CAA updates guidelines on unmanned aircraft

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has  published revised guidance on operating unmanned aircraft in UK airspace. The advice updates existing guidelines on the safety requirements that have to be met before the CAA will issue permission for unmanned aircraft to be used in UK airspace. The guidance is published as CAP 722 (Edition 5) on the CAA website www.caa.co.uk/cap772

The guidance is also aimed at manufacturers and designers of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to help them identify the route to certification and in order to ensure that the required standards and practices are met by all UAS operators. The publication is a joint civil/military document, intending to draw together independent civil and military guidance to establish best practice for all UAS activities.

The revised guidance includes an updated Glossary reflecting the development of global UAS terminology, as well as a new chapter on how Human Factors relate to unmanned aircraft. The ‘Approval to Operate’ section has also been revised.

Anyone operating a small unmanned aircraft commercially requires permission to operate from the CAA. Operators of small unmanned aircraft being used for surveillance or data acquisition which involves flying close to people or objects also require permission from the CAA, whether or not they are undertaking aerial work. This means flight over or within 150 metres of any congested area or large gathering of people or 50 metres of any person, vessel, vehicle or structure not under the control of the pilot.