Can I fly my drone in a Flight Restriction Zone (FRZ)?

RUAS’ Guide to flying your drone in an FRZ. Flight Restriction Zones were first introduced in 2019 to afford protection around aerodromes restricting drone access. The flight of any size drone within an FRZ is not permitted without the appropriate permission. Occasionally you may need to operate within an FRZ in order to complete a specific operation with your drone.

Recently RUAS gained permission to operate within the vicinity of London Southend Airport, flying within the FRZ – EG RU142A Southend.

A drone being taken off by a man in a high vis RUAS suit at an airport. This raises the question as to whether a drone can be flown in an FRZ.


What is a Flight Restriction Zone?

Flight Restriction Zone’s are implemented at the majority of UK Aerodromes. They are there to enhance safety for all airspace users within the vicinity of the aerodrome.

An FRZ is made up of three elements:

  • A cylinder that has the same dimensions as the Aerodrome Traffic Zone – This has a radius of 2 or 2.5NM from the centre point of the longest runway and extends from the surface to 2000ft above aerodrome level.
  • Runway Protection Zones – These are rectangle blocks that start at the runway threshold and extend out 5km along the runway centreline and have a width of 1km. These extend from the surface to 2000ft above aerodrome level.
  • Additional Boundary Zones – This exists where a line is drawn that is 1km beyond the airfield boundary extends outside the ATZ this also extends from the surface to 2000ft above aerodrome level.

FRZ Zone


More detail regarding a Flight Restriction Zone can be found in Cap 722.

How do I know if I am intending to operate within an FRZ?

Initially you will need to complete a desktop survey of the intended area of operations to find out any relevant information – ensuring a drone flight in this area is feasible.

A key element you will need to check is whether or not your intended flight (or part of the flight) is inside a Flight Restriction Zone, you can find this out by accessing the FRZ map from the Drone Safety Map website.

If you intend to fly within any FRZ you must gain the relevant permission.

How do I gain permission?

To gain the appropriate permission you must contact the Air Traffic Control Unit of the aerodrome to ask for permission, they will want to know what aircraft you intend to fly, what permissions you have, and when you intend to fly.  The ATCU may then agree to your flight but could insist on certain parameters – this could include dictating the times at which you can fly or restricting the areas or height of your operation.  To find the relevant contact details of the Air Traffic Control Unit use the UK Aeronautical Information Package (UK AIP) through the Nats AIS websitePart 3 Aerodromes (AD2 – Aerodromes) this will give you accurate contact details for the ATC unit situated at the aerodrome.

If the Aerodrome does not have a dedicated ATCU then you must gain permission from the controlling authority at that aerodrome.

If you have been denied access to a portion of airspace and feel that your request was not considered appropriately you can report this to the CAA.


A drone preparing for take off by a drone tower, underlines the importance of flying a drone within an FRZ.

RUAS Training Courses

If you would like to learn more about Flight Restriction Zones, or would like to enrol on RUAS’ A2 CofC or GVC courses please click here.

To find out more about RUAS’ recent operations within London Southend Airport please click here.

Liarne Fox

February 01

An airborne drone during a GVC transition training course.

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