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Air Navigation Order (Amendment) 2018 – July Update

Last updated on

July 23, 2018


    On 30 May 2018, the Government published an amendment to the UK Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) which contains its changes to the legislation regarding the operation of small unmanned aircraft.

    The amendment is published as Statutory Instrument (SI) 2018 No. 623, entitled ‘The Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018’. Some articles (parts) of the amendment come into force on 30 July 2018, but others won’t be coming into force until 30 November 2019. As a commercial drone operator its important that you are abiding by the new legislation and that this is effective in your operations manual. Jon Rowland, COPTRZ Head Trainer has provided a summary of the new legislation:

    Effective from 30 July 2018

    • A 400 ft operating height limitation for all small unmanned aircraft
    • A new limitation on the closest distance that small unmanned aircraft weighing 7kg or less may be flown near specific types of aerodrome
    • Changes to terminology with the introduction of the terms ‘remote pilot’ and ‘SUA operator’ in place of the previously-used term ‘person in charge’
    • Minor corrections to the ANO 2016 to provide clarification or to correct previous errors

    air navigation order 2018

    Effective from 30 November 2019

    • A requirement for the registration of SUA operators
    • A requirement for the competency of remote pilots to be tested


    • Remember the 400ft is 400ft from the ground, therefore, provided it is safe to do so you can fly off a cliff as long as you keep within VLOS and 400ft of the cliff face.
    • If you wish to fly within the ‘inner’ or ‘outer’ zone, you must get ATC approval if it is a functioning ATC (someone is in the tower) or the CAA if it is not. Within the inner boundary, with ATC permission, there is no upper ceiling of 400ft.


    • There is talk of the 0-7kg and 7-20kg distinction being demised and as an extension to that, the 7-20kg 150m from congested areas rule will be reduced to 50m as is already in place for 0-7kg
    • FPV pilots will be limited to 400ft from their previous limit of 1000ft


    • Make sure you are abiding by the new legislation
    • Remember to update this in your ops manual and reference the changes

    Click here to read the full guidance document from the Civil Aviation Authority.


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