Annual meeting with the CAA 2014

I could tell it was getting close to Christmas, as we’d had the AGM and it was time again for Dave Johnson, Tony Hooper and me to head off to London to see not the queen, but the CAA!

As usual the BMFA, SAA & BARCS were also in attendance, but nobody from FPVUK this year.

To keep you informed of what’s happening in the world of model regulation, here are some brief notes from the meeting.

Over 20Kg Scheme

The CAA were once again very happy with how the Over 20Kg scheme was being run by the LMA, and will be organising a paperwork audit before the end of the year.

The CAA are going through a period of restructuring and staffing cuts, so in order to leave them free to do their jobs, we agreed with the CAA that all communications with them from the LMA will be done through Tony in the future. That applies to everybody, so please do not contact the CAA directly regarding any over 20Kg matters, refer them to Tony.

Air Navigation Order

The CAA explained that the Air Navigation Order, effectively the law that governs all flying, is in the process of being revised, to come into force in 2016. The CAA were receptive to the proposal put forward by Tony to change the model weight limit from 20Kg dry to 25Kg wet as per other European countries. This limit is enshrined in law via the ANO, so this is the only opportunity to change the limit that has occurred for a while, and we’ll keep you posted on progress.

CAP 658

The CAA are also updating CAP658, their guidance document on model flying, aimed to be published in 2015.

Prompted by the proliferation of camera-equipped multirotors that are available seemingly free with cornflakes, the BMFA proposed a new category of model flying, halfway between recreational model flying, and Aerial Work. This category is intended to address the perceived grey area between flying for the sheer pleasure of it, and flying for money/payment. This new category would have no impact on general flying, and we’ll be working with the BMFA, CAA and the SAA to ensure that we don’t introduce any inadvertent problems.

The CAA were also receptive to the BMFA’s proposal to change the wording on failsafe requirements from ‘should’ be set, to ‘must’ be set for both models where it’s needed (over 7Kg and gas turbines) and models where the radio has failsafe available.

Along with the change to wording, the CAA will also provide their definition of the purpose of failsafes in models, to help with clarifying what they are for, and how they should be set.

The revised failsafe options for mutlirotors will be included in the revision, but the BMFA reported the first case of a model ‘return to home’ failsafe returning the model to the car boot where it had been armed! If anybody’s got one of these machines, just be careful where you tell it home is.

Again, we will be working with the CAA, BMFA & SAA to make sure the changes are appropriate for LMA members.

High Speed Models

The CAA are still interested in very high speed models at public shows, and are continuing to monitor what’s being flown, although they didn’t have any specific concerns to raise.


The CAA have no problems with the ‘legal’ use of FPV models, and will continue with the exemption in place. As they have done in 2014 however, they will prosecute anyone who they find has done anything illegal.

UAV’s / ‘Drones’

With the recent high-profile cases of ‘drones’ being used in inappropriate ways, the CAA will be looking to prosecute those found to be breaking the law. To help with this, they’re issuing guidance notes to the police to let them know what evidence to gather if they get a report of ‘drone activity’.

The CAA are well aware of the difference between lawful model flying and inappropriate/illegal ‘drone’ flying, and are working on both educational and enforcement information for wide publication. They have not got any knee-jerk reactions lined up to ban model flying as we know it!

The BMFA are working on having leaflets explaining the rules placed in the box of every machine by the distributors / retailers to both inform everybody who buys one what the rules are, and encourage responsible use.

Model Shows

The CAA attended two shows in 2014, and found no issues. They will be attending three in 2015.

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