Friday, August 03, 2018
How To Manage The New CAA Changes


How To Manage the New CAA Changes 

On the 30thJuly there were a number of changes made to the rules regarding drone flying in the UK. In basic summary they were as follow:

  • Restrictions were introduced on where a drone can fly inside an Air Traffic Zone (ATZ)

For aircraft with a mass of less than 7kg there are now restrictions which exist within an ATZ during its operating hours or hours of watch.  “A Flight Restriction Zone” consisting of an “Inner Zone” and an “Outer Zone”.  The “Inner Zone” exists as the area inside and including the declared boundary of a protected aerodrome.  The “Outer Zone” is the area which exists between the boundary of the aerodrome and a line that is 1km from the boundary of the aerodrome. A new article 94B describes this in more detail 

  • All drones must be flown at or below 400 feet above the surface

This brings all drones into line with the restrictions placed upon commercial operators. We welcome the change and only the CAA can authorise flight above 400 feet except when operating with correct ATC approval inside a “Flight Restriction Zone”. Article 94A describes this in more detail

  • Changes to definitions of SUA Operator and Remote Pilot

The “Remote Pilot” is what Flyby Technology has always referred to as the Pilot-in Command.  Both terms are correct for the person who manipulates the controls of the aircraft in flight or monitors its course and intervenes appropriately when the aircraft is in automatic flight.  The “SUA Operator” is the new term for the company, or the entity which has management of the drone and its operation; the company or Accountable Manager for Sole Trader operations. Article 94G refers 

Other changes:

  • Introduction of 0-20 kg category for rotorcraft and fixed wing operations

The category of 7-20 kg has been removed and a single category of 0-20 kg has been introduced for each of the above types.  PfCO holders can now operate 0-20 kg in congested areas.  The 50m and 30m rules remain of course

  • Removal of necessity to apply for an exemption to allow flight at night

From now on a “SUA Operator” may apply for permission to fly at night from the initial application for a PfCO

Positives as Flyby Technology sees them

  • More coordination is required to fly inside ATZs and Controlled Airspace
  • A simplified height rule brings hobbyists in line with professional “Remote Pilots” 
  • Expansion of options for PfCO holders without extra costs incurred by application for an Operating Safety Case


  • “Flight Restriction Zone” may be difficult to determine and could discourage some pilots from operating in sovereign airspace
  • The new common height restriction of 400 feet is not present inside a “Flight Restriction Zone” and could give the incorrect impression that flight to any height or altitude is permissible
  • Throw away lines such as “There is no longer a 7-20 kg category” may cause “Remote Pilots” to believe they can fly aircraft with a mass greater than 7 kg in Controlled Airspace or in an ATZ without permission
  • “SUA Operators” or “Remote Pilots” will attempt night flying operations before having their procedures examined by the regulator
  • No training is required for night operations contrary to best practice in manned aviation 

What to do next for Flyby Technology Pilots

Flyby Technology pilots now have a number of choices.  If you would like the ability to operate at night and/or in the 0-20 kg category you must have your new procedures included in your Operations Manual (OM).  The CAA would prefer that your OM is always up-to-date and includes the latest rule sets from the regulatory framework.  If you want your OM to include the new rules and operate at night please contact the office on Freephone 08081680626.

Pilots sitting outside of Flyby Technology’s Flight Standard

The problem with going it alone means that when complex rule changes are introduced it is your responsibility to make sure that your processes and procedures take into account the new regulatory framework.  Non-aviators may not understand the nuances of those changes and their pitfalls, you don’t know what you don’t know.  As time moves by ever more complicated changes will be introduced and it is a good idea to align your operation with a standard which is highly respected and synonymous with aviation best practice.  If you would like to have a chat about how we can help you bring your operation to our standard please give us a call.  In all cases you can do this alone, but we believe we can add real value to your operation and keep you relevant and up-to-date at all times.  Freephone 08081680626.


The CAA has declared that more regulatory changes will be introduced in November 2019 and if there is a migration to European rule sets these could be complex and varied.  Let us help you future proof your operation.