You must maintain an appropriate vertical separation between General Aircraft and drones, each has been given an upper and lower height, respectively, at which they must operate.
Drones may operate from the earth’s surface to 120 meters (400ft) above the ground directly below the drone. Only when authorised from the Director of the CAA may you operate your drone above 400ft.
General Aircraft are permitted to fly as low as 500ft in unpopulated areas, giving a vertical separation of 100ft (approx 30 meters). However, there are a few exceptions where General Aircraft may fly lower than 500ft. (e.g. take-off and landing.) Therefore it is important to know when and where these operations may be occurring and how to operate with or around them. Remember it’s your responsibility to remain clear of any crewed aircraft.
If your operation requires you to fly higher than 400ft above ground level, this is a very clear indication a 102 certificate is required as the risk associated with the flight has increased dramatically since the vertical separation between your drone and general aircraft has been compromised.
Our airspace awareness helicopter flight is the best way to really see the 100ft ‘buffer zone’ is not as big as it sounds like! We will show you a few scenarios where the vertical separation has become compromised and both aircraft are operating within the rules.