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UK Built Up Areas Risk Assessment

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Hello. I have been qualified and in receipt of PfCO for about a year and have been flying the easy jobs until now. I have just had a request to fly within a built up area. Can you guys advise how best to deal with this from a UK CAA point of view?

I cannot maintain 50 metres of separation from buildings and persons from the operating area. Do I need to establish a cordon and notify the neighbouring properties in order to undertake this flight? I would be flying a DJI Phantom 3 (therefore sub 7kg).

Any advice would be gratefully received!
 
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If you cannot operate under the standard CAA ( 50/30m) then you will need to get permission from the properties you will be flying nearer to.
Written permission is always preferable to just a verbal agreement since they could always so 'No, I never gave permission'
You will also need to brief them as to timings of the flight and and safety precautions that maybe necessary. You can simply advice them to stay within their house/building whilst the flight is taking place but I find most people are nosey so want to see what the fuss is about and watch the UAV flying so they end up standing in their garden watching!
This is fine so long as you have told them any emergency procedures, they are aware of any risks and accept responsibility and have given you permission. You then have all bases covered. :)
 
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If you cannot operate under the standard CAA ( 50/30m) then you will need to get permission from the properties you will be flying nearer to.
Written permission is always preferable to just a verbal agreement since they could always so 'No, I never gave permission'
You will also need to brief them as to timings of the flight and and safety precautions that maybe necessary. You can simply advice them to stay within their house/building whilst the flight is taking place but I find most people are nosey so want to see what the fuss is about and watch the UAV flying so they end up standing in their garden watching!
This is fine so long as you have told them any emergency procedures, they are aware of any risks and accept responsibility and have given you permission. You then have all bases covered. :)
Thanks very much for this. Really helpful and confirmed what I had expected, which is good to know I was in the right ballpark. I was a little puzzled by a similar thread from the back end of last year (linked below) in which you referenced IN-2014/184 and suggested that if you can take off from a roof and maintain 50 metres above the tallest structure that is compliant. I have access to the roof and it is the tallest structure.

UK - The dreaded "congested area"

My only reservation with the notifying neighbours approach is that there are a lot of neighbours - possibly as many as 35.

Thanks again.
 

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Thanks very much for this. Really helpful and confirmed what I had expected, which is good to know I was in the right ballpark. I was a little puzzled by a similar thread from the back end of last year (linked below) in which you referenced IN-2014/184 and suggested that if you can take off from a roof and maintain 50 metres above the tallest structure that is compliant. I have access to the roof and it is the tallest structure.

UK - The dreaded "congested area"

My only reservation with the notifying neighbours approach is that there are a lot of neighbours - possibly as many as 35.

Thanks again.
Ouch - sounds like a terraced road!

Yeah....'bubble theory' - That is imagine your 50m as a bubble over the top of your nearest stand-offs. As you get nearer to the property you can still maintain the 50m so long as you gain altitude. So eventually and theoretically you could have zero distance laterally (so overhead) but still maintain 50m be being above the property.
Obviously, in reality you can't actually do that since if the property etc wasnt in your control you can't over fly it.
However, usually with some careful planning you can work around things and still stay compliant
 
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As you will know, the grey area is as it is residential it could be classed as a congested area ("any area of a city, town or settlement which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes") and hence 150m comes into play. There is no substitute for the application of pragmatic common sense.
Isn't the 150m reduced to 50m by the presence of a PfCO and IN-2014/184?

The flight is in a city centre, and the point of interest is a large building which is shortly to be demolished. I have access to the roof (for as long as it has a roof) and the client is looking for some pre-demolition photographs. As it's photographs rather than film it's a little easier to control the flight as it will be largely static.

Is 'Bubble Theory' a legitimate approach, or is that considered to be contentious?

Thanks for your input.
 

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Isn't the 150m reduced to 50m by the presence of a PfCO and IN-2014/184?

The flight is in a city centre, and the point of interest is a large building which is shortly to be demolished. I have access to the roof (for as long as it has a roof) and the client is looking for some pre-demolition photographs. As it's photographs rather than film it's a little easier to control the flight as it will be largely static.

Is 'Bubble Theory' a legitimate approach, or is that considered to be contentious?

Thanks for your input.
'Bubble Theory' is direct from the CAA.
With the caveat that, as always, the PIC must satisfy himself that the flight can be made safely etc etc
 

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As you will know, the grey area is as it is residential it could be classed as a congested area ("any area of a city, town or settlement which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes") and hence 150m comes into play. There is no substitute for the application of pragmatic common sense.
Congested area is now relaxed for PfCO holders that operate sub 7kg. Has been for a while.
Yes it's a 50m bubble but 150m is still applicable for congested areas and as it's in a city I reckon that's pretty congested and may need an OSC
150m is relaxed for sub 7kg and operations within a congested area are given as standard (subject to 50m standoff)
Note 1 within IN-2014 184.
There is no need for a CAOSC to operate sub 7kg within a congested area.

Hope that helps. :)
 
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Congested area is now relaxed for PfCO holders that operate sub 7kg. Has been for a while.

150m is relaxed for sub 7kg and operations within a congested area are given as standard (subject to 50m standoff)
Note 1 within IN-2014 184.
There is no need for a CAOSC to operate sub 7kg within a congested area.

Hope that helps. :)
Thanks very much for your helpful advice and insight!
 
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As you get nearer to the property you can still maintain the 50m so long as you gain altitude. So eventually and theoretically you could have zero distance laterally (so overhead) but still maintain 50m be being above the property.
Just to put a spanner in the works as I've been looking at this issue (the flying overhead bit) - if you look on the CAA website and the current list of authorised operators, one of the rulings says no overhead flight (at any altitude). This sentence is new to me - any thoughts ?
 

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Just to put a spanner in the works as I've been looking at this issue (the flying overhead bit) - if you look on the CAA website and the current list of authorised operators, one of the rulings says no overhead flight (at any altitude). This sentence is new to me - any thoughts ?
Nope - always been part of the ANO.
No direct overhead flights, you can get close by using altitude and reducing lateral stand off but maintaining 50m
 

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Have my course in Bristol beginning Feb
OK, in that case your stand-offs will still be 150m from a congested area.
Once you have PfCO, assuming standard permissions you will have relaxed stand offs and will be able to operate sub 7kgs aircraft within a congested area without the need for a CAOSC. You will still be subject to 50m/30m restrictions but as I mentioned this works in three dimensions so the higher you fly the closer laterally you are able to get.
The caveat being at no time can you fly over/overhead of any property/vehicle/person etc that you do not have under your control.
And of course, irrespective of the above you, as the PIC have to satisfy yourself that any flight can be conducted safely and within the rules of CAP393.
Once you have completed your groundschool things will become a lot clearer and you will have a much more comprehensive understanding of how you can operate within the NAS. :)
Oops, sorry, that wasn't meant to sound patronising.
 
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The caveat being at no time can you fly over/overhead of any property/vehicle/person etc that you do not have under your control.
So if surveying a building site, or a building with people inside at 60m height, would not be allowed?

How does this compare to the paragliders who are always overflying where we live?
 

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So if surveying a building site, or a building with people inside at 60m height, would not be allowed?

How does this compare to the paragliders who are always overflying where we live?
Not if you do not have permission no.
However, when doing surveys, building inspections you presumably would have written permission from the property owners so as long as you brief the occupants there is no issue.
No permission, no overflying at any height.
I don't make the rules...... take it up with the CAA.
 

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sorry - wasn't taking it out on you. i gave so many different versions.

thanks for the clarification
Ha ha - no worries.
I don't necessarily agree with all the CAA imposed restrictions myself but will explain it to people who are unsure.
Personally, I believe for PfCO holders the rules should be relaxed further since we know exactly where we should and shouldn't be and our pre and post flight checks and log keeping plus level of insurance together with mission planning and preparation will be far beyond what a hobby flyer has to go through.
 
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Im trying to understand how this will work in an emergency scene where we will try and fly a mission over the scene to create emergency mapping for scene management ?
 

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