Our friends at Skybound Rescuer have put together a free tool to help you identify which category you fly in. Click here to find out where you fit.
As per the CAA’s new UAS regulations, the rules are based on the potential risk during flight; where you fly, the proximity to other people, and the size and weight of your drone are key and not just on the purpose of your flight as previously required. Instead, the CAA now focuses on what, when, and where you’re flying to determine what [specifications] are required.
If you are flying as part of a business then you should carefully read www.caa.co.uk/CAP722. Due to the rules on proximity to people and overflight of congested areas in most cases, if you have an existing operator authorisation from the CAA, you will still require one under the new regulations.
The new rules are divided into three categories: Open, Specific, and Certified.
The CAA states that “The Open category is intended for low-risk drone flights, for example, because you are flying a very light drone or are in the countryside. If you are flying in this category then you need no specific authorisation from the CAA. All of the rules also apply if you are flying at night.”
The Open category is split into:
A1: (drones less than 250g): You may fly over people for a short time with your drone, as long as it is not a crowd.
A2: You must keep some distance from people, normally 30m. But this depends, among other things, on the drone you are flying (weight or class). To fly in the A2 subcategory as well as passing the normal flyer ID online test you must also pass an additional written theory exam. And declare that you have gained some practical knowledge with your drone, but you do not have to take a practical exam.
A3: You must stay at least 50 metres horizontally away from people and 150 metres horizontally away from parks, industrial and built-up areas.
The Specific category is for higher risk flights such as flying a drone over an urban area. To fly in this category you will need an operational authorisation from the CAA.
The Certified category is for large unmanned aircraft, for example transporting parcels above the city, that are subject to higher levels of approval and regulation.