Permission to fly?


I have to opportunity to film at a location close to Gatwick airport.

The property owners are very cautious about permissions, as they’ve had problems in the past apparently.

I’m not sure what the issue was, but I suspect it’s something to do with Class D airspace and an operator flying too high…

So, the ball is in my court. The property owners want to see a permission from the CAA. Fair enough.

I don’t believe I need permission, but I need to find a way to approach the CAA without coughing up a silly fee and to get them to say ‘yep’ because it’s not an issue.

Is this possible? And if so, how do I go about doing that?

I’m not making any money from this…

And as an additional question, when requesting permission, how do I define an area of land that I want to fly in? Is there a standard?



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As a hobbyist, on a non-commercial flight? No, you don’t.

Assuming you’re outside of any FRZs, of course.

It needs to be done properly…


Is it not a hobbyist flight?

I may have misunderstood your initial question :blush:

Yes, it’s outside NFZ…

I got married at this location last year, so I’d love some footage… I didn’t have a drone last year.

They’re being super cautious. We have a good relationship, but, until the CAA say ‘fill your boots’, I’m a bit stuffed.

Applying for permission I don’t need, but the property other needs a firm ok. Tough one.

Are they assuming you’re a PfCO holder or something?

I don’t know how you can get permission for something you don’t need permission for.

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:rofl: it’s exactly that.

I’ve not pretended to be anything other than what I am. They know me, I’m not charging anything, and they’ve expressed interest in any footage, free of charge.

I’ve sent them maps, from DroneScene, but they’re not buying it.

I understand their position, they’re running a business and don’t want to be associated to any stupid AirProx report.


This is important… Well, to me anyway. What is the accepted way of describing the boundary for your flight plan in the absence of a map… Or is it just a map?

Sorry for banging on… It’s annoying me.

The best way will be the Latitude/Longitude at the centre of a circle of a certain diameter.

Flight Plans on DronsScene / Altitude Angel / Drone Assist create one of 500m radius from a centre.


Good idea… What’s the certain diameter though?

Chances are, the other party will be suitably impressed if you show that you’ve registered the flight and can show them its existence on several apps/websites … in advance.

So - since flight-plans create a 500m radius area - and for most people that is close to VLOS - then that might be the way to go.
And the chances are that that sized circle is sufficient for your needs, too.


I like that! Thank you.


It’d be a bit like asking Highways England for permission to drive on the M62 next week :man_shrugging:

Their reaction would likely be:

I like @OzoneVibe’s idea though, showing your flight is registered with NATS is probably as much as you can do.

And if you do it via Drone Scene (another shameless plug!) you can set a date in the future too :blush:


Have you got public liability insurance?

Providing them a copy might also ease their fears.

Yep, I’ve got PL via FPVUK.

I’m putting a ‘pack’ together for future permission requests.

And if that doesn’t work, I’m footpathing… :grinning:


I would write to the CAA along the lines of

I wish to undertake a drone flight at (location) for non-commercial photography using a (type) with a maximum take off weight of (grams). I will receive no consideration in cash or in kind for this flight.

I will be flying within a (metre) radius (lat, Long) at a maximum altitude of (feet) on (date) between the hours of (from -to).

Could you advise if any permissions are needed and, if so, do you require any further information? As a recreational pilot I am registered as ab operator with you (number) and am familiar with and will be operating within the Drone Code and all applicable aviation and civil regulations

Copy your worried people in as well then show them the reply. The CAA are fairly good ar replying though it may jusr be a standard no permission required letter.

Good luck.

Excreta taurun cerebun vincit


My friend had this on his signature block for emails in the army for so long before anyone picked up on what it meant :joy: people just thought he was really intellectual and knew Latin. Quality!


You’ve got lots of other advice here already but I’d be happy to help further if you need. Rather than getting into it here, feel free to PM me.

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How close is “close” to Gatwick? A NFZ is different to a FRZ. You can fly in a FRZ with permission from the local tower as a hobbyist. It’s worth a courtesy call to them and Sussex police to head off any trouble in advance. Then if you file it on NATS you should be good.