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Restrictions and Legality

WARNING - this information is not from a qualified lawyer. This is what we understand the restrictions are - please consult a suitably qualified person for more information


In the UK permission to launch balloons needs to come from the CAA. On application (with OS map marking launch site) and after review a permission will be sent to you and also a NOTAM will be issued. As the weather can be unpredictable it is possible to apply for a launch window instead of a single day. More information can be found in the Air Navigation Order.

20160825met_researchballoonreleaseapplication.doc for Air Navigation Order 2016. The current address is To fill in the form you will need the grid reference of the launch site, which you can get from here.


Hopefully these should enable you to ascertain the best areas to consider launching from when you apply for a NOTAM

Surface to 19,500'

19,500' to 24,500'

Pico Exemptions


  • Section 1 Part 32 Page 3
Exceptions from application of provisions of the Order for certain classes of aircraft
253 (1) This article applies to:
(a) any small balloon;
(b) any kite weighing not more than two kg;
(c) any small unmanned aircraft; and
(d) any parachute including a parascending parachute.
  • Section 1 Part 33 Page 16
'Small balloon' means a balloon of not more than two metres in any linear dimension
at any stage of its flight, including any basket or other equipment attached to the

Radio Restrictions

In the UK an Amateur Radio Licence cannot be used for downlink communications from a balloon. The particular licence section that excludes this is 9(3) which says: “The Licensee shall not establish or use the Station in any aircrft or other airborne vehicle.”\ UK Ham Radio Licence

Some Low Power, Licence exempt modules may be used - but many (but not all) of the licence exempt frequency bands specifically exclude airborne operation see Ofcom Licence Exempt sheet

Other Countries



There are no special rules about hamradio used airbourne. In general danish law apply up to 30KM alt.

general/restrictions_legality.1477393025.txt.gz · Last modified: 2016/10/25 10:57 by rocketboy