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UK CAA - what qualifications required???

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by martymcfly, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. martymcfly

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    Good afternoon all - I'm a new member and this is my first post, would be very grateful of some assistance. I recently contacted the CAA regarding permissions/qualifications required for using a Phantom 2 Vision - was given 3 different phone numbers, and the final one basically had an answerphone which said any queries relating to SUA's should be sent by email. Email was duly sent, only to receive an auto-reply which basically said we're too busy to respond to all emails!! I'm hoping that the expertise on this forum may assist me - I've copied my email to the CAA below -which pretty much covers my query. As I said above, any assistance or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    Good afternoon,

    I’m hoping that you can offer me some guidance regarding the training/qualification requirements required to operate a small drone. I’ve read quite a few documents on the CAA website but am still not entirely sure what is required.

    We are a company and some of our work involves assessing damage to roofs following bad weather for example. It can sometimes be difficult to access a roof to make an assessment, where the roof is a flat roof on a two storey extension for example. We are hoping to use a small drone with a camera fitted to view the roof and help our staff with their assessments.

    While I gather from the website we will require CAA permission to operate a drone in close proximity to buildings, I’m not so clear on the qualifications required, if any.

    Looking at document CAP722 on your website, it indicates in Section 4 that the need for qualifications depends on certain risk factors. In our case the device’s mass is less than 2kg (DJI Phantom 2 Vision), and it would always be operated within line of sight, typically no higher than the roof line of domestic properties (9-10 metres from ground level). If I interpret table 4.7.1 of the document correctly this possibly places our operation in the ‘Case 0’ category, which indicates for an operating mass of 7kg or less, that the qualifications required are ‘none’ or ‘BNUC-S’ or equivalent (apologies if I have misinterpreted this section in any way).

    I’d be very grateful if you could provide some guidance on the above, and whether we would require our staff to hold qualifications or not.

    Kind regards,
     
  2. IrishSights

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    I'm not a expert in this, you would need the BNUC, part of that is ground school, operations manual and a flight test. I think but don't quote me - there are others here who have done it and know better - that's about £1300 plus CAA fee £240, plus insurance. So going to be in the region of £2-3k. For congested areas there is additional permissions and fees depending on weight. The flight test is for a specific aircraft model. I think also it has not to be flight control on 5.8mhz so that rules out P2V+. I could be way out on this so I would wait for someone more authoritative to pipe in.
     
  3. wildpalms

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    Google throws up this page (http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?CATID=1995). That general page threw up this link about getting permission (http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid ... geid=16007).
    This last page has links to both the current companies who can make this happen for you.

    The basic premise in the UK is that the CAA grants you 'permission to conduct aerial work' but to do so they need to be satisfied. Both those third party companies can train you as well as providing other assistance with the goal of getting permission to conduct aerial work from the CAA.
     
  4. wildpalms

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    The section you linked to suggests that no pilot qualification is necessary ie BNUC-S not required. Section 3 of CAP722 qualifies this statement by suggesting pilot qualifications can be taken on a case by case basis. I would guess that if you were an exciting operator who previously had permission from the days before the two companies ran their training then the CAA might well grant you permission. As a new unknown operator then you are almost certainly likely to need the BNUC-S or equivalent.
     
  5. noiseboy72

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    You will need BNUC-S. This is required for any commercial use of any UAV - ie: a small drone.
    To operate in towns and cities, you will need to show that your pilot understands the extra demands of flying in these environments and that your quad is suitable. This means that it needs to operate on approved R/C frequencies - so no Visions on 5.8GHz, and that your procedures include establishing a sterile operating area.

    You can fly close to the buildings you are inspecting, as you would be deemed to be "in control" of them, but you would also need permission from other householders of other properties within 50M, as otherwise you are flying closer than is permitted to structures. This regulation is not normally waived, only the ability to fly over congested areas - towns and villages and to charge for your services.
     
  6. Judderman

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    I've completed and passed the BNUC-S theory part recently and am in the process of working on my operations manual. Hope to be flying commercially in the new year along with my colleague!

    The others are right - if you're doing this for financial gain, you need permission from the CAA. The vision+ isn't able to be used - Irishsights is correct - control on 2.4, FPV on 5.8. If you are using FPV it is limited in the UK to a whopping 25mW...something to bear in mind.
     
  7. wildpalms

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    Or equivalent. The RPQ-S is an alternative qualification that is just as acceptable.
     
  8. noiseboy72

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  9. martymcfly

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    Thanks all for your responses - it's very much appreciated

    Thanks - I guess that makes sense, wish they would make it clearer!

    I'm a bit lost here sorry - what is meant by 25mW?? Can the vision+ not be used at all in populated areas??

    Is this the case even with permission/qualifications etc? I would always need permission from any building owner/occupier within 50m of where I'm flying?

    If these are the rules, then they must be obeyed, but it does seem rather strange given that we don't want to fly them any higher than domestic rooflines (8-9m). Every day on every school yard in the country, footballs are launched to more than twice that height, and fall to the ground with more force than a little phantom drone could from 8 metres!! :D
     
  10. IrishSights

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    25mw is a measure of the strength of the transmitter. Many of us hobbyists use 600mw!

    Yes you need permission (be in control of) to fly closer than 50m. You cannot fly over or within 150m of a congested area without permission from the CAA. Ill put a link up of a summary I did a good while back on 'Seeing through the mud'
     
  11. IrishSights

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  12. martymcfly

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    So the P2V operates on 5.8ghz with 25mw transmitter power, which is legal, but the CAA may not grant permission for flying within 150m of buildings etc??
     
  13. IrishSights

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    Don't know what the transmitter is on the P2V mines a P2. The congested area limit is 150m. You can fly closer to a structure if you are 'in control' of it but not if its in a 'congested' area without CAA permission.
     
  14. martymcfly

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    Thanks I was aware that permission would be required for flying close to structures/people etc, but the comments above make me concerned that permission won't be granted in any event due to the 5.8ghz issue? I don't want to recommend my company spends money on training/qualifications and then be denied permission due to the equipment.

    Does anyone know the current position on the 5.8ghz issue? I've done some searches which suggests they were completely banned by the CAA earlier this year, but that this was lifted a few months ago after some tests were done???
     
  15. IrishSights

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    Just use a P2, Zenmuse gimbal, GoPro and FPV. P2s run on 2.4mhz. Better quality too.
     
  16. zenoshrdlu

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    @MartyMcFly

    if you read this post
    http://www.djiguys.com/Forum/viewtopic. ... 220#p26017
    you'll see that while 5.8GHz is legal (so you can fly a Phantom Vision or Vision+ in the UK). the CAA (who don't set the rules about what is legal - OFCOM do) are concerned about its 'performance characteristics' and therefore will not currently give permission to use 5.8GHz as a control frequency in congested areas.

    I suspect (but don't know for sure) that they might be prepared to give you a license to do commercial work with a PV or PV+ as long as your flight plan did not involved flying over buildings, vehicles or structures in a congested area.
     
  17. noiseboy72

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    The 25mW limit applies to the VIDEO transmitter if this is on 5.8GHz. This is the only unlicensed video link frequency band available. There are other frequencies and power levels available if you are prepared to shell out for a very expensive licence for each and every use.

    So, as already said, a Phantom 2, which has a 2.4GHz R/C paired with a 25mW 5.8GHz VTX will be fine.