Whether you are a keen hobbyist or a commercial operator of small unmanned air systems, legally you cannot simply buy a system, build it and fly it where and when you would like.
Many systems are certainly not toys and have the potential to present risk to life, health and property. There are rules for where you can and cannot fly. The rules define distances from people, property, and transportation. They define distances from the operator, stipulate within the line of sight of the operator and also maximum heights.
Dependent on systems, you cannot fly during anytime other than day light hours.
The above is for information, detailed guidance can be found in:
CAP 393 – AIR NAVIGATION: THE ORDER AND THE REGULATIONS – http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP393.pdf
CAP 658 – MODEL AIRCRAFT GUIDE: A GUIDE TO SAFE FLYING – http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP658.PDF
CAP 722 – UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM OPERATIONS IN UK AIRSPACE – GUIDANCE – http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP722.pdf
With growing media focus on sUAS and in particular their misuse, the CAA has just posted an article on its website. Website
In the article the CAA are highlighting the dangers of operating sUAS and informing manufacturers of their obligations to inform their customers. Some key extracts:
“Matt Lee, Head of Regulation Enforcement at the CAA, said: “Anyone thinking of buying a small, unmanned aircraft should be aware that whilst there is a lot of pleasure in flying one, they are not toys and they must be operated legally. In the wrong hands or used irresponsibly in built-up areas, or, too close to other people or property, they represent a very real safety risk. As well as the danger of being physically hit, there is also the chance of other accidents being caused through distraction, for example, if a car driver was to be surprised by something flying towards him. In the past we have seen people seriously injured or even killed by model aircraft and, now that small, unmanned aircraft are becoming more readily available and simpler to fly, we need to avoid any similar incidents.”
“The CAA also said that it had contacted several manufacturers and distributors to explain the rules for using small, unmanned surveillance aircraft in the UK, as set out in the Air Navigation Order, and asked that this information be passed on to potential and existing customers.”