The Government has today published their consultation ‘Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK’. The measures in the consultation are part of the Governments wider drones programme and strategy, and will help shape the content of a draft Drones Bill which will be published later this year, as well as other future measures.
The measures under consultation include:
- Proposals for regulating and mandating the use of ‘apps’ on which pilots would file flight plans ahead of take-off
- Additional powers for the police to enforce the law
- Using new counter-drone technology to protect public events and critical national infrastructure, and stop contraband reaching prisons
- Introducing minimum age restrictions for drone owners in addition to the new tests they will need to take
- Whether the 1km restriction around aerodromes, introduced as an amendment to the Air Navigation Order in May this year, is sufficient.
The Draft Drone Bill is clearly aimed at ‘Drones’ but inevitably encompasses all unmanned aircraft. There is a dedicated section relating to model flying which refers to the ongoing negotiations between the DfT/CAA and the BMFA, SAA, LMA & FPVUK.
You can find a link to the consultation here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/drone-legislation-use-restrictions-and-enforcement and it will run until 17 September 2018.
This will provide all those ‘keyboard warriors’ within the membership an opportunity to channel their efforts in a useful direction, but we would strongly encourage all members to participate in this consultation.
Update on changes to UK Regulations (and the 400ft height limit)
The latest meeting between the Department for Transport (DfT), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and representatives from the UK Model Flying Associations took place this afternoon (Friday 15th June) 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 primarily 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 (operator registration and online testing for pilots) remain ongoing, but for now it is business as usual for members of the BMFA, LMA, SAA & FPVUK. Happy flying!
Update on changes to UK Regulations (and the 400ft height limit) – CAA Permission & Exemption published
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 and are limited to members of the BMFA, SAA, LMA and FPVUK. 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 their members.