UK DfT Response to Drones Consultation

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.

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