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Proposed new drone legislation/registration

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Colin Leighfield09/02/2018 15:57:15
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A long time ago I saw a cutting from a newspaper dated 1909, showing model aircraft being flown in Sutton Park.it’s been going on there ever since, so that’s well over a century and there must have been several sites around the country where the same thing was happening, the flying bug bit very early.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator09/02/2018 16:06:56
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Posted by Cuban8 on 09/02/2018 15:46:31:

So are we saying that UK clubs will be able to rely on 'grandfather rights' on the 120M figure, granted to them by our authorities?

Sort of!

Assuming this works the way this sort of thing works now with CAA - and that's an assumption because we have no actual legislation yet, just EASA's technical guidance to the legislators - then what might happen is:

1. the rules say you can't fly over 120m

2. But the ANO also says that (with a few exceptions) every rule is "negotiable" and exemptions can be granted on a case by case basis.

3. You would apply for such an exemption to the 120m rule. Your application would need to be backed up with a safety case explaining why it was safe and OK to do this in your case. Part of that case could well be the fact you have flown at these altitudes at that location for XX years without any accidents or issues. So that's where the "history" comes in. It would only be part of the case though.

So, that is the sort of thing I would envisage - based on adaptation of current practice. As an example the whole of the current position in allowing FPV flying in the UK is based on just such an exemption.

BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 09/02/2018 16:07:59

john stones 109/02/2018 16:22:09
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Been resigned to some change for a while, hope it's workable for those outside the clubs, hopefully that'll be the case.

Erfolg09/02/2018 16:35:48
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I would not bet on obtaining "grandfather rights".

I expect that all will see value in a uniform implementation of the 120m height restriction. Only very rarely granting an exemption for a limited period.

ChrisB09/02/2018 16:38:41
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It’s interesting that on the one hand the EASA make just make the statement that model flying has a good safety record but on the other hand limit the height to 400 feet due to safety concerns. I conclude that their concern is not actually model aircraft as we have traditionally know them but the new breed of drone flyers, namely the rogues who fly where and when they shouldn’t. I think the Acknowledgement that model flying has a good safety record and the recognition of that by the CAA will stand us all in good stead when it comes to any altitude increases. As has been said elsewhere many clubs fly within traffic zones with the full agreement and acceptance of the local ATC, so it’s not a new thing.

Fear not colleagues, we will live to fly another day.

Piers Bowlan09/02/2018 17:10:15
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If you take a look at current Topographical Air Charts which are generally concerned with lower airspace and VFR traffic, you will see symbols indicating (full sized) gliding and parachuting activities for example. Study of the promulgated NOTAMS will give details of geographical limits, affected altitudes and days of/hours of, operation etc. If the CAA grant exceptions to the 120m rule for model aircraft you can be pretty sure that affected areas will be documented to warn other airmen of the presence of model aircraft. Additionally, it would not be unreasonable for the CAA to require models flying above 120m to carry telemetry so that the pilot in command (PIC) is aware of his height.

Edited By Piers Bowlan on 09/02/2018 17:11:28

Steve J09/02/2018 17:42:02
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Posted by Piers Bowlan on 09/02/2018 17:10:15:

If the CAA grant exceptions to the 120m rule for model aircraft you can be pretty sure that affected areas will be documented to warn other airmen of the presence of model aircraft.

According to a report on the SAA website, putting model clubs on the charts was discussed at the annual CAA/model associations meeting at the end of November.

Steve

Gary Manuel09/02/2018 17:52:24
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I bet one or two rules were broken to allow this:

Edit - oops - I meant to start a new thread.

Edited By Gary Manuel on 09/02/2018 17:58:25

Steve J09/02/2018 17:52:43
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Posted by Erfolg on 09/02/2018 16:35:48:

I would not bet on obtaining "grandfather rights".

Not granting such rights would go against the legislation that is currently working its way through the EU system.

"Model aircraft are considered as unmanned aircraft within the meaning of this Regulation and are used primarily for leisure activities. The delegated and implementing acts adopted on the basis of Regulation and concerning unmanned aircraft should take into account that such model aircraft have so far had a good safety record, especially those operated by members of model aircraft associations or clubs which developed specific codes of conduct for such activities. In addition, when adopting those delegated and implementing acts, the Commission should take account of the need for a seamless transition from the different national systems to the new Union regulatory framework so that model aircraft can continue to operate as they do today, also by taking into account existing best practices in the Member States."

Steve

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator09/02/2018 18:18:21
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Posted by Erfolg on 09/02/2018 16:35:48:

I expect that all will see value in a uniform implementation of the 120m height restriction. Only very rarely granting an exemption for a limited period.

I think that is unnecessarily pessimistic Erf. If the current pattern continues my experience is that CAA take a very open minded view of applications for exemption. True, many are only for a fix limited period, but to be fair they only need to be! So if you need permission to overfly a gathering of people at an event for example well you only need the permission for the duration of the event don't you? It wouldn't make sense to make such a permission long term or semi-permanent.

In contrast the FPV permission does need to be long term - and is. No,so far the CAA examine each case on merit in my experience - its the quality of your safety case which is deciding factor for them - not some political will to have everyone the same - because they know we are not all the same!

BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 09/02/2018 18:18:59

Erfolg09/02/2018 18:29:25
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I thought the current position with safety cases with respect to the BMFA, do not produce one unless required to. I think this is on the basis that clubs operate in accordance with legal requirements and the CAA regulations. Also a poorly developed Safety Case could in itself be the basis of causing issues. Then there is the position of those who use a site infrequently, ie slope soaring, would a case be required for every specific site?

If safety cases become the norm, I expect that the BMFA will develop a Generic Safty Case. Perhaps tweaked to suit specific locations if necessary.

I do hope you are correct, in your view. Although I cannot expect that the CAA would want to address +300 applications from just the NW area.

TBH, at present I am relaxed, in that we still have not seen the specific draft document, I hope that it does contain wriggle room and the CAA are willing to let sleeping dogs lie, unless compelled to do something that we find uncomfortable.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator09/02/2018 19:43:38
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I didn't suggest safety cases would "become the norm" Erf - I was merely sayig that your statement that they would be "very rare" was over pessimistic in my view. But, only time will tell. Personally I think that for the majority of club pilots life will continue with only relatively minor accommodations being needed, for which, much thanks. Club committees are likely to have some extra work though!

BEB

john stones 109/02/2018 21:25:25
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Ah club committees having extra work to do (blame for being little Hitlers)...that'll be fun. face 1

Geoff Jackson09/02/2018 21:38:24
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Having recently attended a local airport's drone safety awareness seminar with ATC and safety managers from UKs 2nd largest airport it was disappointing how few drone fliers, both recreational and commercial understood or new about insurance. Additionally one guy thought the local council were responsible for all flying in their area ( approach to uks 2nd largest airport).

It was good to note that Nats are on "our side" and also embrace drone technology, indeed using drone runway inspection between 2 minute departure arrivals!. I trained with Nats during the late 60s and early 70s and have huge respect for their vision of safety and , I believe, their respect for our hobby.

Peter Jenkins09/02/2018 23:36:50
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Having read the EASA Draft Commission Recommendation, I am slightly confused by the insistence in some of the posts above that there is a 120 mtr height limit for model aircraft operation. It seems to me that the 120 mtr height limit applies to the Open Category as described in Article 4. Article 6 covers model aircraft and states:

For UAS operations conducted in the framework of model clubs or associations, the following apply:

1. the competent authority may issue an operational authorisation, in accordance with UAS.SPEC.040, to a model club or association without further demonstration of compliance, on the basis of the model club’s or association’s established procedures, organisational structure, and management system;

2. operational authorisations granted under this Article shall include the conditions and limitations of, as well as the deviations from, the requirements of the Annex (Part-UAS) to this Regulation;

3. this authorisation shall be limited to the territory of the Member State where the authorisation was issued.

The wording in Para 1 seems to imply that we can, subject to the approval of the CAA, continue to operate with our established procedures. That would indicate that the current ruling of no height limit for models below 7 Kg.

Have I misread the EASA document?

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator10/02/2018 00:27:01
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No Peter I don't think you have misread it, but it's not inconsistent with the 120m rule.
Where it refers to "deviations from the regulations" these are what in CAA-Speak we would call exemptions, as I refer to above.
In other words, there will be a set of default regs, including a 120m limit, that you can ask for am exemption (deviation) from.
The detail isn't fully clear yet because this is not legislation, it's a Technical Opinion. In other words this is the technical advice on which any subsequent legislation would be based. First it will become European law, then it will be upto each country to draft their local law that will implement this. So two levels of unknown there; how will this look as Euro law, how will it turn out as UK law? My guess is the UK version will simply be an extension of what we have now, same basic method: a section of the ANO (bigger than at present) encompassing the basic regulations under the specific and open categories. And then the provision for exemptions which implements the ideas of what EASA calls "deviations" in a manner CAA are used to dealing with. Factor in the thought that EASA suggest this could be could by delegated authority ie CAA delegate to BMFA, and you can begin to see how this might work.
But of course that's just a guess!
BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 10/02/2018 00:28:57

ChrisB10/02/2018 08:18:52
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Posted by Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 10/02/2018 00:27:01:
No Peter I don't think you have misread it, but it's not inconsistent with the 120m rule.
Where it refers to "deviations from the regulations" these are what in CAA-Speak we would call exemptions, as I refer to above.
In other words, there will be a set of default regs, including a 120m limit, that you can ask for am exemption (deviation) from.
The detail isn't fully clear yet because this is not legislation, it's a Technical Opinion. In other words this is the technical advice on which any subsequent legislation would be based. First it will become European law, then it will be upto each country to draft their local law that will implement this. So two levels of unknown there; how will this look as Euro law, how will it turn out as UK law? My guess is the UK version will simply be an extension of what we have now, same basic method: a section of the ANO (bigger than at present) encompassing the basic regulations under the specific and open categories. And then the provision for exemptions which implements the ideas of what EASA calls "deviations" in a manner CAA are used to dealing with. Factor in the thought that EASA suggest this could be could by delegated authority ie CAA delegate to BMFA, and you can begin to see how this might work.
But of course that's just a guess!
BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 10/02/2018 00:28:57

I agree. There are already well established practices such as the over 20kg and the individual exceptions to clubs within Aerodrome traffic zones, of which there are many.

In the same way the CAA delegate the over 20kg scheme to the LMA, they could reasonably delegate the over 400ft limit to the BMFA. It may be that not all of the 800 or so clubs want an increase, many will of course.

Cuban810/02/2018 10:10:41
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Thank heavens we have people with the faculty to read through and make sense of what to most (well me anyway) is about as inspiring as reading one's lengthy credit card Ts & Cs. Thank you, gentlemenyes

Martin Harris10/02/2018 12:13:45
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Posted by Peter Jenkins on 09/02/2018 23:36:50:

The wording in Para 1 seems to imply that we can, subject to the approval of the CAA, continue to operate with our established procedures. That would indicate that the current ruling of no height limit for models below 7 Kg.

Have I misread the EASA document?

I'm not sure that there's any misreading but there may be specific cases where this won't apply.

My understanding of current legislation is that there is no height or other control anywhere pertaining to sub-7kg models other than that implicit in not endangering other aircraft, but I suspect that the best case scenario will affect clubs operating well away from normal traffic patterns, but in controlled airspace, where smaller models (<7kg) may have been operated legally for many years.

While 120m AGL is adequate for the average "club" model and from observation, most flying tends to be carried out within it, this may be something for clubs operating in controlled airspace to be made aware of as even a small model can be easily controlled at heights considerably in excess of 120m.

David Mellor10/02/2018 13:08:33
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I have a question about the meaning of 120m AGL in practical, real-world terms.

I slope soar from the side (not the peak) of a steep fell in the Lakes. I soar out towards a road which is two to three hundred meters down-dip but around 100 metres lower than launch GL.

In level flight (down-dip direction) the glider will be gaining AGL altitude at a rate as high as 1 metre per second.

But down-dip soaring (into wind in other words) from a slope is the standard method to gain altitude. So if I gain an absolute altitude from launch of, say 100 metres, the glider could easily be 200 m AGL or more over the road.

So the question is this:-

What is the lateral range (or scope if you prefer) of an altitude limit of 120 m AGL with respect to terrain gradients and line-of-site control distances for model aircraft (slope soaring) control?

Supplementary: clearly the concept of an AGL limit isn't an issue on flat-field sites. Slope soaring (the clue is in the name) sites are not flat.

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