Trying to understand TOAL and CAA rules in practice

Hi, I am new on here.

Currently have a TELLO for practice an intend buying a sub 250g drone, DJI mini xx probably, SOON.

I have Operator and Flyer numbers.

I am having great difficulty understanding where I can legally fly <250g drones. I see a lot of videos on Youtube and here that look illegal to me.

TOAL is often used to then fly over illegal spaces, IMO. I can’t find take off location mentioned in the CAA documents they just talk about flying near or over things.

I live in the North East near Stockton and Middlesbrough area outside the Teesside airport area and would love to photograph landscape and buildings.

Sorry for noob question but can anyone explain some of this?

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Check out our own Good2Go site. Part of the very excellent DroneScene

As for TOAL, you really need some public land to do it from

Example ?

Sorry if these are repeat and simple questions.

I deliberatly did not point out examples, but I have seen where the property did not allow drones so TOAL was in a nearby layby and then the drone flew to take video then back to the TOAL, also suggestions to TOAL from public foot paths to film non permitted land.

I suppose the pilots may have simply hovered over the TOAL to take the footage.

I am just trying to understand. I assume we should only TOAL from and fly over permitted land. I have already looked at the 2 above links, thanks.

So if I have a 249g drone, I find a nice green space, and I look at various online drone flying maps, no red areas, then check if it is public land.

Do you have any tips as to where to look if it is public land?

I guess it is just a case of working at it to try and find who/what is the land owner. Although I ams so far not having much luck at that.

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As for examples, I have seen videos several land marks, castles, Blackpool tower, water park, churches etc. where the drone does a full circle, flying over roads, houses, shops, businesses.

Is this within the rules for a light weight drone?

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Simples, private land owners can stop you from TOAL on the land that they own, they do not however own the airspace above that land. So, they can stop you from using the land as a lauch site but they cannot stop you from overflying said land…Ref here…


Hi, thank you DiveUK, that makes sense , I’ll study the video.

Pretty obvious really. Thanks.

I gues that wont work for heavier drones though without permission.

With a sub 250g drone yes it is within the rules(providing all other guidelines are followed).

The TOAL from private land rules will be the same for all drones, the only difference for drones over 250g is the separation distances which are a lot more restrictive depending on the weight of the drone. The 50m rule for heavier drones can be reduced to 30m with an article 16 authorisation(Google that for info)…

Thanks All, I now have a better understanding of TOAL, thanks. One step nearer to splashing the cash.

Also remember that just because there is a red zone on a map, it does not necessarily mean you cannot fly a drone there. A CTR can appear red on a map for example which is different from a FRZ which is also red. Yes, I know, it’s confusing.

@FourProps Did you splash the cash?

Apologies for the reply a year later, but maybe you can answer my question below.

What counts as “public” land?

I’ve been reading this forum for hours now, and I keep seeing “just TOAL from public land and fly over the point of interest”… great in theory, but many councils have by-laws in place across very large areas restricting TOAL from “public” parks, roads, pavements, high streets etc (as far as I interpret). In addition to this, all land in the UK is owned by someone.

So, what counts as “public” land…

What’s the situation if I hand launch the drone whilst standing on someone’s land ? Semantics I know, but I haven’t actually taken off from their land. :wink::wink:

People keep saying this and I think any sensible person would say, yes, you were on their land when your aircraft took off, so you took off from their land. To suggest “the drone wasn’t touching the actual land” is primary school level reasoning. :laughing:

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Sorry, the school I went to was a great school. The government told me it was “ Approved” :joy::joy::joy::joy: