Drone users can now report unjustified restrictions

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched an online form for drone users to report cases where access to airspace has been unjustly denied.

The Airspace Access Reporting Form has been unveiled following the amendment of the Air Navigation Order 2016 earlier this year.

In April, the CAA issued guidance to Aerodrome Operators and Air Traffic Service Units to assist with making decisions about issuing permission for UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) operations within their Flight Restriction Zones (CAP 1788) on the grounds of aviation safety, security interests or any other reasonable interest.

Drones of any size must not be flown within the Flight Restriction Zone (FRZ) of a protected aerodrome, without appropriate permission.

The Flight Restriction Zone consists of the following three elements:

  • The Aerodrome Traffic Zone: A 2 or 2.5 nautical mile radius ‘cylinder’ around the aerodrome, extending 2000 ft above ground level, centred on the longest runway.
  • Runway Protection Zones: A rectangle extending 5Km from the threshold of the runway away from the aerodrome, along the extended runway centreline, and 500m either side- also to a height of 2000 ft above ground level.
  • Additional Zones: In the case where the 1Km boundary of an aerodrome extends beyond the Aerodrome traffic zone, and so would not be protected by it, the flight restriction zone will include a ‘bump’ (the airfield boundary + 1KM) to protect this part of the aerodrome.

However, if you have applied for permission to operate within such an area, but believe this was rejected without proper consideration of the interests described in CAP1788 – ie aviation safety, security or other operational interests – then you may notify the CAA through the Airspace Access Reporting Form.

The CAA will monitor submissions of this form, but does not undertake to investigate each report. You may not receive further correspondence following submission of this form, however the CAA will monitor trends of reports and act where appropriate and necessary.

Airspace Access Reporting Form Is A Positive Step

The launch of the Airspace Access Reporting Form is a positive step for the drone industry.

It means that aerodromes cannot just issue a blanket ban when they hear the word ‘drone’. Instead, it should mean that each UAS flight will be judged on its merits.

While CAP1788 has the mechanisms in place to try to combat rogue UAV use near to aerodromes, the Airspace Access form will hopefully give more freedom to sensible drone operators.

It is also a step in the right direction of ensuring that manned and unmanned aircraft can safely operate in the same airspace.

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