March 13th Air Navigation Order Update *VIDEO INCLUDED*

Drone technology is being used everyday in the UK. Have you noticed almost every advert, TV programme and movie has a drone shot?

As the airspace has become busier it’s prompted amendments to the UK’s Air Navigation Order.

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It’s almost unbelievable that the apparent Gatwick drone incident occurred causing the shutdown of the airport. Perhaps you feel the amendments in 2019 are in response to this event or maybe the incident has simply accelerated changes that the industry required. The fact is that significant changes for drone operators have now come into force.

If your a drone pilot or keen on drones you will probably be interested in reading the rest of this blog. If not you will probably be interested in this video another professional drone pilot produced.

In 2018 legislation’s changed which introduced a 400ft flight height ceiling which was to contribute to the safety of manned aircraft from the risk of collision with a small unmanned aircraft, amongst other changes such as night flight permissions for pilots with PFCO and simplification of the laws in respect of UAV weight categories and operating restrictions.

We’re not going to quote the air navigation order updates for you here but you can read about them by clicking the link at the base of this article.

Here’s a snapshot of the changes:

  • Article 94A states that a SUA operator should never fly higher than 400ft under standard Permission for Commercial Operations outside of a Flight Restriction Zone (FRZ). Inside a (FRZ) of a protected aerodrome, flights over 400ft may be possible providing air traffic control feel it’s safe to do so.

  • Please note that if you require a flight above 400ft we can arrange this outside of an (FRZ) but will involve an additional cost over our standard charges.

  • Article 94B has set out significant changes to UAV flight restrictions around protected aerodromes. A protected aerodrome includes the following: EASA Certified aerodrome, Government aerodromes which includes military airfields and national licensed aerodromes. The update in air law means that you aren’t allowed to fly a drone no matter what size or if it’s a toy at any time within the boundaries of a Flight Restriction Zone around a protected aerodrome unless you have permission to do so.

  • The boundary of the FRZ has also now been extended to 2-2.5nm from the centre point of the longest runway and up to 2000ft above the level of the aerodrome. In addition to this there is also a runway protection zone that measures 5km by 1km wide extending from each runway threshold and again up to 2000 ft in height.

  • This doesn’t mean we as commercial operators can fly in these areas, it just means we need to obtain permission from the relevant Air Traffic Control Unit or Flight Information Service.

  • 94C, D, E and F have also been introduced which will form the basis of the second set of changes that are planned for October / November 2019 which will cover craft registration and pilot competency and certification.