The recent 2018 amendments to the Air Navigation Order will come into effect on the 30th July, making it illegal to operate any unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) above 400ft.
The UK model flying associations (BMFA, SAA, LMA & FPVUK) have been working in close collaboration in ongoing negotiations with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and we are pleased to report that earlier today the CAA issued us with a joint ‘Permission’ to allow our members to continue operating ‘conventional’ model aircraft (excluding multi-rotors) weighing less than 7Kg at heights in excess of 400ft. The full text of this Permission can be viewed HERE.
The CAA has also issued an ‘Exemption’ to allow our members to operate ‘conventional’ model aircraft (excluding multi-rotors) weighing less than 3.5Kg at heights up to 1000ft using First Person View. The full text of this Exemption can be viewed HERE.
Note that any model aircraft flying within 1km of the boundary of a licensed airfield at any height will have to be with the permission of the airfield air traffic control or airfield operator.
The Permission & Exemption will come into effect on the 30th July, but please note that they apply only to ‘conventional’ model aircraft (including helicopters) and do not exempt multirotor drones or unmanned aircraft with autonomous flight capability from the 400ft height limit.
It was only possible to achieve this result due to the recognition given by the DfT and CAA to the excellent safety record established by the model flying associations and our members over many years and we are grateful for their help and support in achieving such a positive outcome.
Today’s announcement is a great result for the UK model flying community and is the culmination of very significant collaborative efforts by the UK Model Flying Associations working together on behalf of our members.
The latest meeting between the Department for Transport (DfT), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and representatives from the UK Model Flying Associations took place yesterday afternoon at the DfT offices in London.
The most urgent matter to address was the recent change to the Air Navigation Order (ANO) which introduced (in Article 94A) a 400ft height limit on the operation of all Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) which will come into effect on the 30th July 2018. Whilst the changes to the ANO are largely aimed at regulating ‘drones’, the 400ft restriction will also apply to model aircraft below 7Kg.
However, we are pleased to report that agreement was reached that the Model Flying Associations will collectively apply for an exemption from Article 94A to allow their members to continue operating model aircraft below 7Kg above 400ft as they do under the current ANO. The DfT and CAA were supportive of this course of action and did not foresee any reason why the exemption would not be in place in time for the 30th July.
Negotiations on the other changes introduced in the ANO, namely operator registration and online testing of pilots remain ongoing, but for now it is business as usual for members of the BMFA, LMA, SAA & FPVUK. Happy flying!
An update to the current status of the UK Model Flying Associations’ work with the UK Government on Drone regulation.
The Government have today announced proposed changes to the Air Navigation Order (ANO) to impose increased regulations on drone pilots.
The proposed changes are as follows:
– Operators of drones above 250g to be registered (effective from 30th Nov 2019). It is hoped that membership of one of the UK Model Flying Associations will satisfy this requirement.
– Drone operators will be required to take an on online safety test to verify their knowledge of the regulations (effective from 30th Nov 2019)
– A height limit of 400ft for all drone flights (effective from 30th July 2018). The 400ft height limit has been recommended by the CAA for some time in their Drone Code, but this was a recommendation rather than a legal requirement for drones below 7Kg. The revision to the ANO will now make this a legal requirement.
– A restriction from flying drones within 1km of protected aerodromes in the UK, unless with the permission of the Air Traffic Control unit in question (effective from 30th July 2018).
The UK Model Flying Associations have been working together in close liaison to protect the rights of the model flying community who have established an excellent safety record over the last century of operations.
In answer to a recent Parliamentary Question tabled by the UK Model Flying Associations, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport said-
“The Government recognises the long-standing safety culture adopted by model flying associations. We are working with the Civil Aviation Authority and model aircraft flying associations to explore ways in which we can reduce any unnecessary impacts of drone regulations on their activities.
We will be taking this approach to the draft Drone Bill, too. The draft Drone Bill will be accompanied by a public consultation which will cover the impact of the proposed Bill on all affected groups, including model aircraft flyers. The feedback from this consultation will be used to refine the Drone Bill before its introduction.”
Representatives of the BMFA, FPVUK & the LMA recently met with the DfT and CAA to start defining the details of how model flyers will be able to operate under the new requirements with minimal impact to their existing safe activities. Discussions are ongoing, but all parties are seeking to ensure that a pragmatic solution to meet the needs of all stakeholders will be in place to support the requirements coming into force.
The full DfT statement can be seen here-
Don’t forget that if you haven’t renewed yet you LMA insurance will expire at midnight tonight.
To renew online, just go to the member’s area under ‘Membership’ above.
Any problems let us know, and have a happy new year.
The Department for Transport today published their response to the consultation that was held earlier in the year on the use of drones.
What is disappointing is the level of response. Of the 678 responses the DfT received, only 213 were from model flyers, which is somewhere in the region of 0.6% of the model flyers in this country who are the member of a model flying association.
What is positive is that the DfT recognise the long and safe history of organised model flying (and for ‘club’ read ‘association’)-
‘The Government will work with model aircraft flying clubs to examine ways in which it may be possible to exempt members of model aircraft flying clubs with adequate safety cultures and practices from certain elements of registration and other educational requirements, or where their club will be permitted to undertake regulatory requirements on their behalf. Flyers of model aircraft who are not members of a club, or are members of a club not deemed to have adequate standards will, however, not be excluded from registration or other requirements.’
While there is also a stated desire to amend the Air Navigation Order 2016 to ‘ban all drones of 7kg or less in weight flying above 400ft or 122m’, the flying of model aircraft as today over 400ft should be part of a UK Operational Authorisation that will be negotiated with the CAA when the EASA requirements come into force.
While this response is a statement of intent, rather than final policy, the LMA will, in conjunction with the other UK model flying associations, continue to work with the DfT & the CAA to make sure that model flying is not negatively impacted by the government’s understandable desire to not have a very nasty accident caused by inappropriate use of Drones.