Requirements for UAS applications and PfCO amendments

Please be aware that UAS applications received after 30th July 2018 may be rejected by the CAA if they do not reflect the latest amendment to the Air Navigation Order (ANO).

Before you make an application please ensure that your Operations Manual has been updated and meets the requirements set out in latest Air Navigation Order 2018 amendment.

Please refer to CAP 1687 which provides full guidance for small aircraft users.

Key areas to consider include:

  • ANO changes for small UAS (20kg or less)
  • 400ft height limit for all
  • Distance restriction from 'Airports'
  • The following areas are included and will become ‘effective’ at a later date
  • Registration
  • Pilot competence requirements
When updating your manual please also ensure that your amendment log and version number/date have also been updated.

All existing applications submitted up until 30/07/18 will be accepted if referencing the Air Navigation Order 2016 prior to the 2018 amendment. Any NQE recommendations which have been granted by an NQE prior to 30/07/18, will not be affected by the Air Navigation Order amendments.

The standard Permission For Commercial Operations (PFCO) will be amended as follows from 30/07/18:
  • The classes have been reduced from 4 to 2, i.e. 0-20Kg Multirotor and 0-20Kg Fixed Wing.
  • The standard permission now also permits operations in congested areas down to 50m for all UAS 20Kg or less.
  • Flights at night will be automatically granted provided a procedure for this has been established in the OPS Manual. Procedures covering night operations must also be incorporated into your Ops Manual for renewal applications.
  • Current permissions will be grandfathered until an application is submitted to the CAA. However in the interim current Permission holders will need to use CAP 1687 to update their procedures accordingly to meet the new requirements.
This will simplify the application process and grant additional privileges to applicants. It will also help to reduce queries to the CAA and reduce costs to industry for variations to standard permissions. The current OSC process remains unchanged.

Finally please note that the UK government has issued a further public consultation regarding drone operations within the UK, which we encourage you to read and respond to.

Further details can be found on the CAA website.

RUAS offer full guidance and assistance to their students. More information on RUAS' training courses can be found on our website


NPTC Group of Colleges is flying high as it launches a drone academy in partnership with RUAS, the longest standing National Qualified Entity accredited by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for the provision of training courses for Small Unmanned Aircraft (drones). This will allow learners to achieve a Level 4 NVQ provisionally titled "Principles and Operations of Drones (Small Unmanned Aircraft)."

Working together, the NPTC Group of Colleges partnership is now on the cusp of creating and developing new drone courses. Approval of these qualifications to display compliance and competency in drone operations would put NPTC Group and RUAS at the forefront of the industry, with the College starting to offer these courses in the Autumn.

These will allow the next generation of drone pilots to gain the skills needed to support the ever-growing list of businesses who are seeing the benefit of using drones in their company. With the impact of drones in industry increasing, so is the requirement for remote pilots who possess the relevant and recognised skills needed to safely and legally fly.

NPTC Group of Colleges has responded to this developing industry, by training, through RUAS, 17 of their team to the standard of a commercial drone operator. RUAS are excited to be part of the development of drone training and awareness across Wales as, through partnership with NPTC, learners gain the knowledge and expertise required for the rapidly developing drone industry.

Mark Dacey, CEO of NPTC Group of Colleges, said "to deliver a quality service we are delighted to be working with RUAS as we share capability to deliver drone operations using the expertise of both organisations. The opportunity this presents to Wales, employers and individuals across most business sectors is an excellence in drone training operations. This will also provide opportunities worldwide and we are already in advanced discussions with institutions in a number of countries."

Mark Jones, Head of Unmanned Aviation at RUAS, said he was delighted to be partnering with the College to create and develop a new program of drone courses and wider support approaches. He comments "we have trained remote pilots both nationally and internationally across industries including the emergency services, international media and government organisations. As part of our relationship with NPTC Group we are pleased to have trained their staff to help deliver courses and we are excited to be part of this development of drone training and awareness across Wales."

The use of drones on the railway

As the rail industry prepares for the Rail Live show on 20th and 21st June, here at RUAS we thought it would be a good opportunity to explore the use of drones on the railway. Bringing the whole of the rail industry together in a showcase of expertise across all aspects of the railway world, Rail Live is a great opportunity to demonstrate the positive changes that drones can bring to the rail network.

We are proud to be able to say that RUAS are one of the very few companies accredited by Network Rail to be able to fly in and around the railway infrastructure. This is a credit to our safety standards and professionalism and allows Network Rail and other parties to ensure that all work completed within the railway framework is safe and legal.

Drones provide a range of benefits on the railway including both cost savings and a reduction in the disruption to services and the public as vital work is undertaken. They are able to survey the railway for maintenance needs or perform close inspections of areas that would otherwise be very difficult and costly to access. Drone are also ideal for gathering high quality imagery and video of all railway infrastructure providing a clearer understanding of any issues or faults and the maintenance of repair requirement.

Using a drone to conduct aerial surveys and inspections of the railway network and infrastructure usually allows the railway to continue to function, meaning that trains are still able to run therefore providing massive performance benefits which in turn means better cost effectiveness for the company. By reducing the number of personnel and engineers required to go onto the tracks the risk of injury to staff is also greatly reduced, as aerial footage can be viewed from a safe location and the remote pilot is able to be safely positioned off-track too.

RUAS are glad to be part of the team supporting Network Rail and also working with train operating companies to help the railway move forwards with drone technology. As a Network Rail accredited provider of services around the railway we are able to help the rail industry progress their drone capabilities, able to both perform flights and train their own remote pilots. We are proud to be supporting the rail industry with the reduction of costs and risks through the use of drones and are looking forward to exhibiting at Rail Live next week as we continue to look to the future and discover what other applications drones can support in this vital industry.

To find out more about how RUAS can work with you, or to learn about our training courses, get in touch with the team on +44 (0) 1633 835 123 or email

RUAS partnering with Openreach to deliver the Future of Internet

RUAS are pleased to announce that we have recently partnered with Openreach, the UK’s digital infrastructure provider, to support its efforts to deliver faster, more reliable broadband to rural communities in Britain.

15 Openreach engineers completed a period of intense Remote Pilot Qualification (Small) - RPQ-s - training following their ground-breaking work in the remote Welsh village of Pontfadog

RUAS designed and delivered a bespoke course for the Openreach group along with the provision of all drone aircraft and support equipment.

Derk Noske, Chief Architect at Openreach said "We want to deliver decent broadband to everyone in Britain, and we're constantly exploring new techniques that can help us provide faster, more reliable services.

Drones are now part of our tool bag and they're helping us to upgrade some remote communities that have been impossible for anyone to reach before. So training our people to use drones efficiently, effectively and safely has become very important to us.

The RUAS RPQ-s is a thoughtful, comprehensive and well devised training programme. It strikes the right balance between classroom based teaching and outdoor hands-on flying experience. The inclusion of web-based training, prior to attending the classroom based training, is a great way of gauging the levels expected from the course."

Theory and practical training was completed for all 15 Openreach pilots, even despite the very challenging weather conditions. The week also contained practical flight training and experience to help the new remote pilots with developing the skills needed to operate the aircraft safely and legally in more demanding environments.

Mark Jones, Head of RUAS said "Openreach had a very successful week training with RUAS, despite some challenging environmental conditions. We’re really pleased that all of the engineers had the opportunity to experience practical application as well as achieving their RPQ-s certification. We are excited to be a partner for Openreach as they evolve drone usage within the company, leading the way for better broadband in traditionally hard to reach areas".

With real-world applications that will benefit thousands of people with improved internet speeds, RUAS and Openreach are looking forward to continuing this partnership for the betterment of Openreach and the delivery of broadband internet to their customers.

Derk added "The standards from the RUAS instructors was consistently high and the entire Openreach team enjoyed the training. Despite the weather doing its best to disrupt our plans, RUAS adapted the course and timetable to ensure we all finished on schedule, without cutting any corners. Well done!"

Meet RUAS at a variety of industry exhibitions across 2018

Here at RUAS we like to do our utmost to keep in touch with our customers and ensure that we are up to date with all of the latest developments and technologies within the drone sector. One of the big parts of this for us is attending conferences and events and we are looking forward to continuing this over the course of 2018.

GEO Business 22nd -23rd May, London; Stand A3

Workshop: Wednesday 23rd May 1145am, Room F

We will be exhibiting first this year at the GEO Business show in London on 22nd and 23rd May. This is a key event for us as we are delighted to be leading a workshop at this conference around drone surveys and the best approach to take to these. GEO Business is an informative show focussing on the geospatial industry and how drones fit within this field. This is something that we are interested in, especially the survey and mapping implications and potential for increased development for drone usage within the industry. You can find us here at Stand A3, or come along to our workshop on Wednesday 23rd May at 1145am in Room F. If you want to book a meeting at GEO Business then drop us an email here or call +44 (0) 1633 835 123 to get in touch.

Rail Live 20th – 21st June, Quinton Rail Technology Centre; Stand E3

You will find us the following month exhibiting at Rail Live at the Quinton Rail Technology Centre on 20th and 21st June. Organised by Rail Alliance, this show runs alongside the RAIL conference and gives us the opportunity to establish ourselves further as experts within drone usage on the railway. As one of the very few companies accredited by Network Rail to fly in and around the railway infrastructure, shows like Rail Live are important for us to make sure that we are staying abreast of the latest industry updates. It also provides us the opportunity to catch up with our contacts within the rail industry and if you would like to take the opportunity to arrange a meeting with us then get in touch here otherwise pop and see us on Stand E3 to learn more about how drones can work on the railway.

Emergency Services Show 19th – 20th September, Birmingham; Stand N31

The Emergency Services show takes place at the NEC Birmingham on 19th and 20th September and you can again find RUAS on Stand N31. As the leading annual show in the blue light sector, the Emergency Services Show enables us to demonstrate our work within the emergency services and discuss how drone technology can benefit such as police forces and search and rescue operations. With a successful training history for a range of police forces, including hosting training and a shared discussion opportunity with South Wales Police and the Royal Malaysian Police, RUAS are looking forward to expanding our reach within the police and fire services. Find out more about how we can work within the blue light sectors or to arrange a meeting with us get in touch and we'd be happy to see you.

Commercial UAV Show 14th – 15th November, London; Stand 80

Our final conference of the year will be The Commercial UAV show on 14th and 15th November in London. This event will mark one year since we launched as the rebranded RUAS and is a very informative conference talking about new opportunities and applications within drone technology. A very successful show for us in 2017, we are looking forward to exhibiting again and attending the conference sessions to hear more about the new integration and development of drones across a range of industries. This helps us to make sure that we are offering the most relevant services to our customers and ensures that we stay at the forefront of service delivery and drone training services. RUAS will be at Stand 80 at this show and hope to see a good number of our customers there, so get in touch to arrange a meeting.

We would love to speak to as many of you as possible at one of these events, so please do get in touch to find out more about our commercial operations provisions or discuss your drone training requirements. If you aren't attending any of these events then don’t worry, we would be more than happy to have a meeting outside of these at your own convenience so get in touch on or call +44 (0) 1633 835 123.

The use of drones in mine action

RUAS have recently completed a drone training programme with a group of delegates in Western Kosovo. Working alongside Praedium Consulting Malta (PCM) through its subsidiary The MAT Kosovo (MK) EOD and ERW Training Establishment, we are proud to be involved in the training of people within such a challenging field. The use of drones in mine action is a safety-conscious and vital humanitarian need for something that, for the second year in a row, has recorded a very high number of casualties and fatalities as a direct result of mine usage.

With 'Landmine Monitor' reporting that there are still 61 states with an identified area of antipersonnel mine contamination, the benefit of using drones to identify minefields and hazardous areas is becoming clearer, with successes already documented including at a base in Azerbaijan. The Landmine Monitor, recording the statistics for the preceding year, reported in the latest issue the highest annual total of mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) since 1999 as well as the highest number ever of child casualties recorded. With an average of almost 24 casualties per day across the previous year, it is clear that there is still a great need for a safe and effective way to remove this remaining risk.

The presence of land mines can often be identified by certain changes in the surrounding soil structure, and the growing use of drones provides a clearer picture than the previously used satellite and Google Earth imagery. By attaching scanning and recording devices to a drone, the area can be recorded at a higher resolution and with a reduced risk to all involved. It also provides the opportunity for a more in-depth search of the area in question with repeat scans, orthophoto maps, drawings and digital models of the land able to be produced with no mine clearance personnel required to physically enter the dangerous area to put these together. This can enable full topographical mapping and plans of action to be put together before mine clearing machines are brought in.

Combined with technologies such as the Airbourne Standoff Minefield Detection System (ASTAMIDS) developed by the United States making use of laser detection systems that can be mounted to a UAV, the requirement for individuals performing on the ground detection is greatly removed. Operators are able to view the data produced by this equipment, attached to their UAV, from a safe distance mitigating the dangers that are inherent to mine fields and lower the number of deminers killed and injured in the undertaking of their work.

RUAS are proud to have been chosen to run training for a new generation of workers in the mine action field. We provided the training and skills required for their Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) licence (or equivalent for non-UK Nationals) with a focus on the challenges faced in the humanitarian mine action field. With UAV use becoming more prominent in this area we are pleased to have ensured that all attendees of this flight school were provided with the knowledge and skills they need to operate a drone, considering the safety of both themselves and the surrounding public.

If you have any questions about the training we can provide, or how you can gain your own remote pilot qualifications then please get in touch with us on or 01633 835123.

RUAS and Bangor University work together to map ecostructures around the coastline of Wales

RUAS division are delighted to have recently partnered with Bangor University to work alongside them on a new project to map artificial and natural substrates at coastal locations across Wales.

Bangor University, founded in 1884 with a long tradition and pedigree in research, is a partner in the Ecostructure project, a consortium led by Aberystwyth University and including universities across Ireland and Wales. The project will raise awareness of eco-engineering solutions to the challenge of coastal adaptation to climate change. RUAS have joined them to help conduct a range of aerial mapping surveys at coastal locations in Wales where there is artificial hard substrate present, such as sea defences or coastal structures.

Working in close partnership, RUAS will provide high quality aerial imagery and associated topographical information for sites around the coast of Wales for Bangor University to analyse. Using both fixed wing and multirotor drones, the project has been timed carefully to make the most of near-Spring low-tides and to ensure maximum visibility of all coastal structures.

Andrew Davies from the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University says: "RUAS offers a combination of state-of-the-art equipment and operational expertise that is required to collect data from forty different sites throughout Wales, in what is the largest high-resolution mapping exercise of coastal defence structures ever undertaken."

Explaining the project Davies adds: "Hard coastal defence structures are becoming commonplace on our coastlines due to rising seas and increasing storminess. The Ecostructure project is focused on raising awareness of eco-engineering solutions, and a first step is developing comprehensive maps and models of structures throughout the Irish Sea."

The consortium is looking to support marine eco-systems, and it is hoped that this project will help to assist with such as the pipelines that jettison into the sea. These often contain a full and diverse eco-system which can, on occasion, block the pipe so it is hoped that this research will help to provide some further insight to these. This information can then be used to assist in changing materials or positions to minimise disruption to the pipeline whilst maintaining a healthy habitat for the creatures living within it.

Mark Jones, Head of RUAS says: "We are pleased to have been appointed by Bangor University to be working with the School of Ocean Sciences. The use of unmanned aircraft (drones) to map ecostructures around the coastline of Wales will greatly enhance the scientific research capabilities for the project and we are delighted to showcase what drones can do in this field."

Resource Group is pleased to announce that it has operated its first flight school in Kosovo, focussing on the use of drones in mine action


Resource Group's Unmanned Aviation Services division has been working in partnership with MAT Kosovo (part of the PCM Group), the international mine action standards training specialists, to organise a week-long flight school in Kosovo. Three months in the making, this progressive flight training course focused on the use of drones within the specific requirements of the Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) field.

From Saturday 16th September, Resource Group provided training to operational users, system developers and academics enabling them to learn and share their current experiences. This bespoke training meets with the requirements of the Remote Pilot Qualifications (RPQ-s), Resource Group's Civil Aviation Authority approved drone qualification, whilst ensuring relevance through its focus on the very specific requirements in the exceptionally challenging ERW arena.

As the sole flight training partner of MAT Kosovo, Resource Group supplied drones, course materials and an evaluation towards the RPQ-s certification, giving all attendees the opportunity to gain a formal qualification. With a focus on the safe and legal handling of drones, the training applied real-world ERW experiences and scenarios preparing students for the challenges encountered in the ERW environment.

Mark Jones, Head of Unmanned Aviation Services for Resource Group, said "We're delighted to have a productive partnership with MAT Kosovo and the PCM Group. As the partner of choice for this important and cutting-edge application of drone technology, we feel that the integration of drones into this well-established field will add yet another tool to the armoury in the fight against explosive remnants of war. Resource Group look forward to providing attendees with the skills they need for safe and legal drone flight, and helping to develop insight in this critical area worldwide."

This event provides a baseline and foundation for the future development of drone technology within mine action. The ongoing collaboration between Resource Group and MAT Kosovo contributes to a better understanding of the use and potential for drones in all ERW activities, along with providing the skills and qualifications required.

Unmanned Aviation Services delivery team films gunfire on Snowdon


Resource Group's Unmanned Aviation Services delivery team filmed a 105 light gun being fired from the summit of Snowdon in a celebration to mark 300 years of history for the Royal Regiment of Artillery. They filmed the action with a DJI Inspire 1 drone and the footage was shared live with those on the ground.

The gun fire took place early on the 13th May was one of the last stages in a yearlong event called 'Ubique 300', a west to east circumnavigation relay of the globe that started in Woolwich mid 2015 and will finish at the regimental home in Larkhill this year.

Mark Jones, head of service delivery was joined by Resource Group's own TA Sgt Liarne Fox and WO2 Paul McCarthy. Resource Group was chosen to support the event due to its demonstrable expertise within the industry and close relationships with the TA in the Newport area.

The gun arrived at the summit of Snowdon via the train on the evening of 12th May and was fired very early in the morning on the 13th to ensure minimum disruption and risk for the general public.

Resource Group Films gunfire on Snowdon