Operational Regulations


Merlin Drone Services has the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) “Permission for Commercial Operations” PFCO which means, as a certified commercial operator of UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles) we are governed and regulated by the CAA.

The "PFCO" is mandatory for anyone operating a commercial aerial photography drone business in the UK, along with adequate public liability insurance.

All of Merlin Drone Services pilots are very experienced and have passed the CAA-approved theory examinations and flight assessments. They all hold the established industry Remote Pilot Qualification (RPQ-s) for multi-rotor aircraft under 20kg including certification for night flying operations.

To fly a Small Unmanned Aircraft (‘SUA’) in the UK, either commercially or recreationally, all pilots are required to comply with CAP393: The Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) unless otherwise approved by the CAA.

The main operational conditions for an SUA are:

  • Maintaining a distance of 50m from people and property not in control of the pilot.
  • During take off and landing maintain a distance of 30m from people and property not in control of the pilot.
  • Permission of the landowner to take off and land.
  • Do not fly directly overhead or within a minimum distance of 150m from an open-air assembly of over 1000 people.
  • Fly a maximum height of 400ft above ground level.
  • Maintain visual line of sight of the SUA to a maximum distance of 500m.
  • If night flying the SUA  shall have illumination such that it can easily identified at all times and the take off and landing area will be fully illuminated.
  • Fly outside of controlled airspace.
  • Restrictions apply to certain areas of Central London and additional permissions to fly in these areas need to be sought from the CAA.
  • Restrictions and rules apply to flying near an airport and aerodrome.

Merlin Drone Services are fully insured and have public liability cover to fly at altitudes up to the legal limit of 400 feet.

The CAA Regulations for SUA /drones are extremely detailed, our operations manual and procedures for each aircraft has been examined and approved for commercial use by the CAA. All flights are strictly undertaken using the procedures outlined within our operations manual.

Today, the CAA's focus is increasingly on identifying the key risks facing consumers and the wider public, then acting alongside the professional drone industry to improve safety and minimise risk to property and the public in general.


We are located at:

Merlin Drone Services



NG18 5QX

Contact us today!

If you have any queries or wish to make an appointment, please contact us:


+44 (0) 7989114537+44 (0) 7989114537



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