CAA Drone Code - 2016


From CAP 722 (6th edition) CAP 722

Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)
3.11 Operating within Visual Line of Sight means that the Remote Pilot is able to
maintain direct, unaided (other than corrective lenses) visual contact with the UA
which is sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons,
vessels, vehicles and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions. Within the
UK, VLOS operations are normally accepted out to a maximum distance of 500
m horizontally and 400 ft vertically from the Remote Pilot. Operations at a greater
distance from the Remote Pilot may be permitted if an acceptable safety case is
submitted. For example, if the aircraft is large it may be justifiable that its flight
path can be monitored visually at a greater distance than 500 m. Conversely, for
some small aircraft, operations out to a distance of 500m may mean it is not
possible to assure or maintain adequate visual contac


It’s defined in a few other places but that’s the first CAA document I came across.


Well that’s a pretty decisive answer! Thanks Callum :slight_smile:


I am sure I am not the only one, it has been touched on in previous comments but drones these days are so small how is it possible to keep them in sight beyond 100 - 200m?? I have never flown beyond 800m (usually a lot less) and rely on the camera to confirm position. My interpretation rightly or wrongly of VLOS is to ensure that you are always aware of the airspace around the drone so that any appropriate action can be taken if there is a need to reposition for safety. Although I have had the Mavic since Mar last year I have limited experience which is why my flights are of the non adventurous kind! (So far anyway) However, even flying just a couple of hundred yards can make the Mavic difficult to spot. I work on the basis that as long as I maintain visual and situational awareness of the airspace around me and the drone then I am very unlikely to wreak havoc!!! Do other drone pilots work on similar thought processes?


Especially if you look down at the screen, then back up again - it’s gone?! :rofl:

Strobon CREE lights can help here :+1:

Probably safe there mate :slight_smile:


Thanks for that. As a novice it is nice to know that my understanding of VLOS is perhaps shared by others!


Everyone has their own interpretation and might make us feel a bit better but the CAA’s definition is only one that counts at end of day.

We all assess the risks and push the boundaries. I’m a firm believer in that if your flying safely, away from people and not making a nuisance of yourself your unlikely to encounter any trouble.

The new incoming regulations will probably make things clearer with guidance and competence test.