The UK Civil Aviation Authority have recently updated their regulations, which now authorises remote pilots to fly drones with fewer restrictions and more freedoms.
The new regulations introduced on the 1st January 2021, currently host a transitional period of two years. During this time, remote pilots can operate their current drone within the Open Category, with Drones to now be sub-categorised within the Open Category; according to their weight.
Current legislative restrictions within the Open Category state, that pilots should not fly their drone any higher than 400ft from the surface, drop any articles or objects or carry dangerous goods.
What is the A2 CofC Transitional Period?
The A2 CofC transitional period, is the predetermined time frame permitted to allow for cross-over from the old regulations to the new, which will run from 1st January 2021 to 1st January 2023.
During the transitional period, aircraft weighing under 2kg can be flown under the A2 subcategory; of the open category, but only by pilots who have undertaken the CAA Drone and model aircraft registration education system and hold an A2 Certificate of Competency issued by a Recognised Assessment Entity (RAE.) Upon completion, pilots flying sub-2kg drones can fly a minimum of 50m horizontally from uninvolved persons.
Pilots without these qualifications can still fly sub-2kg drones, but only under the A3 sub-category and will be subject to further restrictions. Drones being flown under the A3 sub-category must not be done so within 150m horizontally of residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas and have no uninvolved persons present within the operational area.
What Happens after the Transitional Period?
From 1st January 2023, in order to operate within the Open Category, pilots will need to fly an aircraft (drone) with a certain C class rating. At the moment, there are no current C class aircraft available, but keep any eye out for our up and coming blog concerning the new aircraft classifications.
From the 1st January 2023, ALL current aircraft will be known as legacy aircraft and can only be flown within the A3 subcategory. In order to maintain the flight privileges a pilot obtains within the A2 subcategory, pilots must further complete the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate (GVC) and apply for an Operational Authorisation (OA) from the CAA. With an OA, you can additionally fly a minimum 50m distance above uninvolved persons in low risk environments.
Between 1st January 2021 - 2023, in order to fly a drone between 500g - 2kg, a pilot will need to first obtain a flyer ID from The Drone and Model Aircraft Education Scheme (DMARES.) Once a Flyer ID is obtained, pilots will then need to complete the A2 CofC from a certified RAE such as INFRATEC Drones if they wish to operate within the A2 subcategory.
Flying within the A2 subcategory, allows pilots to fly their drone to a 50m minimal horizontal distance from structures and uninvolved persons.
Pilots without these qualifications can still fly sub-2kg drones, but only under the A3 sub-category. Flying within the A3 subcategory, only allows pilots to fly their drone to a 150m minimal horizontal distance from structures, recreational areas and have no uninvolved persons permitted within the operational area.
Examples of drones which can be flown within the Open Category are:
· DJI Mavic Air 2
· DJI Mavic Pro
· DJI Mavic 2
· DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise
· DJI Phantom 3&4 range
· Autel EVO
· Autel EVO II
If you require any additional information on any of the above, please get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to assist you.