Requirements for UAS Applications and PfCO amendments

Elizabeth Grew | 01.06.2018

Please be aware that UAS applications received after 30th July 2018 may be rejected by the CAA if they do not reflect the latest amendment to the Air Navigation Order (ANO).

Before you make an application please ensure that your Operations Manual has been updated and meets the requirements set out in latest Air Navigation Order 2018 amendment.

Please refer to CAP 1687 which provides full guidance for small aircraft users.

Key areas to consider include:

  • ANO changes for small UAS (20kg or less)
  • 400ft height limit for all
  • Distance restriction from 'Airports'
  • The following areas are included and will become 'effective' at a later date
  • Registration
  • Pilot competence requirements
  • When updating your manual please also ensure that your amendment log and version number/date have also been updated.

All existing applications submitted up until 30/07/18 will be accepted if referencing the Air Navigation Order 2016 prior to the 2018 amendment. Any NQE recommendations which have been granted by an NQE prior to 30/07/18, will not be affected by the Air Navigation Order amendments.

The standard Permission For Commercial Operations (PFCO) will be amended as follows from 30/07/18:

  • The classes have been reduced from 4 to 2, i.e. 0-20Kg Multirotor and 0-20Kg Fixed Wing.
  • The standard permission now also permits operations in congested areas down to 50m for all UAS 20Kg or less.
  • Flights at night will be automatically granted provided a procedure for this has been established in the OPS Manual. Procedures covering night operations must also be incorporated into your Ops Manual for renewal applications.
  • Current permissions will be grandfathered until an application is submitted to the CAA. However in the interim current Permission holders will need to use CAP 1687 to update their procedures accordingly to meet the new requirements.

This will simplify the application process and grant additional privileges to applicants. It will also help to reduce queries to the CAA and reduce costs to industry for variations to standard permissions. The current OSC process remains unchanged.

Finally please note that the UK government has issued a further public consultation regarding drone operations within the UK, which we encourage you to read and respond to.

Further details can be found on the CAA website.

RUAS offer full guidance and assistance to their students. More information on RUAS' training courses can be found on our training pages.