Article 16 Authorisation & LMA Handbook

In January 2023, the Article 16 operating authorisation was revised to issue 5.1 to correct a typo. error with the expiry date, and can be read & downloaded here

The LMA Handbook 1 January 2023 issue can be downloaded here.

This issue includes new content on-

  • Flight testing over 25kg model aircraft over 400ft 
  • Carrying out slow passes of jet turbine powered and over 25kg model aircraft at reduced separation distances at a model flying display under an LMA permission 


Flying at a Display – Pilot Currency

It is now a requirement that before flying in a display, you are current in your practical flying competence, the requirement being-

Any model aircraft pilot operating a ‘large model aircraft’, or a jet turbine powered model aircraft of any mass, for the purpose of a ‘model aircraft flying display’, must be able to demonstrate sufficient currency of pilot competence, by having flown as a minimum, three complete display routines, within the preceding 90 days of the ‘model aircraft flying display’, one of which must have been flown within the preceding 30 days, on an aircraft which is reasonably representative of the aircraft to be flown within the display event.

Although the formal requirement only applies to remote pilots of over 25kg and /or gas turbine powered aircraft, it is reasonable to expect that everyone flying any model aircraft at a display has at least this level of currency.

As very few people have a fixed ‘display routine’ to practice, flights of similar length and similar type of flying as you would expect to do at the display will be sufficient. If you fly in a team, you don’t have to do your ‘currency’ flights with the team, but if flying a close formation or ‘synchronised’ display, you should be current in that type of flying.

You know how your ‘display’ aircraft fly and handle (e.g. fast and twitchy or slow and ponderous) so it is up to you to be able to justify if needed how the aircraft you carry out practice flights are ‘reasonably representative’. If you fly multiple aircraft in a display, you will need to be able to justify how you are current on each aircraft you fly.

At a display it is likely that you will need to self-declare you are current, but as there are no mandatory logbooks for flying model aircraft, it will be up to you to be able to prove if necessary (to the Judge if things go really badly) that you have actually met the minimum currency requirements. You could of course lie, and nobody would know, but it may not go quite as well in your defence.

The most important thing is to have flown outside on a real aeroplane, not a simulator.


Over 25kg Model Aircraft – Flight and Maintenance Recording

It is now a requirement of over 25kg authorisations and over 25kg flight test permits that the operator ensures- 

That records are kept of any substantive maintenance activities on the entire aircraft system.

That records of each flight made are maintained and make such records available to the Civil Aviation Authority on request as set out in point UAS.SPEC.090 of Regulation (EU) 2019/947 as retained in UK law.

Note that the ‘entire aircraft system’ now includes the transmitter as that is a reasonably important part of operating the aircraft.

The CAA have not specified what needs to be recorded and in what format, but CAP722 gives in Section B3.1.5 ‘Record keeping’ the requirements for operations in the Specific Category, the category under which all over 25kg model aircraft are operated

Flight activities for each UAS should be recorded by the UAS operator within a logbook.
The logbook may be generated in either electronic or paper formats.
• If the paper format is used, it should contain, in a single volume, all the pages needed to log the holder’s flight time. When one volume is completed, a new one will be started based on the cumulative data from the previous one.
Records should be stored for 2 years in a manner that ensures their protection from unauthorised access, damage, alteration, and theft.
The following information must be recorded:
• the identification of the UAS (manufacturer, model/variant, serial number);
• the date, time, and location of the take-off and landing;
• the duration of each flight;
• the total number of flight hours/cycles;
• the name of the remote pilot responsible for the flight;
• the activity performed;
• any significant incident or accident that occurred during the operation;
• a completed pre-flight inspection;
• any defects and rectifications;
• any repairs and changes to the UAS configuration

It is therefore not unreasonable to expect that this is the level of record keeping that will be needed to satisfy the requirement.

A template excel format logbook can be downloaded  here  to record the required information. The red shaded sections automatically complete.


GPS Data Loggers

It will soon be a requirement to have a GPS data logger fitted to every over 25kg model aircraft. You will have several options on how to log the data, either logged in the aircraft or sent back to the transmitter by telemetry for logging there.

Pete Lancaster will soon have for sale a very reasonably priced standalone onboard data logger that will need nothing more than receiver power to automatically log every flight to a micro SD card.

Most radio manufacturers now have GPS telemetry units for sale, so one of those could also be used.

If you fancy getting your hands slightly dirty, here are two examples of simple GPS units that just need a little bit of soldering. I’ve made both of these units myself, so can confirm that they work.

Standalone GPS Data Logger

RC Groups Description Here
This uses a BN-220 GPS unit with a GY-Openlog data logger. I also added a small voltage regulator (AMS1117-5.5V) to prevent any damage from a fully charged LiFe batery when the logger is plugged into a spare receiver port for power.

GPS Telemetry Unit

OpenX Sensor Description Here
This uses the same BN-220 GPS unit with a small Arduino loaded with he OpenX Sensor telemetry software. This allows the flight data to be seen and logged on the transmitter.

All the parts for both the units above can be found in the UK on Banggood, eBay or Amazon.

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