Updating your operations manual is easily forgotten. Here’s a few tips that will help you on your way.

First off, make a firm note of the date on your Permission certificate. It’ll come around every year on the same day. Think of it like a marriage anniversary - forget, and you’ll be in the doghouse! If you fail to get your renewal application over to the CAA before the anniversary date then you will end up paying an extra £70 late fee (as of time of writing).

Early birds - you can put your application in up to 90 days before the expiry date - this still means that your renewal date is on the same day each year - it just saves any possible overlap and ‘down time’ when the CAA are looking into your application and releasing your new Permission.

For example, I put my application in 10 days before my Permission was due to expire. The CAA took a few weeks to respond so I ended up having a 2 week period uncovered by a valid Permission, meaning loss of work unfortunately. It’s a mistake that I won’t be making again…

So now that you’re ready to put your renewal application together you need to check off the following:

Valid Insurance Cover
Do you still have valid insurance cover? If you pay per drone mission like myself, you just need to have a cover note. By taking out a one-day policy, you will receive a document with an annual period of validity. This needs to be provided to the CAA - and also included in your Operations Manual. (Section 3.16, Other Documents).

Flight Logs - Proof of 2 hours flight time in the last 3 months
Check your flight logs and make sure they’re all up to date. You will need to provide a spreadsheet of flight logs that clearly show that you have used your SUA for at least 2 hours in the last 3 months. If you’re short, be sure to get out and fly - perhaps for practice or as part of a maintenance check.

Updated Operations Manual
This is the most important and time-consuming part. For any Operations Manual updates after July 2018, you will need to update Section 3.5 to include the updated Air Navigation Order 2018 amendment: Update Articles 94A, B & G (C, D & F are not in effect until Oct/Nov 2019). You will also need to update Article 95. These can be found online by searching for CAA CAP1678.

You’ll need to change any mention of “pilot” to SUA operator throughout the document.

On top of that, you’ll need to add your Permission certificate to Section 3.15.2 and add your insurance document to Section 3.16.

Finally, change your Issue Date on page 1 to todays date, change the date of your Safety Statement signature, update your address if you have moved and add ALL changes made into your Amendment Record.

You can always email the CAA if you do have questions:

I was fortunate to get some guidance from my training provider - Uplift Drone Training - who also run a service to check through your Operations Manual if you need it.

Once you have put the application together including the things mentioned above, you can put the application through yourself via the CAA Online portal for renewal.

(As of time of writing), you will need to make a payment of £170 with your application (£240 if your application is over the Permission expiry date). It can take up to 30 days to receive your new Permission - so be warned, if you do leave your renewal to the last minute, you may not be covered for commercial work whilst it’s being processed.

By getting your application in early, you can rest easy knowing that even if you have made a few mistakes, the CAA will get in touch and let you know exactly what needs fixing. As long as this gets fixed and sent back within 14 days, you won’t get any additional charges.

Good luck!