Drone flight restrictions

A drone (also called UAV/UAS) flown in the UK is the responsibility of the owner who should be aware of the rules and restrictions.

Exeter airport is surrounded by a Drone Restricted Area within which it is illegal to fly any drone at any time unless permission is granted by air traffic control at the airport.

The Drone Restricted Area is made up of 2 zones:

  1. The Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) – the dimensions of which use the airfield’s existing aerodrome traffic zone, which has a radius of two and a half nautical miles from the mid-point of the runway extending up to 2000 feet above the airfield.
  • The Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) – the dimensions of which are 5000m orientated in-line with the runway starting from the runway ends (thresholds) to 500m either side of the runway centreline extending up to 2000 feet above the airfield.

These restrictions replace the “1km from the airfield boundary” rule.

A map showing the FRZ and RPZ at Exeter airport can be found by following the link: Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ).  The Drone Restricted Area (FRZ & RPZ) is highlighted in blue. If you intend to operate a drone in the vicinity of Exeter Airport, input the postcode or location in to the map search and a red dot will appear showing whether or not it will be inside the Drone Restricted Area.

If the red dot is inside the FRZ or RPZ, permission must be obtained from Air Traffic Control at Exeter Airport as follows:-

  • Drone operators requiring geofence unlocking -To obtain a letter of approval for geofence unlocking, e-mail the details of your intended operation at least 7 days in advance to [email protected]
  • Recreational drone operators – must register with Exeter airport as an EDAL ‘Local Drone User’ by requesting an application form via [email protected].  Registering may take up to 7 days and once complete, permission for drone flights must be obtained by telephone prior to each flight by quoting your EDAL “Local Drone User” reference number, the times and maximum height of the flight.

For more information visit:

NATS – Drones and New Airspace Users

CAP 1763 – Guidance for Small Unmanned Aircraft Users