Where does it say that VLOS has max limit of 500m on the CAA website?

(Genuine question)

Can someone point me at where it says that VLOS has an absolute maximum limit of 500m on the CAA website?
I can’t seem to find it.
All I can find is this…

“… Whether you are flying a drone for fun or profit you must legally keep your device within your ‘visual line of sight’ at all times. The law is based on the clear premise that if you can’t see your drone, you can’t control your drone. For guidance we put an actual measurable distance on this ‘line of sight’ - which is set out very clearly in our Drone Code…”
Source - CAA - DroneCode

#EDIT - …And this…

“…Within the UK, Visual Line of Sight operations are normally accepted out to a maximum distance of 500 m horizontally, and 400 ft vertically, from the pilot…”

Source - Arpas.co.uk

And that wasn’t even on the CAA website.

From what I can gather - VLOS distance is undefined - however much some people seem to think it is - But - I believe you would be caught under the “Unable to determine if the flight is safe, rule” if flying over 500m

:man_shrugging: - Happy to be corrected :+1:


I’ve split this question out in to a new thread as the answers to this question will take the original thread wildly off it’s original topic.

The first rule of fight club the Drone Code is:

  1. Always keep your drone in sight

It doesn’t actually specify a measurement, everyones eyes are different I guess.

Where did you get the 500m distance figure from in your question there Dave?



And anywhere else you find people talking about drones TBH - I even disagreed with the chap I spoke to at the CAA when I called for information a while ago. The distance is NOT definitively defined - it’s a guideline - I have NO idea why it isn’t to be honest.

Again, as always - Happy to be corrected :+1:


The relevant sentence… “So, to stay safe you must simply fly your drone no further than 500m away from you horizontally or 400ft above you vertically”

Hi Lee,
I don’t want to be pedantic but I do disagree with your interpretation of that sentence, the language used is intentionally obfuscated when it comes to VLOS distance - again, I have no Idea why it is - especially when altitude and other distances relating to drone use are so VERY clearly defined in law.

But, I don’t want to get into a long drawn out thread here - What I’m after is where it clearly states 500m is the Law.

I’ve looked for a definitive definition that VLOS is 500m - all I can find is guidance.

Happy, as always to be proven wrong

Hi Dave,

All I can say then is good luck should you be involved in an incident and rely on the defense of the fact they’re guidelines and even though you were aware of them you decide not to abide by them. It’s like 20 mph zones, they’re not legally enforceable but try relying on that should you crash and find yourself in front of a jury.

Secondly - and at the moment just as important - we’re a hobby under great scrutiny by the media and wider public. As a community we should be encouraging people to stay within the “guidelines” rather than flaunt them. I can see the red top headline now as a “journalist” reveals how a forum helps people bypass the “guidelines”. We’re mostly open to non-members after all.

You may not agree with them, but right now this is the hand we’ve been dealt. Personally, I think it’s daft. The MA is 8 inches long so 500m or 5000m makes very little difference.

WHOAH WHOA WHOA there buddy…

At no point have I flown beyond 500m or beyond VLOS.

There you go - reading things wrong again and substituting opinion for fact.

I’m a little annoyed about that last reply.

You would not believe the lengths I go to to stay safe in the air - I’ve been doing this for a very very long time.

Really? I had no idea. :man_facepalming:

I didn’t say I didn’t agree with them - what I did say was …

Let’s not forget that the guidance include very large model aircraft both fixed wing and helicopters.
A large model aircraft with a wingspan of 9+ feet is far more visible and can be flow much farther than a Mavic sized quadcopter while still maintaining “VLOS”.
These large model aircraft are typically flown at clubs which are normally in the country side somewhere, it’s unlikely that at a club you’ll fly into someone’s house, dog, pedestrian or airports.
The amendment to the ANO for models is to capture the new model flyer that can walk into Argos to buy a drone then they are off to Gatwick airport to film without any knowledge of how to fly.
The sin is there are too many mappets that think they can fly because Drones are so easy to get into the air.

Here is a challenge for everyone that has the balls, take your Drone out and fly it in manual mode. To test yourself, take off, yaw to side on and hold position, yaw to face you and land, take off nose in, fly a lazy 8, fly a figure “M or W”, roll and bank in forward flight, fly a right hand and left Hand circle last but not least fly backwards circle. The BMFA has flying certification scheme for both fixed wing and helicopters, maybe they may include one for Drones someday.
I think that if you can have a degree of confidence in the above mentioned manoeuvre you’re more likely to fly safer at the limits of you eye sight but of cause you wouldn’t fly over structures, crowds or congested areas in the first place.


I’m not having a pop at you, honestly. The trouble with the written word is that I can’t convey tone of voice. Please don’t take any offense as non was intended. I wasn’t suggesting you have flown beyond VLOS either.

In my experience with the law though (with 11 other people) Joe Public will view guidelines and guidance as good as the law.


My tuppence worth… :wink:

So I think you’re right that it’s not “legally” set at 500m anywhere, it’s not in the Air Navigation Order as I’ve looked.

However, to what other posters have said…

ANO cap 393 article 94, para 2:

(2) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft may only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made

The above is what they’ll get you on legally. If the CAA issue “guidance” to stay “safe” and you ignore it by flying to 900m distance and arguably beyond VLOS, they’ll come for you on the above legislation.

It is all rather a dogs breakfast however!


Couldn’t agree more - my 1st comment on the subject…


A few thoughts, everyone …

At any time, the issues in this thread (and in others of a similar nature) are destined to be contentious, the shades of grey between black and white not appearing the same to all members. Recent events and the potential impact on our hobby (and business for some) have, understandably, heightened the sensitivities of the drone flying community.

- Please think before posting.
- Please ensure you’re not posting in a personal and insulting manner.
- Do discuss - but, please, remain civil.

Belligerent posts toward those that you consider may fly, or may have flown, in a manner that contravenes the law or the Drone Code will not stop them flying in the manner they have chosen.
Neither will such posts retain these individuals as members of the forum where they will get to see the attitudes expressed by others and, hence, rethink and/or reign in their more extreme flying practices.

You are reminded that these principles have been fundamental to this forum since its inception, and the relevant topics in the Forum FAQ can be found at …

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Simple, either you can see it, or, you can’t.

Surely, there are just too many variables to put a number on it

  • size of your drone
  • whether or not it’s been modified (colour or lights)
  • weather conditions

I must admit that I have lost sight of my drone on a couple of occasions but I knew from the map which part of the sky it was occupying and whether or not there was something bigger anywhere near that location

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Anyone who has not ,at some point, has got to be telling porky’s


Let’s also try and keep this thread on topic … which is …

Where does it say that VLOS has max limit of 500m on the CAA website?

It doesn’t :joy:


…usually when I look down to check my bloody distance on Go4! :face_with_raised_eyebrow::clown_face:


The landing lights on the mavic 2 are handy to relocate your eyes to it

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