for provisions that were not retained at the point that the UK left the EU.

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.

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 propeller, 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 propellers 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.