Future small unmanned aircraft safety legislation

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Closes 29 Jul 2019


Throughout this consultation, we will refer to small unmanned aircraft as ‘SUA’. This includes multi-rotor and fixed wing ‘drones’ as well as more traditional remote controlled model aircraft. In some sections we will talk about the ‘remote pilot’ – this is the person who is either flying the SUA manually or monitoring it during automated flight.

Current situation

The current legislation regulating SUA in the Isle of Man is contained in the Air Navigation (Isle of Man) Order 2015. This replicated the SUA provisions in place in the UK at the time. The UK has since introduced additional requirements, particularly for SUA flights near airports. In the Isle of Man, Restriction of Flying Regulations were introduced in early 2019 which prohibit the operation of SUA weighing more than 250g within 5km of Isle of Man Airport unless permitted by the Isle of Man CAA. Further Regulations prohibit the operation of all SUA in the area of Isle of Man Prison. Both of these restrictions will be included in our new legislation.

If the Isle of Man CAA becomes aware of any alleged breaches of SUA legislation, we will take enforcement action in accordance with our Regulatory Enforcement Policy. We have also provided guidance to the Isle of Man Constabulary to highlight the legislative requirements and provide them with guidance in dealing with reports of inappropriate small unmanned aircraft use.

What we have already done

In developing our proposals we have reviewed current and proposed legislation in other countries around the world, including European Union legislation which is expected to be introduced later this year. We have also taken account of the nature of current SUA flying in the Isle of Man and any particular safety risks associated with it.

We have met with industry stakeholders to discuss our plans, listening to any concerns or suggestions raised. Following these meetings, we further developed and amended our proposals where we felt that they did not meet the needs of the wider aviation community or sufficiently address the safety risks. The groups we held pre-consultation meetings with are:

  • Isle of Man Airport
  • current holders of Isle of Man CAA small unmanned aircraft permissions
  • Manx Model Flyers

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