Legal flights

I did promise you a blog post on wind but feeling at this point I should be pointing out to you what is legal when flying.

This short video is aimed at anyone flying for recreation but does give you a simple reference. Please watch.

Just to point out no one currently has a licence to fly drones, all commercial operators have a permission for commercial operations CAA PFCO

To obtain this you need to attend a course with an approved training supplier. They have demonstrated to the Civil Aviation Authority that they will test a commercial operators competency.  Further blog posts about this very soon.

First of all you will hear at lot about Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO 2016) and this is the legal document that as a professional you will be bound by in the UK, this is the Civil Aviation Authority’s legal set of standards.  You will also hear about the Air navigation order and the rules of air navigation. This is what the training companies cover in detail.

You are bound by laws and limits even if you are not professional but flying a drone for recreation.   Your ignorance is no defence in a court of law if you fly outside the law.

Another good starting point is  

then for more info see

Basic legal flight is :-

To fly at a height of a max 400ft,  max 500 Meters distance from the operator.

The aircraft 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, the aircraft must not be flown within 30 metres of any person except for the person in charge of the aircraft.

Also you need to obtain permission from the land owner

There are exceptions to this and I will explain further on another blog post, at another point in time



3 thoughts on “Legal flights

  1. Hi Drone Lass. Thought I would point out, particularly as I teach and examine at an NQE, that the term PFAW has now been replaced by PFCO. Nobody seems to point out the change from 150m to 50m when operating sub 7kg above/in a congested area. IN 2014/190 para 6.1.3 refers


    1. Thank you for your comments and yes I am aware that its changed to Permission for commercial operation PFCO. Currently only blogging about my own experience and there will be a new blog about PFCO in due course. I am not quoting all of CAP722 and the law so people go on the courses that you run/ examine. Its designed as an overview nothing more and this blog post is dated March 2016. But I will check all blog posts – Thank you x


    2. The 400ft limit isn’t a real rule either. They claim to be erring on the side of caution but IMHO giving advice inconsistent with the actual laws undermines the credibility and adds confusion. Likewise the practice of adding additional safety rules into sections that are supposedly about surveillance or the various ‘exemptions’ that in fact apply to general flying. Ignorance may not be a defense but the fact that these rules are a complete mess and so hard for a reasonable person to track down and understand how they interplay could well be.


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