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UK CAA Regulations - Plain Mans Guide

Discussion in 'Important Stickies' started by IrishSights, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. IrishSights

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    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 UK CAA and therefore the law. This is NOT definitive and its middling general to get the info better understood, be careful in applying anything here as gospel - it is not intended to be! The Air Navigation Order (ANO) is the law.

    Hopefully it will help us to make the appropriate choices for our flying, based on knowledge of what the CAA expect of responsible flyers.

    Please post with suggestions/amendments

    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.
    * 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.

    APPLYS TO ALL
    * No flying at night
    * No commercial work (you need specific permission for that, and other things to comply with)
    * No dropping animals or articles from the aircraft
    * Fly safely at all times (KEY CATCHALL!, applies to everything below)
    * Must be able to see the craft at all times (LOS), unaided - wearing glasses is OK. The CAA regards this as 400ft up and 500m away.
    * No reckless or negligent flying where the aircraft can endanger any person or property.

    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. For definitions see https://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?cati ... agetype=90
    * 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. However see next point!
    * Fly Line of sight only (LOS).The CAA regards this as 400ft up and 500m away.

    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 fly in these areas – 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 AS PDF DOWNLOADS
    The main law document is the Air Navigation Order (ANO) - https://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%20393%20June%202014.pdf

    The FPV Exemption ORS4 No.1011 - http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/ORS4%20No.%201011%20Small%20Unmanned%20Aircraft.pdf

    Unmanned Aircraft Operations Guidance - http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/%CAP722.pdf

    Basic graphical guide for beginners - http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/1995/CAP%201202UAVsafetyrules.pdf

    Suggested by Hughie: Information Notice http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/Informatio ... 014190.pdf

    USING YOUR PHANTOM FOR COMMERCIAL USE
    As a recreational flyer you cannot do this for money or do it for free for someone who will get paid or video for free and charge for editing. The CAA will object strongly and possibly prosecute.

    To do it commercially you need a specific permission from the CAA called Permission to Fly for Aerial Work (PFAW). They accept certification supplied by 2 organisations:

    * EuroUSC - http://eurousc.com/courses/
    * The Resource Group - http://uas.resourcegroup.co.uk/

    This involves courses, exams, detailed operations manual, flight tests, commercial insurance and annual renewals and a bucket load of time. This will set you back around £3000.

    Please post if anything here is out of date.

    Have fun, but be safe and legal.
     
  2. The Editor

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    Hi David,

    Thanks very much for taking the time and effort in posting this.

    The thing I can never get my head around is the CAA are concerned with air Safety, not privacy laws but air safety only.

    How is that if I fly my Phantom with no FPV and no GoPro attached I can fly over peoples houses and hover over someones back garden for 10 minutes but as soon as I attach a GoPro it becomes a safety concern to the CAA and I can't fly within 150m of the building I was (legally) hovering over a few minutes previously?

    I just do not get it.
     
  3. IrishSights

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    Me to! Ive been told that people take more risks having a camera on board, same as flying over congested areas.
     
  4. The Editor

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    I would have thought the opposite, since you fly more carefully trying to frame a shot rather than buzzing around all over the place!

    Oh well.... There is never any accounting for government logic I guess (or lack thereof).
     
  5. Hughie

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    +1. Its mad.
     
  6. Umpa

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    Can you post a link to the document where it says no flying at night, I am having trouble finding it.
     
  7. IrishSights

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    I'm not an expert in air navigation law, however, "...must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft" disallows it as far as the CAA s concerned. The operative word here is "direct". You will not have direct line of sight at night. LEDs dont count. Also I'm pretty sure that any flights at all under the ANO, VFR ( Visual Flight Rules) requires certification.

    The qustion too has to be asked can it be safely done. Before anyone jumps on me its not what we think, that does not matter one dot, its whether the CAA think can be safely done. Not even worth going there in my opinion.

    Any others out there with any other pointers?
     
  8. landwomble

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    Visual contact means I can see it. LEDs or body. I can't see the distinction here, it's all just photons!
     
  9. IrishSights

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    You missed what I said, its what the CAA think not what we think. They will win.

    Edit: "it is unaided line of sight", they will class LEDS as aided just as they regard binoculars as aided.
     
  10. landwomble

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    Yeah I guess. Annoying though
     
  11. Hughie

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    I cannot find any explicit ruling against "night" flights (night being defined as "the time from half an hour after sunset until half an hour before sunrise (bothtimes inclusive), sunset and sunrise being determined at surface level;")....

    however, surely this is simply down to one word. "unaided".

    "must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions".

    I wouldnt fancy arguing this one with the CAA :(
     
  12. IrishSights

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    +1
     
  13. Umpa

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    So your making assumptions on that part then. I say unaided as in binoculars or other magnifying apparatus. I see no mention of night time flying. I would also like to say that just because its night does not mean you can't see it with or without lights, it all depends on how far away it is from you.

    If you can see it unaided (however you want to classify it) you can see it, no matter what time it is.
     
  14. IrishSights

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    Sorry, not me making assumptions, I have no axe to grind. I was told direct from a CAA guy that that is the CAA LOS interpretation. I'm not brave enough to argue with them.

    The same guys told me that doing stuff for free where the likes of an Estate Agent charges a client for my aerial shots, I could be held liable.

    The trick is interpreting it their way and its not always our way. Like the guy in Scotland whose failsafe failed and just happened to ditch (fixed wing) outside a nuclear sub base after a long uncontrollable flight narrowly missing a bridge. He was fined £4000 by the CAA yet he could not stop it. It actually made his day business go bust.

    Gotta see it their way if you want stay on their right side.

    I can see perfectly well to drive at night in built-up areas with no lights on, but I don't...intentionally that is. I have drove out of a petrol station with no lights on more than one occasion though