Published date: 1 April 2022

The Authority is introducing changes to our certification and re-certification processes effective, 1 April 2022. These are part of a wider review of our certification policy to ensure that it meets our intelligence-led and risk-based approach as described in our Regulatory Safety and Security Strategy [PDF 3.3 MB].

The aim is to ensure that regulatory burden is proportionate to the aviation safety risks that the operator is managing. This will enable the Authority to become more effective and free up CAA certification staff time to focus on higher risk aviation activities. Operators are likely to experience more efficient processes with a reduction in regulatory burden and subsequent cost savings.

The six changes introduced are:


1.  Extending initial certification time frames: The legislation enables the Director to issue an operator’s certificate for up to five years. Currently we issued the first certificate for a maximum period of two years. Considering the robustness of the initial certification process and the monitoring activities that currently exists within the regulatory system, we believe it is relatively low risk to extend the initial recertification to the maximum five years that the legislation allows. Note that organisational certificates that have already been issued for an up-to two-year period will retain their current (two year) expiry date; they will not be extended to up-to five years.

Part 102 certification specific

2.  New Sample Exposition for low risk Part 102 operators: The user cases will help new applicants to write their own exposition relatively easily, generating cost savings and helping them develop a better understanding on how to manage their particular aviation safety risks. This will be available within the next week.

3.  Consistent training standards for Part 102 pilots: As the unmanned aircraft (UA) sector grows and becomes more complex, CAA needs to ensure that the fundamental skills advanced UA pilots need are taught across the sector. We plan to engage with the Part 141 training providers of Part 102 training with guidance as to what we would expect in a training syllabus. In the future we will only approve Part 102 expositions where pilots have been trained to those minimum standards.

4.  Remove requirement to assess Part 102 applications against the requirements of Part 101: Currently the Authority assesses a Part 102 applicant’s ability to comply with both Part 101 and Part 102, even though it is lawful (by system design) to operate under Part 101 without the requirement to be certified. Assessing an applicant’s ability to operate under Part 101 as part of a Part 102 application creates unnecessary burden on both the applicant and the Authority with no tangible safety benefit.  

5.  Removing the requirement to list each aircraft in the Exposition and Operations Specification for low risk operators: For simpler Part 102 operators, there is no safety benefit of listing each aircraft (drone). Risk does emerge when the operator switches aircraft type (e.g., a small drone for a larger one); and in those circumstances the operator would need to notify the Authority of the new type of aircraft they are operating and how they plan to upskill their pilots and ensure their systems can manage the change in aircraft safely. However, for like-for-like changes, there is little benefit to updating expositions and operating specifications in the way currently being done. The operator would still be expected to maintain an asset register that lists their aircraft, but with no requirement to provide the Authority with details of each aircraft or any subsequent like-for-like changes.

6.  Enable the Authority to receive Expositions from OneReg:  OneReg(external link) is an independent company that has developed an exposition creation and management tool for participants with the aim of making it easier for participants to meet their regulatory requirements. In a non-exclusive arrangement, the Authority will allow participants to submit their expositions via OneReg if they choose to do so.