Smart Aerial Services Hold a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) “Permission for Commercial Operations” (PFCO) which means, as a licensed commercial operator of UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles) we are governed and regulated by the CAA.

The PFCO is mandatory for anyone operating a commercial aerial photography drone business in the UK, along with adequate public liability insurance.

All of Smart Aerial Services pilots are very experienced and have passed the CAA-approved exams and flight assessments. They all hold the established industry Remote Pilot Qualifications (RPQ-s) for multi-rotor aircraft under 7kg.

To fly a Small Unmanned Aircraft (‘SUA’) in the UK, either commercially or recreationally, all pilots are required to comply with CAP393: Air Navigation Order unless otherwise approved by the CAA.

The main operational conditions for an SUA are:

  • Maintaining a distance of 50m from people and property not under control of the pilot.

  • During take off and landing maintain a distance of 30m from people and property not under control of the pilot.

  • Permission of the landowner to take off and land.

  • Do not fly directly overhead or within a minimum distance of 150m from an open-air assembly of over 1000 people.

  • Fly a maximum height of 400ft above ground level.

  • Maintain visual line of sight of the SUA to a maximum distance of 500m.

  • Fly during daylight hours, so that you can clearly see the SUA and take avoiding action from other air users if required.

  • Outside of controlled airspace.

  • Restrictions apply to certain areas of Central London and additional permissions to fly in these areas need to be sought from the CAA.

  • Restrictions and rules apply to flying near an airport and aerodrome.

Services are fully insured against injury and damage for each flight with £2 million public liability to fly at altitudes of up to 400 feet.

The CAA Regulations for SUA - drones are extremely detailed, our operation manual and procedures for each aircraft has been examined and approved for commercial use by the CAA.

Today, the CAA's focus is increasingly on identifying the key risks facing consumers and the wider public, then acting alongside the professional drones' industry to minimise the threat of harm.

They combine rule-making, enforcement action and influencing into a flexible and pro-active approach to ensure that industry is focused on addressing these risks.