Due to the nature of the Large Model Airshow with visitors, traders and volunteers travelling from across the country and indeed all over the world to attend the event; the Large Model Association and the RAF Museum have taken the difficult decision to cancel the Large Model Airshow scheduled for July 2021. We are looking forward to welcoming you back in 2022 – save the dates: 1 – 3 July 2022.
So the end of another year, and a funny one it’s been. We can only hope 2021 will be better.
The government / CAA operator registration and pilot competency testing (DRES) system that I’m sure you’ve all been waiting excitedly for was due to go live on Tuesday 1 October, but now won’t. This is in part due to the response received from the model flying community, so thanks to everyone who contacted the DfT, CAA, their MP and others, and thanks for your continued support.
When the DRES system will all come to life, and what we as model association members will need to do and by when is not yet finally confirmed. Rest assured that I’ll update you all with the details as soon as everything is defined and agreed.
So please don’t register or take the test yet should the system become live in the meantime.
Rob Buckley – LMA Secretary
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.
DfT publishes amendments to the Air Navigation Order.
The Department for Transport (DfT) have today published further amendments to the Air Navigation Order which impact on all users of Small Unmanned Aircraft, including the model flying community. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-drone-safety-partnership-with-business-launched-as-government-sets-out-plans-to-limit-drone-misuse
Further details of the amendments can be found in CAP1763 (as the CAA have the unenviable task of implementing the legislation). You can read CAP1763 here: http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP1763%20New%20UAS%20guidance.pdf
Regrettably, the DfT have put us somewhat on the ‘back foot’ with this due to the speed with which they have introduced the amendment which also includes elements which they had not alerted us to. The changes have been expedited in reaction to incidents involving small unmanned aircraft at Gatwick and Heathrow in the last couple of months.
We have reported previously on the creation of flight restriction zones around protected aerodromes, the concept of which was introduced in the Government Response to the 2018 Consultation on Drones published earlier this year and these zones will come into effect from 13th March 2019. A useful interactive map of the UK has been created by NATS showing the protected aerodromes with the restriction zones superimposed. See https://dronesafe.uk/restrictions/ for further details.
CAP1763 states that ‘the flight restriction zone is active at all times and applies to all small unmanned aircraft of any mass (even very small ‘toys’)’. This was a surprising development which would in theory even extend to paper aeroplanes.
If you wish to fly an unmanned aircraft within these restriction zones, then permission will have to be obtained from air traffic control at the aerodrome. The CAA expect such permissions to be based on a ‘constructive dialogue between the modellers/model clubs and the relevant aerodrome’ and formalised in a letter of agreement/memorandum of understanding.
One slight benefit included in this ANO update is that the existing restriction on flying unmanned aircraft over 7kg below 400ft in controlled airspace has now been removed, as the new restrictions apply to all unmanned aircraft up to 20Kg and maintain the 400ft limit for all unmanned aircraft.
We are seeking clarification and answers to a number of questions we have posed to the DfT and CAA on behalf of our members. We hope to receive answers this week and will publish further updates and clarification in due course.
Please contact Rob Buckley at email@example.com if you need zany further advice/information/help.