CAP1687: Air Navigation (Amendment) - What does this mean?

This is has been on social media channels for a while now… there is an update to the Air Navigation Order (ANO) that comes into force on the 30th of July. The CAA document is available to view online and isn’t particularly taxing. It can be summed up nicely in the images (taken from the amendment summary  document) below. The most pertinent points arising from the changes are:

  • A 400ft (~120m) operating height limitation for all small unmanned craft (SUA)*.
  • A new limitation on the closest distance that SUA weighing 7kg or less may be flown near specific types of aerodrome. - We aren’t going to do this anyway right?

Furthermore, it states that effective from the 30th November 2019:

  • A requirement for the registration of SUA operators - I thought that this would be the same as applying for your PfCO as the CAA have a record of those that have acquired theirs. Perhaps this is to fall in line with other government policies in future.
  • A requirement for the competency of remote pilots to be tested - Presumably a good thing, but does this include hobbyists?

We have a while to go on registration and competency. The question is, will registration open in good time before this so ‘SUA operators’ can get in ahead of the game? Will this mean less drones in the sky or less operators? Will it affect the consumer drone industry in the UK? Probably not but time will tell.

Take home ACTIONS from the amendment:

  • Abide by the new limits after the 30th of July.
  • Update your ops manuals with new terminology ‘SUA operators’ and the operational limits.

This amendment update of course applies only to UK airspace and drone operators.

*’SUA’ means any unmanned aircraft, other than a balloon or a kite!

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