Non-Standard Flight applications
A Non-Standard Flight is an aerial task that does not follow published routes or notified procedures.
About Non-Standard Flights
Some examples of NSFs are survey flights, pleasure flights, small unmanned aircraft, balloon flights/tethers, kite flights (see UK AIP ENR 1.1.4 for further guidance).
Unusual Aerial Activities such as air exercises, trials, aerial surveys or flying displays (this list is not exhaustive) that involve multiple agencies or are operating both inside and outside Controlled Airspace require the operator to apply for an Airspace Coordination Notice (ACN) from the CAA.
Applications for NSFs should be made with a minimum of 21 days notice – Note applications in the Restricted Areas in London may take longer. Applications submitted less than 7 days in advance of the flight may not be processed.
To submit an NSF application please go to https://nsf.nats.aero/ or click the button below.
NB – Airspace User Portal suspended
Please be advised that aup.nats.aero will no longer be available from 30 April 2020. From the 1 May 2020, users requesting new Non-Standard Flights (NSFs) in Controlled Airspace, parachute drops, Class D transits and drone flights (at airfields listed below) should revert to instructions contained within AIP ENR 1.1 section 4.1 If you have a drone flight request be for an airport not listed below then please contact the appropriate airport/ATC provider for guidance (contact details can be found in the UK AIP which can be accessed via the Drone Safe website https://dronesafe.uk/).
If you have Approval in principle requests issued from the AUP system, you can still operate using these until their end date, by telephoning the appropriate unit on the day for approval, quoting the ID#.
The new website nsf.nats.aero will enable users to submit requests to NATS which will be approved or rejected as soon as possible (Note: applications in Restricted Areas R157, R158 and R159 may take up to 28 days). Advance approval does not constitute an approval to fly; the user must activate the advance approval and still obtain further approval from ATC on the day of flight.
Operators/pilots will also be able use the website to request flight of SUA/UAS (more commonly known as drones) in the following Flight Restriction Zones (FRZ):
- Heathrow Airport
- London City Airport
- London Luton Airport
- London Stansted Airport
- Aberdeen Airport
- Glasgow Airport
- Belfast International Airport
- Belfast City Airport
- Manchester Airport
- Cardiff Airport
- St. Athan Airport
- Bristol Airport
- Southampton Airport
- Farnborough Airport
- Woodvale Airport
- Middle Wallop Airport
- Barkston Heath Airport
- London Heliport Battersea
Any questions related to NSF operations, including drone requests at the airports listed above and Class D Transits should be sent via the contact us form on the new website nsf.nats.aero.
For drone related questions or requests for access to any other UK airport’s Flight Restriction Zone, please see https://dronesafe.uk/ or visit the airport’s website for more details.
Additional Important Information:
- It is illegal to fly any drone at any time within Flight Restricted Zones unless you have permission from air traffic control at the airport or, if air traffic control is not operational, from the Airport Authority itself.
- Further information on flying a drone – https://www.nats.aero/airspace/drones/
- Submission of an application via nsf.nats.aero does not constitute approval to fly until permission has been granted by ATC at the airport you wish to operate at.
- The submission of an application supplies details of your flight and your contact details to the Airport concerned for them to process your application and contact you.
- Air Traffic Control Approval/Clearance does not imply exemption from the requirements of the Air Navigation Order (ANO) or the Rules of the Air Regulations.
- Applications for flights which require exemption or written permission under the ANO must be made to the Civil Aviation Authority. For further details see https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft-and-drones/
- The flight is to be conducted in accordance with the Air Navigation Order and you are responsible for avoiding all other aircraft at all times.
- To fly a SUA/UAS in any other UK airport’s Flight Restriction Zone, please see https://dronesafe.uk/ or visit the airport’s website for more details.
- A Non-Standard Flight is an aerial task that does not follow published routes or notified procedures. Operators should also file an Enhanced Non-Standard Flight for flights within Restricted Areas within Central London – Hyde Park, City of London and Isle of Dogs. For more details, please see ENR 1.1 4.1 Non-Standard Flights (NSFs) in Controlled Airspace.
- Due to the Airspace User Portal no longer being available from the 30th April, for transit of Class D controlled airspace, please:
- Freecall the appropriate frequency to request transit
- Remain outside controlled airspace
- Only enter controlled airspace after a clearance has been issued
- Plan an alternative route that can be flown in the event that a clearance cannot be issued
Guidance for operators of small unmanned aircraft (SUA) who wish to operate in controlled airspace and around specific aerodromes
The Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2019, effective 13th March 2019 contains specific rules for SUA (weighing 20kg or less).
For further information please see dronesafe.uk.
If your SUA flight is for commercial operation, then you need to contact the CAA for an appropriate Permission. Please visit here for more details.