A question regarding distances from public footpaths

Hi everyone.

I’m due to take my practical GVC test in a couple of weeks and I could do with some clarification…

The test site has a public footpath running along the one edge (with trees on either side so hidden from

I’m assuming that this means I’ll need to keep the UAV at least 50m from the edge of the field for the duration of the test just in case there could be people walking along the path at any given time?

Or am I just being over precautious and just shouldn’t fly directly over the path in question? I’ve read through the CAP 722 document and it’s not especially clear.

Sorry if this seems like a total newbie question. I just want to get it right.

Many thanks in advance.

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I would say that it depends as to who is on the footpath and potentially the weight of your drone.

But I will bow to a more knowledgeable person if I am wrong.

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As @DroneGeek said, depends on the drone mass.
, and therefore if you are taking the test under A1, A2 or A3 rules.

A1- not a problem
A2- 50m horizontal
A3- your flight area should be clear of uninvolved people, so the footpath poses an issue for planning. If it is a very busy path, such that you expect people to be using it, you could shift your flight area away from it. Either way if someone unexpected comes into your flight area, use the 1:1 rule for evasive action.

I’ll be flying a P4P. Due to tree cover I’m guessing that the path will be obscured from view so I won’t have any idea if it’s actually being used.

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Hi Jon, when taking off and landing a min of 30m and in flight 50m for your exam. If this isn’t possible in the field chosen by your examiner ensure no one is on the footpath and maintain situational awareness at all times + tell him this is the situation so he knows you’ve understood the site. This means look around you before taking off and at times during your flight and prior to landing. Make it obvious so the examiner sees.
Beyond that in the real world, best practice is key and ensure you keep risks to a minimum so if anything happens you can show the authorities you did everything possible, and can show this, to minimise all risk. So by all means fly over a footpath assuming there isn’t a queue of people on it. For all my commercial flights I complete an Operations Safety Case which is time consuming … sorry, I’m oversharing!!!
Good luck with the exam!

As this is for the GVC practical I guess if you or a spotter can’t see the path, assume it’s being used and keep 50m away.

The examiner will like that :wink:

Make sure its covered in any pre flight plan/RA you do

Thanks for this.

The TOLP is well away from the path but the part of the building that will be used as part of the real-world example definitely encroaches on the 50m distance from the path.

I think i should be able to capture images of most of the building without going into that zone, but didn’t want to lose marks for avoiding an area that I don’t need to.

I think I’ll ‘err on the side of caution and see how it goes.

Thanks for the advice.

The problem you’ve got is that your doing a test which would be made easier (with a P4P) if you had the Operational Authorisation for which you’re doing the test!
I.e. 50m bubble , rather than 50m horizontal :wink:


Who are you doing the GVC test with, surely they covered all of this in the theory part, do you actually need the GVC, not being funny but it is really for advanced flyers who would normally know this type of info. I assume you want to fly commercially then… ? although you know you dont actually need it anymore these days… good luck anyway, Cheers