Drone Course

CCA Policy on UAS



The registration requirements for civil UAS are contained in the ANO and are in line with the requirements of ICAO.


⁃ The registration requirements for unmanned aircraft are the same as for any other aircraft. The legislative requirements are contained in the ANO.

⁃ UA with an operating mass in excess of 20 kg are required to be registered unless they are flying under an exemption or under the provisions of a ‘B Conditions’ approval issued to an organization under BCAR A8-9 (see http://www.caa.co.uk/cap553). UA with an operating mass of more than 150 kg must be registered with the CAA. Once the CAA has processed the application, the aircraft will be issued with a registration ID consisting of five characters starting ‘G-‘ (e.g. G-ABCD) and the details will be entered into the aircraft register. The registration must be displayed permanently on the aircraft.

⁃ EC Regulation 785/2004 requires most operators of aircraft, irrespective of the purposes for which they fly, to hold adequate levels of insurance in order to meet their liabilities in the event of an accident. This EC Regulation specifies amongst other things the minimum levels of third party accident and war risk insurance for aircraft operating into, over or within the EU (including UAS) depending on their MTOM.

⁃ Compliance monitoring of the insurance regulation is carried out by the CCA Aircraft Registration Section. Details of the insurance requirements can be found on the CAA webside under “Mandatory Insurance Requirements”.

Radar Surveillance


There have been no previous CAA regulations governing the surveillance requirements for civil registered UAS in UK. All civil aircraft fly subject to the legislation of the ANO.

However, in accordance with its powers under Article 242 of the ANO and the Rules of the Air, dependent upon the aircraft’s potential to inflict damage and injury. This policy is applicable to all civil UAS operating within the UK Flight Information Region (FIR) and Upper Flight Information Region (UIR) regardsless of origin.


⁃ UAS must be able to interact with all other airspace users, regardless of the airspace or aircraft’s flight profile, in a manner that is transparent to all other airspace users and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), when compared to manned aircraft. Unmanned aircraft must be interoperable with all surveillance systems without any additional workload for ATCOs, surveillance systems, manned aircraft pilots or other Remote Pilots. UAS must carry suitable equipment so as to be able to be interoperable with aircraft equipped with mandated Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) such as TCAS II. It must be noted that, where a UAS employs a collision avoidance system with reactive logic, any manoeuvre resulting from a perceived threat from another aircraft must not reduce the effectiveness of a TCAS II resolution advisory manoeuvre from that aircraft.

⁃ It is recognized that the Radar Cross Section (RCS) and size of certain categories of aircraft will make detection by non-cooperative surveillance systems difficult, especially at low-level. Consequently, cooperative ground and/or air based surveillance systems are traditionally deployed by ANSPs to complement coverage of non-cooperative systems, especially in controlled airspace.

⁃ The primary means of cooperative surveillance within the UK is SSR Mode Select Elementary Surveillance (Mode S ELS). However, within certain areas airspace. Where an Air Traffic Radar service is not mandatory, non-transponder equipped aircraft will not be ‘visible’ to ACAS. Consequently, in these areas ‘see and avoids’ is often the primary means of separation of aircraft. Therefore, until unmanned aircraft can comply with the ‘Detect and Avoid’ capabilities and the SSR carriage policy for such platforms can be reviewed, if necessary on a case-by-case basis, all UAs within non-segregated airspace must be equipped with, and be able to operate, an SSR Mode S transponder. The only exception to this rule is for UAS operating with Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) of the operator and staying bellow 400 ft for which a transponder is not required.

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