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Seeing through the mud - CAA UK Regulations

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by IrishSights, May 6, 2014.

  1. IrishSights

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    This (long - jump to GENERAL INFO to skip my preabling) post is intended as a base post and guide only for those wanting to get their head round flying in UK airspace under our CAA regulations. This post is not law so be satisfied yourself based on official documents only, not this post. I post here as a discussion thread only so that it might help others also trying to wade through the mud.

    I find it so confusing reading all the CAA official documents and getting a perspective on it for flying my Phantom. I have listed the links to these official documents at the end of this post.

    I have tried here, in plain language an summarily in nature, to get to the bottom of what we Phantomers need to do to stay on the right side of the CAA and therefore the law. So this is NOT definitive and its middling general to get the info better understood, THIS POST MAY BE WRONG AT THIS EARLY STAGE OF DISCUSSION - so be careful in applying anything here as gospel - it is not intended to be! Hopefully it will mature as people contribute.

    It is also most definitely, a work in progress, so suggestions, amendments etc. are very welcome and indeed essential.

    Please do not turn this thread into a griping session about the CAA or the pros and cons of this or that, let’s try and keep it informative. Hopefully it will help us to make the appropriate choices for our flying, based on knowledge of what the CAA expect of responsible flyers.

    So here goes a wade through the mud…

    GENERAL INFO
    * I'm using the aircraft terms used by the CAA.
    * SUA = any unmanned aircraft.
    * SUSA = means a SUA which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition
    * All phantoms come in the less than 7kg range mentioned in the docs. However there is also many regulations that apply to all SUA/SUSA.
    * I have stayed away from regulations that allow for commercial operations. That’s a separate subject. This post is generally geared for recreational Phantomers
    * Congested areas = any area in relation to a city, town or settlement which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes. see **2
    FPV = First Person View flying is the ability to control a radio controlled aircraft from a “pilot’s eye” perspective through the use of an on-board camera and ground-based receiving and viewing equipment. The viewing equipment is normally a set of video goggles. Probably monitors would also be included here also. – see **4

    APPLYS TO ALL
    * No flying at night
    * No commercial work (you need specific permission for that and other things to comply with)
    * No dropping of pigs or other animals or articles from the aircraft
    * Fly safely at all times (key point, applies to everything below!)
    * Must be able to see the craft at all times, unaided - wearing glasses is OK. (Key point, applies to everything below!)
    * No reckless or negligent flying where the aircraft can endanger any person or property. - see **3

    FOR THOSE WITHOUT A CAMERA ATTACHED (SUA's)
    * You CAN fly in CAA airspace classes A, C, D and E – the ‘safely’ bit mentioned above still applies though, and your Phantoms firmware may restrict you.
    * You do not need to let authorities know if you are flying in an Aerodrome Traffic Zone – the ‘safely’ bit still applies
    * You CAN fly over and within 'congested' areas
    * You CAN fly over organized open-air assemblies of people
    * You CAN fly as close as you like to anything including people
    * You CAN fly at any height.

    FOR THOSE FLYING FPV
    * You will be flying under a CAA Exemption - ORS4 No.1011 it does not mention any lower weight exclusion.
    * You CANNOT fly in airspace classes A, C, D and E. Your Phantoms firmware may restrict you differently
    * You DO need to let authorities know if you are flying in an Aerodrome Traffic Zone
    * You CANNOT fly over and within 150m of 'congested' areas
    * You CANNOT fly over organized open-air assemblies of people of more than 1000
    * You CANNOT fly closer than 50m to any vehicle, vessel or structure that you have no control over (this apparently means if you have permission then you can)
    * You are limited to less than 1000ft but must still having unaided visual line of sight
    * You CANNOT fly closer than 50m of any person except when taking off or landing, then the limit is 30m. None of this applies to the pilot or an observer.
    * You must have a competent observer standing beside you – basically a lookout for you re: other aircraft, trees, obstacles, approaching people or vehicles etc.
    * You or your observer must still have visual unaided line of sight at all times

    FOR THOSE WHO HAVE AN SUA EQUPPED WTH GEAR THAT IS CAPABLE OF SURVEILLENCE OR DATA AQUISTION – CAA call it a SUSA
    For most Phantomers this would be a GoPro, Vision or Vision + and probably recording streamed images to a ground based DVR/PVR as well, as they all have this capability, whether or not you use them for the purpose of surveillance or data acquisition (MicroSD Card)
    * In addition if you are flying FPV you are still subject to the FPV Exemption ORS4 1011
    So…
    * If NOT flying with FPV you CAN fly in airspace classes A, C, D and E, otherwise you CANNOT – the ‘safely’ bit mentioned above still applies though and your Phantoms firmware may restrict you.
    * If NOT flying with FPV you do NOT need to let authorities know if you are flying in an Aerodrome Traffic Zone, otherwise you DO – the ‘safely’ bit still applies
    * You CANNOT fly over and within 150m of 'congested' areas
    * You CANNOT fly over organized open-air assemblies of people of more than 1000
    * You CANNOT fly closer than 50m to any vehicle, vessel or structure that you have no control over (this apparently means if you have permission then you can)
    * You are limited to less than 1000ft but still having line of sight unaided
    * You CANNOT fly closer than 50m of any person unless they are under your control, except when taking off or landing, then the limit is 30m. None of this applies to the pilot (or an observer if you are FPVing).

    ADDITIONAL SPECIFICS FOR FPVers (Goggles or monitor)
    * Flying using FPV purely for navigation of the Phantom and not data acquisition ( no videoing or stills being recorded) is NOT considered by the CAA as FPV for surveillance and data acquisition purposes...
    CAA document called CAP 722 at http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP722.pdf
    Article 3.4 in Section 3 Chapter 1 page 2 refers to this...
    “The provision of image or other data solely for the use of controlling or monitoring the aircraft is not considered to be applicable to the meaning of ‘Surveillance or Data Acquisition’ covered at Article 167 (ANO) for SUSA.”

    GROUND STATION FLYER NOTES
    * The above sections still apply
    * You CANNOT fly beyond visible un-aided line of sight
    * You must remain in control of the Phantom - so if you fly beyond the range of your controller and the Phantom was flying on its own along the uploaded mission beyond your controller signal range, you would be in breach of CAA regulations.

    OTHER RELATED THINGS OF NOTE
    * Don't annoy people even if you are within the regulations! Live to Fly Another Day - there is a movie in the making there somewhere.
    * If your Phantom falls out of the sky and smashes someone’s greenhouse or worse still hits and injures someone for example, you are liable. For very small cost you can have Public Liability Insurance. Several places offer it as part of their club membership including...
    http://www.fpvuk.org/become-a-member/
    and
    http://bmfa.org/Membership/Insurance/tabid/134/Default.aspx
    * Even if you lose control of your phantom and it inadvertently breaches the CAA rules, crashes or does damage, then you are still responsible. A recent fine by the courts of a case brought by the CAA has been just short of £4000 GBP.
    * Privacy - The Data Protection Act may apply to recording images from the air, but depends on the purpose for which the images were taken and storage. Incidental inclusion of identifiable people is not covered, nevertheless it’s still good to avoided for the sake of preserving good public opinion. Its generally a good idea not to take images where people’s faces are recognized or vehicle number plates, or other things unless you have permission to do so.
    * The CAA only addresses flight safety. It does not constitute permission to disregard the legitimate interests of other statutory bodies such as the Police, the Highway Agency, Transport for London or local authorities including local by-laws.
    * There are areas where you cannot fly for security or other reasons - be aware. There are smartphone Apps available for free with maps, restricted areas and notices for both iOS and Android. See http://www.pocketfms.com/AirspaceAVOID/indexUKAA.asp
    * Permission for takeoff and landing is important. Generally landowners do not own the air space above their property, but respect for landowners privacy should be highly respected.

    RELAVENT CAA DOCUMENTS
    The main law document is the Air Navigation Order (ANO) - http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/cap 393 final.pdf
    The FPV Exemption ORS4 No.1011- http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/ORS4 No. 1011 Small Unmanned Aircraft.pdf
    Unmanned Aircraft Operations Guidance - [url=https://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP722.pdf]https://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP722.pdf [‎/url]
    Latest Information Notice - http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/InformationNotice2014081.pdf

    Phew!!! There we go...I lit the blue touch fuse...let’s see where this takes us!!

    1st amendment - OK I'll take out reference to pigs and a movie in case I get labelled as being discriminative. :)

    FOOTNOTES

    **2 'Congested Area' term redefined to match CAA document

    **3 Added bit about reckless or negligent flying causing danger to people or property (ANO article 138)

    **4 CAA FPV definition added to GENERAL INFO paragraph.
     
  2. b1nuzz

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    This is great. Thank you for taking the time. :)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. Shedracer

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    Cheers for that Irishsights, much appreciated.
     
  4. EMF

    EMF

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    Thank you for that Irish Sights. It's really useful information, especially for those of us who are just getting into this for the first time.
     
  5. IrishSights

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    Added first amendment to OP: ****(now removed thanks to @pullup's explanation and help!)****

    Regarding possible confusion in CAA documents over whether you can or cannot fly in class
    A, C, D or E Airspace and informing ATC. See footnote **1 in OP
     
  6. IrishSights

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    2nd Ammendment to OP:

    FOOTNOTE **2 - 'Congested Area' definition redefined to match CAA document
     
  7. IrishSights

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    3rd Amendment to OP:

    Footnote - **3 Added bit about reckless or negligent flying causing danger to people or property (ANO article 138) - kinda obvious but gotta be stated.
     
  8. IrishSights

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    OP AMMENDMENTS
    Fairly large amendments have been made, too many to list here. I got to really thank @pullup especially for his PM's and the others who have been contributing to another thread here.http://phantompilots.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=14444

    Community works and mud is becoming a little clearer. However the OP still needs looked at for mistakes, suggestions, amendments etc. Please contribute, but no CAA gripes or CAA suggestions please.

    Thanks everybody.
     
  9. deltamike

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    Many thanks for taking the trouble over this one.

    Regards

    Pete