CAA Publish CAP1789: Is this the end of the PFCO?

CAA Publish CAP1789: Is this the end of the PFCO?

On 21st June 2019, the CAA published CAP1789, “The EU UAS Regulation Package outline“.

CAA Publish CAP1789: Is this the end of the PFCO?

What is CAP1789?

This document provides an outline of the newly published EU unmanned aircraft regulations.

It’s designed to be a simple explanation of the general intent behind the key parts of the future drone regulations.

It is the blue print outline of the CAA’s plans for their implementation within the UK in 2020.

It is intended to be used as an aid to reading and understanding the regulations themselves.

This follows the CAA’s recent consultation on UK Drone Registration

No more Drone PFCO?

Yes, in short.

Under the EU UAS regulation package, the term commercial operation will be removed.

There will no longer be a requirement to hold an operational authorisation purely on the basis that an unmanned aircraft (drone) is being flown for commercial purposes.

No-more recreational or commercial drones flyer titles. Everyone flying a drone will be regarded as a “remote pilot” regardless of purpose.

The regulations are intended to follow three basic concepts as follows:

  •  Operation centric – the focus is on the type of operation being conducted, rather than who or what is conducting it, or why it is being done. Because there is ‘no one on board’ the aircraft, the consequences of an incident or accident are purely dependent on where that incident/accident takes place
  • Risk based – the focus is on the risk that the operation presents, and so more effort or proof is required where the risk is greater. One outcome of this is that there will no longer be a requirement to hold an operational authorisation purely on the basis that an unmanned aircraft is being flown for commercial purposes – it is the risk of the operation that is the deciding factor
  •  Performance based – the primary requirements are aimed at identifying the required capabilities, or performance levels, rather than creating a set of prescriptive rules

Three categories of Drone Flights

CAA Publish CAP1789: Is this the end of the PFCO?

From July 2020, drone flights in the UK will fall into 1 of 3 categories.

Open category – operations that present a low (or no) risk to third parties. Operations are conducted in accordance with basic and pre-defined characteristics and are not subject to any further authorisation requirements.

Specific category – operations that present a greater risk than that of the Open category. Where one or more elements of the operation fall outside the boundaries of the Open category. Operations will require an operational authorisation from the CAA, based on a safety risk assessment.

Certified category – operations that present an equivalent risk to that of manned aviation. They will be subjected to the same regulatory regime. (i.e. certification of the aircraft, certification of the operator, licensing of the pilot)

Reduced Distance to Uninvolved People

Under the new EU UAS regulations, a remote pilot could fly in an open category area. Reduced 5m distance horizontally away from someone not controlled by the pilot.

This assumes that the craft is under 4kg and fitted with a selectable slow speed that does not exceed 3m/s.

CAA Publish CAP1789: Is this the end of the PFCO?

Read the full breakdown of the EU UAS regulations HERE.