Drone Course

ATM Procedures


• Air Traffic Services (ATS) in the UK are provided by personnel who are suitably trained and qualified to provide services at one or more of the three levels of provision: Air Traffic Control, UK Flight Information Services and Air/Ground Communication Service.

It is not possible to anticipate all of the issues and queries relating to ATS integration that will inevitably arise during the future development of UAS and their operational procedures. Any enquiries for further guidance or to establish the UK policy on a particular issue must be made to the CAA.

• This Chapter provide guidance on the policy associated with the provision of Air Traffic Services within UK airspace.


• Individual ATS units may provide services within clearly defined geographic boundaries (such as a specific portion of airspace) or may provide services within a general area (for example, in the vicinity of an aerodrome).

• The rules pertaining to aircraft flight and to the ATS provided will be determined by a number of factors (including airspace categorization, weather conditions, aircraft flight rules and type of ATSU).

• Not all aircraft within the same geographic area will necessarily be in communication with the same ATSU or operating under the same rules.

• It is important that those managing UAS operations are familiar with the relevant rules and procedures applicable within any airspace through which the aircraft will be flown.

• UAS operation is expected to be transparent to ATS providers. The pilot will be required to respond to ATS guidance or requests for information, and comply with any ATC instruction, in the same way and within the same timeframe that the pilot of a manned aircraft would. These instructions may take a variety of forms, for example, to follow another aircraft or to confirm that another aircraft is in sight.

• Internacional regulations and standards require that any new system, procedure or operation that has an impact on the safety of aerodrome operations or ATS shall be subject to a risk assessment and mitigation process to support its safe introduction and operation. Where an agency intends to operate a UAS in UK airspace it will be required to provide with a safety assessment demonstrating that associated hazards to other airspace users have been identified, that the risks have been assessed and either eliminated or reduced to a level which is at least tolerable and is as low as reasonably practicable through ATS and/or other measures.

• Where it is intended to operate a UAS in segregated airspace such a safety assessment must reflect measures intended to reduce the risk of mid-air collision between UAS and between UAS and manned aircraft. The safety assessment (which may also be presented in the form of a safety case or ATS sub-section of a broader UAS OSC) would be expected to include safety arguments concerning ATS and/or other measures to reduce the risk of accidents resulting from unplanned incursions into the segregated airspace by manned aircraft and unplanned excursions from the segregated airspace by the UAS.

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