Qualification and UK rules

Open Category explained

The Open Category is further divided into three subcategories, stipulating where, what and how you can fly -A1 Subcategory(Fly Over People), A2 Subcategory(Fly Near To People), A3 Subcategory(Fly far from People).

  • A1 Subcategory – Fly Over People

This category is for drones which pose the least risk, due to their weight and other factors.

My DJI Mini 2 can be operated in this subcategory.

  • A2 Subcategory – Fly Near To People

This subcategory enables drones which are C2 rated (these drones will weigh up to 4kg) to fly up to 30 metres horizontally from people, or even closer (5 metres) in low-speed mode.

A2 Transitional drones – ie drones which are currently on the market but not class-marked – weighing up to 2kg can fly up to 50m horizontally from people.

All pilots must have an A2 Certificate of Competence to fly in the A2 subcategory.

Separation from uninvolved people

  • Class C2 drone: No closer than 30m horizontally. If ‘low-speed mode’ is activated – employ 1:1 rule, but never closer than 5m horizontally.
  • A2 Transitional aircraft (2kg max): No closer than 50m horizontally

UK Drone Laws: Where Can I Fly?

Where you can fly is dictated by the type of drone you have and the level of risk involved in the flight.

As an open category pilot, here are a number of basic requirements that all Open Category pilots must adhere to:

  • The aircraft’s maximum take-off mass must be less than 25kg;
  • Keep the drone within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS);
  • Do not fly higher than 400 ft (120 metres) from the earth’s surface.

Operators needing to fly outside one or more of these conditions will be required to seek permission to fly in the Specific Category.

However, the 400ft rule can be exceeded when a drone is required to overfly obstacles taller than 105m, provided that:

  • The obstacle is overflown by a maximum of 15m
  • You have permission from whoever is in charge of the obstacle
  • You do not fly closer than 50m horizontally from the obstacle.