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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.


A Special Event is defined in CAP 403: Flying Displays and Special Events: Safety and Administrative Requirements and Guidance as, ‘Any flying activity deliberately performed requiring a Permission to operate contrary to the requirements of the ANO, the Rules of the Air Regulations 2015 or SERA. Special Events include Funeral Flypasts, the dropping of articles and can include film work or any other unusual activity.’


The term ‘Special Event’ covers a wide range of activities including, but not restricted to:

  • the dropping of articles;
  • funeral or commemorative flypasts;
  • flying below the minimum heights as defined in SERA;
  • film work;
  • landing whilst the runway is occupied;
  • overtaking on the left;
  • flying faster than 250 kts IAS below 10,000 ft AMSL.

All these activities will require a permission from the CAA before they can take place.

Special Event Permissions do not include aerobatics, unless otherwise stated.

If planning a flying display that will be advertised and open to the public, a Flying Display (Article 86) Permission will be required. A Permission will also be required for a Private Flying Display. Further details can be found in the flying displays section within the CAA website and in CAP 403.

The dropping of articles includes, for example, ashes drops, commemorative poppy drops, dropping flower petals at remembrance ceremonies and flour bombing or the dropping of other items of less than a half kilogram in weight as part of a competition.

All activities involving the dropping of articles require an Article 89 Permission from the CAA.

The table below can be referred to when determining the type of permission required for a proposed event. It should be noted that the CAA will not issue an Article 86 or SERA permission for any event over MOD Occupied property, or any event over civilian land where the only participants are military registered aircraft.

Event/Type of Application




Payment Required

Dropping of Articles:


ANO Article 89



Flower petals (including poppies) at a remembrance ceremony only


As part of an aircraft race or contest


Balloon competition markers


Towing, picking up, raising and lowering or dropping of articles by helicopters in an aircraft race or contest, a flying display or other special event.


Other Permissions:

Flight over the congested areas of cities, towns or settlements, or over an open-air assembly of persons at a height less than 300 m (1 000 ft) above the highest obstacle within a radius of 600 m from the aircraft




Flight elsewhere than as specified in SERA.5005(f)(1), at a height less than 150 m (500 ft) above the ground or water, or 150 m (500 ft) above the highest obstacle within a radius of 150 m (500 ft) from the aircraft (Including display practices)




Landing whilst the runway is occupied

Rule 10 (1)

Rules of the Air Regulations 2015



Overtaking Rule




250kt Rule

SERA.6001(a)(3), (4), (5) and (7)


Rule 22

(Rules of the Air Regulations 2015)



Start a flying display, special event or unusual aerial activity notification application


Most applications for Special Events and Activities will incur a fee, although some, notably the dropping of ashes and poppies, do not. Please see the CAA’s Scheme of Charges (General Aviation) for further information.

Further Information

Further information can be found on the CAA website 'How to apply for a flying display or special event permission.'