Representatives of the UK Model Flying Associations met with the CAA yesterday afternoon (29th May 2019).
The meeting was constructive, but without any real breakthrough to report at this stage.
The CAA were only able to discuss potential options within the restrictive policy framework dictated by the DfT. One such option is the possibility of the Associations registering as Operators, which would save members paying the £16.50 registration fee, but all members flying any model over 250g would still be required to take a free CAA theory test every 3 years. There is however further exploratory work to do on this option before it could be confirmed as a viable way forward and it would still be far from satisfactory.
Model Flying is now within the CAA’s Small Unmanned Aircraft Unit rather than their General Aviation Unit and there was an undertaking to meet on a quarterly basis, rather than on the current annual basis. The Associations welcome this development, especially at the present time.
There remains a great deal of detail to resolve before the 2018 ANO changes come into effect at the end of November this year and this issue is compounded by the six months lost due to the DfT/CAA ‘stone walling’ us since November 2018. It is regrettable that it has taken the direct action of our members to force the resumption of meaningful dialogue.
We would like to thank all those members who have supported our campaign so far, the CAA has received approximately 6000 responses from model association members. If you have not yet responded to the consultation, please do so before it closes next week. Full details of the consultation and how to respond can be found here: https://consultations.caa.co.uk/finance/drone-registration/
A considerable number of members have expressed their dissatisfaction at the ‘standard’ response they have received from the CAA which in many cases does little or nothing to address their specific concerns or indicate that they have even been read. We would encourage any member dissatisfied with the response they have received to raise a formal complaint through the CAA’s complaints process (rather than as a personal communication to the CEO), details of which you can find here:https://www.caa.co.uk/Our-work/Make-a-report-or-complaint/How-to-make-a-complaint-about-the-CAA/.
Similarly, a significant number of members have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the ‘standard’ response they have received from the DfT and in this instance we would encourage members to re-submit their concerns with a complaint that they have not been adequately addressed. Details of how to submit a complaint to the DfT can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport/about/complaints-procedure#making-a-complaint-to-the-department-for-transport.
We will be meeting with the Minister next week, but for now our ‘Call to Action’ remains very much in place.