The CAA Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018 comes into effect TODAY

Here's everything you need to know!

Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018 - Featured Image

The CAA Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018 comes into effect TODAY

Here’s everything you need to know about the regulation amendments:

A new set of laws regarding drones have come into force today – affecting a number of areas of the Air Navigation Order (ANO 2016) that can now be cited as the Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018.

Article 94 – which has been updated with a number of new safety regulations – announces a legal maximum height restriction of 400 feet above the surface for the flight of any Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) as well as a 1km boundary limit around aerodromes.

From today – with the changes made to Article 94 – there will now be:

  • A 400 ft operating height limitation for all Small Unmanned Aircraft
  • A new limitation on the closest distance that small unmanned aircraft weighing 7 kg or less may be flown near specific types of aerodrome
  • Changes to terminology with the introduction of the terms ‘remote pilot’ and ‘SUA operator’ in place of the previously-used term ‘person in charge’
  • Minor corrections to the ANO 2016 to provide clarification or to correct previous

Article 94A – Height restrictions on flights

This article introduces a maximum height restriction of 400 feet above the surface for the flight of any small unmanned aircraft.

Prior to article 94, this height restriction only applied to small unmanned aircraft heavier than 7 kg but it now applies to all small unmanned aircraft, regardless of mass.

In aviation terms, the ‘height’ refers to vertical distance of an object from a specified point. When flying an SUA over hilly/undulating terrain or close to a cliff edge, the 400 ft height above the surface requirement may be interpreted as being a requirement to remain within a 400 ft distance from the surface.

Air Navigation Order (Amendment) 2018 - Article 94A

Dronesafe (NATS & CAA) visual depiction of Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018 – Article 94A

Article 94B – Small Unmanned Aircraft: restrictions on flights that are over or near aerodromes

This new article imposes restrictions on the flight of all small unmanned aircraft within the immediate vicinity of aerodromes that have been given the term ‘protected aerodromes’.

A ‘protected aerodrome’ is an aerodrome that has an Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ) established around it and so it is already recognised in aviation circles as an aircraft operating location that warrants some additional safeguarding.

A protected aerodrome can be one of the following:

  • An EASA certified aerodrome (Airport)
  • A government aerodrome (Military Airfield)
  • A national licensed aerodrome (i.e. smaller ‘General Aviation’ airfields, where the CAA has issued a licence to the airfield operator)

The idea of the new restrictions is that you must not fly a small unmanned aircraft closer than 1km from the boundary of a protected aerodrome without first checking permission.
The airspace around a protected aerodrome is now known as the ‘flight restriction zone’ and is divided into two separate zones:

Air Navigation Order (Amendment) 2018 - Article 94B

Dronesafe (NATS & CAA) visual depiction of Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018 – Article 94B

The ‘Inner Zone’ consists of the area over the aerodrome and up to the aerodrome boundary while the ‘Outer Zone’ which is a ring of airspace outside the aerodrome between the Inner Zone and a line that is 1 km from the aerodrome boundary.

The terms ‘remote pilot’ and ‘SUA operator’ have also been introduced – replacing the term ‘person in charge’.

The individual terms are used to signify the differing levels of responsibility of each position and to also accommodate the November 2019 registration and competency requirements.

In many cases, of course, it should be noted that the remote pilot and the SUA operator will be the same individual.

Air Navigation Order (Amendment) 2018 - Article 94B (3)b

Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018 – Article 94B (3)b

There have also been additional changes with the addition of Article 94C which gives legal instruction to create a scheme for the registration of SUA Operators by 1 October 2019 and goes hand in hand with Article 94D.

94D does not come into force until 30 November 2019 and sets out the requirements to be in place for registration:

  • The registration requirements only apply to SUA operators
  • SUA operators are only required to be registered if they are operating small unmanned aircraft that have a mass of 250 grams or more
  • An SUA operator must have a valid registration when his/her small unmanned aircraft is flown and the registration number must be displayed on the aircraft
  • A remote pilot must not fly a small unmanned aircraft unless he/she is happy that the SUA operator has a valid registration and the registration number is displayed on the aircraft

Similarly, Article 94E gives a legal instruction to the CAA to create a scheme for the competence testing of remote pilots by 01 October 2019 which again goes hand in hand with Article 94F.

Again, the article does not come into force until 30 November 2019 and means that drone owners must register their drones that weigh more than 250g and will also have to take a mandatory remote pilot competency test.

The article states that:

  • Remote pilots are only required to undertake a competency test if they are flying a small unmanned aircraft that has a mass of 250 grams or more.
  • A remote pilot must not fly a small unmanned aircraft unless he/she can demonstrate that he/she is competent.
  • An SUA operator must not allow his/her aircraft to be flown unless satisfied that the remote pilot has passed the appropriate competency test.

It is worth mentioning that 94C, D, E, F are to bring UK regulations in line with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations – which are expected in 2019.

The CAA have also advised they will make a few changes to the rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) Operators and the PfCO.

Firstly, the amount of SUA classes has reduced from 4 to 2 – there are now 0-20kg Multirotor and 0-20kg Fixed Wing.

Considering this, a standard PfCO now permits the operation of a 7-20kg SUA in congested areas to within 50m which were previously limited to a distance of 150m.

However, these new changes will not come into effect until their existing permissions have been renewed but what it also means is that SUA Operators with a permission for the 0-7kg class can now operate any SUA’s up to 20kg.

For more information about the Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018, feel free to call our team of experts on 0330 111 8800.

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