Call us on  078 1234 0014

Home » UAV Rules of Flight

UAV Rules of Flight

If you have recently bought a UAV or RC Drone then you will no doubt want to get out there and start flying. Before you do, please take 10 minutes to familiarise yourself with the UK's UAV Rules as defined by the CAA (the Civil Aviation Authority)

Why not watch the Video

This great video by the CAA really does sum it all up. It's less than 2 minutes long, but it says pretty much everything there is to say about drone flying in the UK... enjoy

Common Sense Rules the day

It’s a common sense exercise and the priority is safety. The pilot responsible for the drone must ensure that no person, building or vehicle is at any times endangered. These rules of the air have been put together to protect the general public and must be adhered to at all times. Breach of these simple laws could result in prosecution from the CAA

Distances and Altitude.

You may fly your drone to a maximum height of 400 feet (120m) within a radius of 500m horizontally from the pilot. However, if it is NOT SAFE to fly your UAV at these limits then you must not do so. It is the responsibility of the pilot to ensure safety is maintained at all times.


The drone must always be kept within Visual Line of Sight from the UAV’s pilot. If your drone pops around the back of a tree, building or other obstacle you have lost VLOS and you’ve unfortunately broken one of these fundamental rules of UAV flight. Keep your drone in sight at all times

Restricted Airspace

There are naturally some areas where you must not fly your drone. One of these is active airports, aerodromes and airfields. There are several websites that can help in this matter, the best one I’ve used is Also keep an eye on the NOTAM’s (NOTice to AirMen) A NOTAM can be issued by anyone or any organisation who wish to inform other flyers of unusual air activity. They can be fairly informal like a parachute display or a model aircraft aerial display, or they can be very formal like RAF low flying manoeuvres over the Brecon Beacons.

The drone must not be flown:

  • over or within 150 metres of any congested area
  • over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons
  • within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft
  • within 50 metres of any person except during take-off or landing
  • within 30 metres of any person except for the person in charge of the aircraft.

Data Protection

If you are collecting images of identifiable individuals without their permission, then this could be breaching the Data Protection Act. This is a complicated section of legislation and I like to keep it simple. Only include recognisable persons in your images if you have their permission. Further information about the Data Protection Act and the circumstances in which it applies can be obtained from the Information Commissioner’s Office and website:

PFAW Licence & CAA Certification

... and remember, if you are receiving commercial gain from your images or videos you need to obtain a PFAW (permission for aerial work) from the CAA. Expect to pay in excess of £3K to complete your training, obtain CAA certification and purchase the necessary insurance. At we’ve done the work and have the certificates to prove it. For all your aerial photography and image requirements please contact Tristan today.

The rules relating UK UAV drone flying

Some useful Drone related services recommended by DroneVista

  • DroneVista recommend RUSTA pilot training courses.
  • We are insured by CoverDrone
  • For more information on obtaining a PFAW (Permission for Aerial Work) please refer to the CAA

PFAW Certified (CAA Approved Drone Pilot)

Tristan Haskins holds the PFAW licence for DroneVista (click to enlarge)

Norfolk Aerial Photography from PFAW CAA certified pilot

CAA PFAW licenced DroneVista