I had a look around the site, and it seems that the discussion on UAV regulation is mostly centred around America and the FAA. All very informative, but if, like me, you live in England, not very helpful. So, not wanting to get myself into trouble, I headed over to the UK Civil Aviation Authority's website, and searched... and searched... and then gave up, and e-mailed General Enquiries. That was on Thursday. This morning, a friendly and helpful reply landed in my inbox, containing a link to http://www.caa.co.uk/cap722
, where a .pdf can be found detailing the UK's UAV regulations. Thinking that this might be useful to other UK users of this site, I thought I'd drop it here. I've attached the .pdf to this post as well, just in case anyone has trouble with the link. Having read through that document, I'll give a quick paraphrased summary. (If you want to read the actual document, the relevant part is Section 2, Chapter 1, the latter part of paragraph 6).
A UAV being flown in UK airspace is exempt from European Small Aircraft regulations if it is under 150kg. UK Regulation Air Navigation Order Article 98 still applies, however, although many articles depend on the aircraft being over 20kg. Basically, this covers reckless and/or negligent behaviour. There are no airworthiness standards for the airframe.
Any UAV that does NOT have a 'sense and avoid' capability must NOT fly:
- in controlled airspace
- in any aerodrome traffic zone (without appropriate permission)
- above 400ft AGL
- beyond visual range OR over 500m from the operator, whichever is LESS
- at night
- over or within 150m of any congested area of a city, town or settlement
- within 50m of any person, vehicle or structure not controlled by the aircraft operator, except during takeoff and landing, when the rule is not within 30m of any person except the operator and any other persons who must be present for the flying of said aircraft.
So, basically very similar to the FAA regulations, but still, it's always better to check. The one fuzzy part is what exactly they mean by a 'congested' area of a city, town or settlement, but I think that's just a case of being sensible and not flying anywhere where a UAV is going to cause problems, either by flying, or by having a problem and crashing (in short, don't fly above anything you're not prepared to ditch onto).
Hope this helps UK UAV fans!