UK CAA – Incident Reporting

Confidential drone safety reporting system now available

Drone users and enthusiasts can now report safety concerns and incidents online using a confidential drone reporting service. CHIRP, a charitable organisation that has been providing independent, confidential reporting facilities for the aviation since 1982, has extended its online reporting system to include drone-related incidents. The service is free to use, and CHIRP guarantees to keep reporters’ identities confidential.

CAA Approved drone operators should continue to report drone incidents to the CAA by filing Mandatory Occurrence Reports in line with current regulatory procedures although, as for other aviation professionals, CHIRP’s drone reporting facility is available to commercial drone remote pilots in circumstances requiring confidentiality.

OSC, #PFCO, #Operating Safety Case, #RPAS, #UK CAA, #Drone

6th December 2019 SW2019/230

UK CAA – Drone Registration

The UK CAA’s website for registering as an operator of drones that are between 250g and 20kg is now live at

Anyone who operates a drone, either as a hobby, or commercially must register as a drone operator with the CAA, and take the online test.

This becomes law on 30 November 2019.

If you operate commercially and therefore hold a PFCO, you are exempt from the online test, but you must still register as an operator.

If you are a member of the following organisations; BMFA, LMA, SAA, ARPAS-UK and FPV UK, then you are exempt from registration until 31 Jan 2020 – when your membership renewal within the organisations above, will include drone operator registration (see here for further details)

The UK CAA have also launched ‘Drones Reunited’ – a website to report lost and found drones –

UK CAA – Notifications

The UK CAA sent out a number of notifications regarding the imminent changes. See summaries and links listed below:

ORS4 No.1328: Small Unmanned Aircraft – Remote Pilot Competency Requirements for Remote Pilots in Possession of the FPV UK ‘A’ Certificate General Exemption which removes the requirement for holders of the FPV-UK ‘A’ Certificate from the requirements of ANO article 94F (requirement for acknowledgement of remote pilot competency) until 30 June 2020.
… view ORS4 No.1328
ORS4 No.1327: Small Unmanned Aircraft – Remote Pilot Competency Requirements for Remote Pilots Operating under a CAA Permission or Exemption General Exemption which removes the requirement for remote pilots flying in accordance with a permission, exemption or operational authorisation issued by the CAA from the requirements of ANO article 94F (requirement for acknowledgement of remote pilot competency) until 30 June 2020.
.. view ORS4 No.1327
ORS4 No.1326: Small Unmanned Aircraft – Remote Pilot Competency Requirements for Remote Pilots in Possession of an Appropriate UK Model Aircraft Association Achievement Certificate General Exemption which removes the requirement for holders of specified achievement certificates/awards issued by UK Model Aircraft Associations from the requirements of ANO article 94F (requirement for acknowledgement of remote pilot competency) until 30 June 2020.
… view ORS4 No.1326
ORS4 No.1325: Small Unmanned Aircraft – Registration and Remote Pilot Competency Requirements for Control Line Model Aeroplane Flights General Exemption which permits the flight of Control Line model aeroplanes without the need to comply with the SUA operator registration or remote pilot competency requirements.
… view ORS4 No.1325
ORS4 No.1324: Small Unmanned Aircraft – SUA Operator Registration Requirements for Members of UK Model and Small Unmanned Aircraft Associations General Exemption which removes the requirement to register as an SUA operator for members of certain UK Model or Small Unmanned Aircraft Associations until 31 January 2020, at which point they will be registered by their respective associations.
… view ORS4 No.1324

Registration of all drone operators of drones over 250g

The UK CAA have issued updated information on the upcoming registration process for all operators of drones weighing more than 250g

Registration will be mandatory in law from 30 November 2019:

?Anyone responsible for a drone or unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg will need to register as an operator. The cost for this will be £9 renewable annually.

? Anyone flying a drone or unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg will need to take and pass an online education package. This is free and renewable every three years.

?Holders of PFCOs or BMFA qualifications etc are exempt from the online safety test

See more info on the UK CAA website here

DSA – Watchkeeper Reports


Defence Safety Authority (DSA) – Service Inquiry reports into the Loss of Watchkeeper Unmanned Air Vehicles over Cardigan Bay.

As Commercial operators of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) we are always interested in learning from experience. That is both our experience and other operators experience.

We are by no means operating Watchkeeper scaled systems, but are interested in the common aspects of operating remotely piloted systems including operating at height and range.

The Service Inquiry report into the loss of Watchkeeper (WK042) unmanned air vehicle over Cardigan Bay in West Wales on 3 February 2017.
11:22am, 11 April 2019: First published.…/20190402-WK042_S…

The Service Inquiry report into the loss of Watchkeeper (WK043) unmanned air vehicle over Cardigan Bay in West Wales on 24 March 2017.
11:22am, 11 April 2019: First published.…/20190402-WK043_S…

UK CAA – ANO Amendments In Force – 13 Mar 2019

Small Unmanned Aircraft – Air Navigation Order Amendments now in force. New Exemptions and Permissions issued

Operators of small unmanned aircraft are reminded that the Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) 2019 amendments announced previously are now in force. A summary of these changes can be found in CAP 1763.

The following General Exemptions have been issued, which reflect these changes.

ORS4- 1294: Small Unmanned Aircraft – First Person View (FPV) Flying

ORS4- 1295: Small Unmanned Aircraft with a Mass Greater than 7kg – Operations within Class D or E Airspace Outside of Flight Restriction Zones by SUA Operators Holding Permissions or Exemptions issued prior to 13 March 2019

The following new General Exemptions have been issued, which are effective immediately.

ORS4- 1296: Small Unmanned Aircraft – Control Line Model Aeroplane Flight Within Flight Restriction Zones

ORS4- 1297: Small Unmanned Aircraft – Commercial/Congested Area Operations involving the use of a Competent Observer

UK CAA – ANO Amendments

The 2019 key changes are:

1.Deletes the ‘over 7kg’ airspace restrictions

2. Changes the distance limitation from aerodromes that was introduced in 2018

3. Introduces some additional definitions in order to accommodate the aerodrome limitation

This is the 2019 amendment to the Air Navigation Order. and replaces the previous CAP 1687 which was the 2018 amendment to the Air Navigation Order.

The extract:

CAP 1763 – Air Navigation Order 2018 and 2019 Amendments – Guidance for Small Unmanned Aircraft users


On 20 February 2019, the United Kingdom Government published an amendment to the UK Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) which contains its changes to the legislation regarding the operation of small unmanned aircraft. The amendment is published as Statutory Instrument (SI) 2019 No. 261 entitled ‘The Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2019’. This can be found at: made. The amendment comes into force on 13 March 2019.

The amendment makes changes to some aspects of the previous amendment to the ANO that was published on 30 May 20182. It should be noted that while some parts of this amendment came into force on 30 July 2018, other parts do not come into force until 30 November 2019.

Purpose of this document

This document covers the small unmanned aircraft related articles within the ANO that will remain relevant after 13 March 2019. It has been written with the aim of providing readers, particularly those who are less familiar with the layout and structure of ANO amendments, with an outline of the revised regulations as they now appear in law; to provide guidance on the cumulative effects of the two recent changes; and how they will be interpreted by the CAA. It replaces CAP 1687.

You will need to read the amendment document by visiting UK CAA CAP 1763 – Here

UK Airprox Drone & Airports

With the recent increased media interest in drones causing nuisance around airports, I was interested to see what the current UK Airprox Board data indicated in terms of : Incident frequency, the current trend, the UK airports most affected.

The following chart is extracted from the UK Airprox Board information.

The UK Airprox Board chart shows the number of reports involving drones and other objects up to November 2018. We were particularly interested in the red bars against the associated years on the chart. These are specifically incidents associated by the observer to be involving “drones”.

Since 2015 there have been 313 reported occurrences involving drones. Of this quantity, there are 22 that are recorded as drone operators reporting the Airprox.

The number of reported UK Airprox incidents involving drones has increased, with the most noticeable increase starting in 2015, and has risen up to around 120 drone reports for 2018. Of these 120, there are 66 that are incidents recorded in the vicinity of airports.

With the media writing about the recent reported sightings of drones flying near Gatwick and Heathrow airports in UK, we filtered the UK Airprox incident data to those UK Airprox taking place near to airport locations. The result is shown below.

For the above chart, there may be a few incidents that have not been caught in our filter for this exercise. That is if the recorded location does not obviously appear as an airport location. So if anything, the quantities of incidents may be a little higher.

The quantity of reported UK Airprox incidents involving drones near to airports has increased during the period to around 66 in 2018. Over the reporting period there appear to have been over 184 Airprox incidents raised involving drones near airport locations.

The specific subset of UK Airprox data that filtered for records involving Airports & Drones are associated to over 18 different airport locations, with 90 incidents recorded as in the location of Heathrow Airport and 21 reports around Manchester.

For London Heathrow in 2018 there was typically at least 1 incident involving drones a month with up to a maximum of 8 recorded in Jul 2018. There is an obvious peek during the warmer months of May – August. With London Heathrow and Manchester Airports being such busy locations in terms of flight activities, it figures that more reports would be generated. Or does it, or should this mean drone pilots should be more conscious of the impact and take measures to de-conflict.

London Gatwick only had one drone incident reported UK Airprox in June 2018 within this data-set and in 2017 had 9.

As with all subjects to do with flying drones in UK, it isn’t as straight forward as would be hoped. As an old cynic I would imagine that it is far too easy to select the “drone” category for any reporting of an Airprox associated to an unknown small object. I am however left in no doubt, that having seen the videos posted online by some pilots, and read the discussions to justify unsafe and inconsiderate flying; that there are some misguided individuals and groups that may be featured in the UK Airprox data, but unfortunately were not identifiable at the time.

This summary was posted for interest only and has no underlying message. Happy to hear any thoughts or viewpoints.

If you wish to learn more about UK Airprox Board visit : UK Airprox Board website.

UK CAA PFCO List Trend

Whether you are a potential or current sUSA operator or customer, AJSSL would like to take this opportunity to wish our reader a Happy and Prosperous New Year. All the very best for 2019 from us.

This post is prompted by the latest UK CAA PFCO List published 11 Jan 2019 and our observation that the quantity of listed operators has reduced ………..

The PFCO Operators List

Over the last 11 years AJSSL has been following the developments and trends within the vast scope of the UK drone industry. This work is used in support of our customers who are looking strategically towards future delivery, optimisation or use of sUSA capabilities.

One of these areas that we monitor is the number of registered operators. Within this aspect we see that there are a growing number of “commercial operator lists”. These are advertised as reference sources for service customers to identify professional and insured UK commercial small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft (sUSA) operators. Most of these claim to to be the best, first or the leading source for potential customers requiring the services of a commercial sUSA operator to source. These are usually free to customers and subscribed to by operators paying to be a member and listed to generate leads.

AJSSL has chosen not to be listed on these lists however, like all PFCO owners, we are listed on the a UK CAA authoritative list of current holders of the CAA permission.  This list is updated at least on a monthly basis, but recently it has been more frequently. This has a reference is CAP1361 – Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) operators holding a valid CAA permission. At the time of writing this post we are at List Version 74 dated 11 Jan 2019.

CAP1361 is published in pdf and provides a simple list of Company Name, PFCO ID# and expiry dates. This is in Company Name order and is not an ideal format for potential customers to identify a local provider.

Currently A Turnover Trickle

AJSSL has been tracking the UK CAA PFAW/PFCO List content since around November 2013. I was prompted to write this when I saw the the list imported into the tracking tool and Dec 2018 / Jan 2019 is the first time I have noticed a drop in numbers of operators on the list. This is a point when the last UK CAA Permission For Commercial Operation (PFCO) ID is #8295 and there are some 4913 operators currently listed.

With each new list published, we have previously observed a steady increase in the quantity of operators on the list with new UK CAA PFCO IDs listed. Over the years, there has been a noticeable turnover of operators with quantities of operators no longer appearing on the list. See the graphic above. The key trend of the actual number of UK CAA PFCO Operators appearing on the list is the lower (Orange line). The blue line is tracking the highest PFCO ID# on each list.

Dec 2018 / Jan 2019 is the first time we have seen a fall in the quantity of operators on the list. Whilst the UK CAA are issuing new ID number on each list, the overall quantity of operators has dropped by a small amount.

Typically, we have seen an increase of on average 100 operators per month appearing on the CAP 1361 List throughout any year. This latest fall in the quantity of operators during Dec and Jan could simply be a seasonal blip. This could be due to any number of current uncertainties within UK at the moment, including the imminent changes in legislation.

Although not an exact science, as it is based on the logging of UK CAA IDs in each year, but a an indication of the lack of operator retention or turnover; the following graphic shows the current CAP 1361 @ V74 shown graphically by proportions of current operators on the list, by the date that they originally registered.

The above graphic shows that approx 75 % of the 4913 operators on the list have only been operating in the last 2 years and critically there are only around 10 % that have been operating for more than 4 years.

So What …..

This latest reduction in numbers is only based on a very recent and short 2 month period. This instance is not necessarily an indication of a future sustained reduction or stagnation of drone commercial operators flying in UK. It may be due to one or more of a number of reasons.

The rules for drone operations are ever changing and restrictive, each renewal brings new challenges of the latest pet hates of the reviewing organisation, this all adds to the burden of a professional UK commercial drone operator. We are aware of an increasing number of operators that under current UK CAA rules are using drones without permission as part of their business. These operators can undercut PFCO operators as they have minimal overheads in comparison to a fully UK CAA permissioned operator. More are now contemplating taking their chances with operating without a PFCO.

This is only our current feeling and these are indeed interesting times. We will continue to monitor the turnover of operators in UK and we look forward to seeing what 2019 brings to the commercial drone industry in UK.

NOTE – AJSSL are experienced professional aviation specialists and will always promote the safe and legal practical use of drones to all our commercial and recreational customers.

To keep up to date with the trend – register for updates or visit our page that will be updated with the figures as they are published – Here

UK CAA – SN-2018/010 – DJI Battery TB50 and TB55

Notice To DJI Drone Operators

SN-2018/010: Small Unmanned Aircraft – DJI Battery TB50 and TB55 In-Flight Power Failures

For ease the original Safety Notice is extracted below but should be confirmed on the latest document available on the UK CAA website

1 Introduction

1.1 This Safety Notice provides updated information regarding the points detailed in Safety Notice
SN–2018/009, which is now cancelled.
1.2 This Safety Notice applies to operators of multi-rotor small unmanned aircraft utilising
DJI battery model TB50 or TB55, including all DJI Matrice 200 series (which includes the 200,
210 and 210 RTK platforms) and the DJI Inspire 2 (the Affected SUA).
1.3 A small number of incidents have been recently reported where the aircraft has suffered a
complete loss of power during flight, despite indications that there was sufficient battery charge
still remaining. In each case, this resulted in the aircraft falling directly to the ground due to the
immediate loss of lift with the remote pilot unable to control its subsequent flight path. The small
unmanned aircraft were damaged upon impact, but the CAA has not received any reports of
injuries to people or other property.
1.4 Investigation by the manufacturer has stated that this issue is related to the battery firmware in
the TB50/55 series of batteries. Although the issue is still under review, the CAA has received
a technical update from the manufacturer which has enabled a review of the previously imposed
1.5 The purpose of thisSafety Notice is to highlight the requirement for the SUA operator and/or
remote pilot to be reasonably satisfied that the flight can be safely made (Air Navigation Order
2016 (ANO) article 94(2)), restrict overflight of persons at any height, to temporarily limit the
scope of certain operational authorisations issued to operators of the Affected SUA, and to
provide updated information regarding battery management requirements while the Affected
SUA are airborne.

2 Compliance/Action to be Taken

2.1 This Safety Notice requires the following actions to be taken:

a) Provisional Suspension of Operations
i) In accordance with Air Navigation Order article 257 operators of Affected SUA are
hereby directed not to permit any flight that involves overflight of any persons, whether
or not they are under the control of the operator or remote-pilot, at any height until further
ii) In accordance with Air Navigation Order article 253, any element of any permission
or exemption based on an Operating Safety Case, issued by the CAA to an SUA
operator which permits the operation of an Affected SUA to be operated:
• within 50 metres of any person;
• within 50 metres of any, vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control
of the SUA Operator or remote pilot of the SUA;
• over or within 150 metres of an open – air assembly of more than 1,000 persons;
is provisionally suspended until further notice. This does not affect the ordinary operation
of Article 95 of the Air Navigation Order.
Note: The previous suspension of permissions and/or exemptions involving operations
over or within 150 metres of a congested area (e.g. as stated within a Standard
Permission), or when employing Extended Visual Line of Sight techniques, are now
iii) These limitations will be subject to regular review. As soon as further updates have
been obtained from the manufacturer, and the CAA is satisfied that this has been
addressed in a satisfactory manner, the CAA will then issue a further update via the
SkyWise alerts portal on the CAA website.

b) Battery Management Guidance/aircraft operating limitations
i) SUA Operator and remote pilots must refer to the guidance and instructions
provided by the manufacturer on its website:
ii) If, at any time while the aircraft is in flight, the indicated voltage is displayed as 3.7
V or lower, the aircraft must be landed immediately, as recommended by the
manufacturer. Remote pilots should therefore plan their flights so that they can land
with a minimum of 3.7 V indicated (approximately 30% of full charge).
iii) Remote pilots must not rely on the state of charge only.

c) Emergency Services Operations
i) Due to the unique nature of emergency services operations, the privileges contained
within General Exemption E 4506 (ORS4 No. 1233) may continue to be exercised whilst
using the Affected SUA, provided that the potential risks highlighted in this Safety Notice
have been considered within the decision to proceed and the overflight of uninvolved
persons is minimised.

d) Occurrence Reporting.
Operators or remote pilots experiencing further occurrences, or related issues, should
report these directly to both the manufacturer and the CAA. Guidance on how to provide
reports to the CAA can be found at

3 Queries

3.1 Any queries as a result of this communication should be addressed to the following e-mail
address:, with the subject line ‘Safety Notice – DJI Battery TB50 and
TB55 In-Flight Power Failures’.
3.2 Technical advice should be sought directly from the manufacturer.

4 Cancellation

4.1 This Safety Notice will remain in force until further notice.


#OSC, #Operating Safety Case, #Operations Manual, #PFCO, #CAA, #Drone, #RPAS, #FMECA #UK CAA, #SN-2018/008