I have just completed my PfCO theory course which included a large segment on the new Flight Restriction Zones rules that come into effect from 13th March 2019.
I though I would share a condensed version of this in case others are not sure or aware of the detail of new rules. The full details of the amendments can be found in CAP1763:
One benefit included in this ANO update is that the existing restriction on flying unmanned aircraft over 7kg below 400ft in controlled airspace has now been removed, as the new restrictions apply to all unmanned aircraft up to 20Kg and maintain the 400ft limit for all unmanned aircraft. This means, for us multi rota pilots, we no longer need to consider airspace class restrictions - we only need to be aware of FRZ’s. In a way this does simplify the situation regarding airports.
Flight Restriction Zones
Flight Restriction Zones are placed around protected airdromes and are a combination of the existing Air Traffic Zone (ATZ) and the new Runway Protection Zones.
The Flight Restriction Zone is active at all times and applies to all small unmanned aircraft of any size or weight including ‘very small toys’ .
Every airfield’s restriction will be different, but the diagram below gives a generic example of what the restricted zones will look like. Small airdromes may have larger FRZs because they had have more ‘runways’ so the FRZ around mu small local general aviation airdrome has a larger FRZ than Gatwick.
If you wish to fly a small unmanned aircraft within these flight restriction zones, then permission will have to be obtained from air traffic control at the aerodrome. If the ATC is not manned then the permission needs to be obtained from the
Permission to enter a Flight Restriction Zones
If there is an Air Traffic Control (ATC) unit available i.e. there is someone in the control tower, the ATC can give you permission to fly in the FRZ or, of course, refuse. Strangely enough, it is also possible for the the ATC can also give you permission to fly above 400ft to the limit of the airspace they control (2000ft) and not refer you back to the CAA. Important to recognise that the rules regarding VLOS still apply!
If there is no one to contact at the airport ATC (either because out of operation hours or doesn’t have an ATC then the Aerodrome operator can give permission. This does not include flying above 400 ft.
Full contact details of protected airdromes at available at the UK AIP:
And the military airports at the UK Mil AIP:
Clearly this will all be very new the ATCs so it will be unclear how they react to these requests - and may differ from airport to airport.
A useful interactive map of the UK has been created by NATS showing the protected aerodromes with the flight restriction zones:
I will do a separate piece on how you can have these maps available on your smart devices.
I hope that this is of help and please not that I am not saying what is right or wrong with the new system - just saying how it is. I am sure that the issue of small toys will be subject to a lot of debate going forward, especially from model clubs as this does affect all SUA’s and not just multi rota’s.