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Proposed new drone legislation/registration

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Steve J23/07/2017 18:47:16
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Posted by Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 22/07/2017 15:32:45:

all it really says is that at some unspecified date in the future the proposals laid out in NPA 2017-05 are likely to become part of UK law. I can't see there is anything in this that wasn't in the earlier EASA proposal.

Indeed. IMHO, the most important bits of the government response are paragraphs 3-5 of annex C and this bit from section 2.10 -

"Ensuring the Air Navigation Order 2016, which includes key clauses on how to fly drones in the UK, is updated to reflect the needs of the growing market and reflects incoming European drone regulations;"

Steve

Colin Bernard23/07/2017 18:54:53
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Just a thought - I wonder if a good way of differentiation for EASA is for the term 'drones' to apply just to FPV equipped models?

By definition a model without FPV has to be flown within the limitations of the standard eyeball so speaking personally I have trouble with average size models once they get more than 500' away in either distance or height, and even my large thermal soarers I can only comfortably fly to 800' or so.

I would have thought that only with FPV can you fly high enough to intercept an aircraft landing or taking off unless you are right on the perimeter or be able to guarantee getting good pictures of the local footy match etc?

i12fly23/07/2017 18:55:10
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A good point Peter anything we can add here could help those negotiating on our behalf.

Colin Bernard23/07/2017 19:14:15
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I started my reply several hours ago then held from finishing it - I should have re-read the thread before completing it as I see I am just repeating others thoughts. Proves great minds I guess!

ChrisB23/07/2017 19:37:53
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I've had a scan through some of the AIRPROX reports for the last 2 years and most of the relevant ones to us are reported as drones, many say quadcopter X shaped drone with 4 rotas. Therefore pilots are reporting airprox with what we would term drones and not model aircraft. In the monthly newsletters that the UKAPB produce, they even refer to drones and model aircraft, although they don't give a definition.

The whole aim of these reg's is to avoid collisions, therefore the reports by pilots and findings of the Airprox Board are key and should be factored into any legislation. You'd hope...at least.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator23/07/2017 22:09:26
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Posted by Colin Bernard on 23/07/2017 18:54:53:

Just a thought - I wonder if a good way of differentiation for EASA is for the term 'drones' to apply just to FPV equipped models?

By definition a model without FPV has to be flown within the limitations of the standard eyeball so speaking personally I have trouble with average size models once they get more than 500' away in either distance or height, and even my large thermal soarers I can only comfortably fly to 800' or so.

I would have thought that only with FPV can you fly high enough to intercept an aircraft landing or taking off unless you are right on the perimeter or be able to guarantee getting good pictures of the local footy match etc?

Unfortunately not quite correct Colin. You see aircraft equiped with a flight controller can simply follow a pre-programmed path - beyond LOS but without FPV. So the presence of FPV capability is not a distinguishing factor.

We should also note that (in the absence of special permission from CAA) flying beyond LOS is already illegal in the UK - and most other countries. So really that basis for distinction is really rather less than useful as drones can't really fly beyond LOS anyway!

If we follow Peter's suggestion that the "capability" to fly beyond LOS (even if we don't) is enough to distinguish a drone then I think we also have a problem. Do we really want to freeze ourselves in time by cutting ourselves off from the possibility of using the new generations of flight controllers in our models? Look at the capability of systems such as the Eagletree Vector - I have used these in otherwise conventional FW RC aircraft to some advantage - esp0ecially in very difficult to fly prototypes.

BEB

Rich too24/07/2017 06:52:34
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Unfortunately not quite correct Colin. You see aircraft equiped with a flight controller can simply follow a pre-programmed path - beyond LOS but without FPV. So the presence of FPV capability is not a distinguishing factor.

We should also note that (in the absence of special permission from CAA) flying beyond LOS is already illegal in the UK - and most other countries. So really that basis for distinction is really rather less than useful as drones can't really fly beyond LOS anyway!

If we follow Peter's suggestion that the "capability" to fly beyond LOS (even if we don't) is enough to distinguish a drone then I think we also have a problem. Do we really want to freeze ourselves in time by cutting ourselves off from the possibility of using the new generations of flight controllers in our models? Look at the capability of systems such as the Eagletree Vector - I have used these in otherwise conventional FW RC aircraft to some advantage - esp0ecially in very difficult to fly prototypes.

BEB

You are unnecessarily complicating things, the Eagle Tree is a flight controller (designed with FPV (drones) in mind). You want to go that route, fine, but the legislation does not have to drag the rest of us with it. Models without ground to air communication should be left out of the proposed legislation.

Modellers will know the answer to the basic question, do you own/operate a drone? I most definitely do not. Simple.

 

Edited By Rich2 on 24/07/2017 06:59:22

Edited By Rich2 on 24/07/2017 07:01:06

Rich too24/07/2017 08:28:23
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Department of transport consultation:

Unlocking the UK's High Tech Economy: Consultation on the Safe Use of drones in the UK

Unlike aeroplanes or helicopters, drones can be flown close to trees and wreckage without disturbing them with rotor downwash to obtain close-up images that would have been difficult to obtain by other means, such as the tops of broken trees and wreckage below a cliff in poor weather. A drone can operate in low visibility and low cloud conditions and improve the safety provision for the onsite investigation team. The picture above shows a drone being used to locate wreckage and to supervise HM Coastguard personnel descending on ropes to recover it.

ChrisB24/07/2017 08:35:40
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I agree with Rich2

I fly in a club of 90 members. Most are over 50 if not 60 and all but a handful fly what we would all term model aircraft. Things like the complete Chris Foss range of WOT's, the range of the well known Flair models, several Tony Nijhuis models, Slec models and a wide range of Ben Buckle models, gliders and many similar type club models.

If I asked all of those people do you fly a drone or do you fly a model aircraft? they would say model aircraft. They would not and quite rightly do not consider themselves as drone flyers, as a drone, to them, quite reasonably, is a quadcopter or similar multi-rota aircraft designed specifically for carrying a camera and may also have FPV, GPS, RTH functions that a Super 96 doesn't, because we don't want it to.

Many of you will say ..."No no, the rules say"....and yes, technically they do, BUT the proposed new DFT and EASA also differentiate between model aircraft and drones. They both refer to model flying clubs, lone flyers and good safety records, they also refer to the BMFA. Furthermore the UK Airprox Board...perhaps the most important of all, also differentiate between drones and model aircraft and associated sites and clubs.

When I contacted EASA in the first round of consultation I got a response from them agreeing that model aircraft and drones are different and that their operation is different BUT the issue is that they cannot find a suitable definition that will clearly separate one from the other without introducing loopholes.

Below is the response received from EASA in September last year. As above, they clearly know that drones are not model aircraft. I had suggested a definition based around a multirota with FPV, GPS etc etc. Not perfect but better than not suggesting anything at all.

We had and are having a big debate on model inclusion in this regulation and how to differentiate between a model and a normal drone operator flying for leisure. The problem of definition rely on the operation since we cannot prevent to a " non-fixed wing aircraft, propelled/powered by more than two rotors and/or an aircraft fitted with GPS, return to home, waypoint navigation or first person view.” to associate to model club and follow their rule. But on the other side we cannot say that all people that operates UAS for leisure are considered model since they can just buy an aircraft and fly without knowledge.Model aircraft will be regulated by article 15 of the prototype rule. This article requires, within 3 years from the entry into force of the regulation, to the national aviation authority to issue an operational authorisation identifying all deviation from this rule. This gives maximum flexibility.
Peter Christy24/07/2017 08:39:34
846 forum posts

BEB: I don't think my proposals would cut us off from future development. It would simply mean that anyone wishing to go down that route would need to register. Admittedly that might be a bit of a disincentive, but it would save "conventional" modellers from being forced to register, or otherwise restricted.

Under the present proposals, we are all facing restrictions on our activities, when the only ones causing problems are those flying "drones" irresponsibly.

If we don't find a method of distinguishing, we will all suffer.

My only concern is that my proposed method of distinguishing would prove too simple for the bureaucrats, who love their reams of meaningless paperwork......!

--

Pete

Brian Cooper24/07/2017 08:50:55
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Nobody has any problems identifying a fixed wing aeroplane as a fixed wing aeroplane. . Nobody has any problems identifying a helicopter as a helicopter. . And everyone knows what a "motors-on-the-ends-of-sticks-drone" looks like. thinking

To keep it simple -- and to separate model aircraft from drones -- regardless of whether a camera is fitted or not, a model aeroplane will glide if it has no power. A helicopter will also glide without power. . But drones requires thrust from several motors to remain airborne. Without power, they will plummet.

Far be it from me to uncomplicate the work of the authorities for them but.... If it can glide without power and be controlled to a landing, it is a model aircraft. . If it cannot glide and be controlled without power, it is a drone.

B.C.

ChrisB24/07/2017 09:06:28
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Posted by Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 23/07/2017 22:09:26:
Posted by Colin Bernard on 23/07/2017 18:54:53:

Just a thought - I wonder if a good way of differentiation for EASA is for the term 'drones' to apply just to FPV equipped models?

By definition a model without FPV has to be flown within the limitations of the standard eyeball so speaking personally I have trouble with average size models once they get more than 500' away in either distance or height, and even my large thermal soarers I can only comfortably fly to 800' or so.

I would have thought that only with FPV can you fly high enough to intercept an aircraft landing or taking off unless you are right on the perimeter or be able to guarantee getting good pictures of the local footy match etc?

Unfortunately not quite correct Colin. You see aircraft equiped with a flight controller can simply follow a pre-programmed path - beyond LOS but without FPV. So the presence of FPV capability is not a distinguishing factor.

We should also note that (in the absence of special permission from CAA) flying beyond LOS is already illegal in the UK - and most other countries. So really that basis for distinction is really rather less than useful as drones can't really fly beyond LOS anyway!

If we follow Peter's suggestion that the "capability" to fly beyond LOS (even if we don't) is enough to distinguish a drone then I think we also have a problem. Do we really want to freeze ourselves in time by cutting ourselves off from the possibility of using the new generations of flight controllers in our models? Look at the capability of systems such as the Eagletree Vector - I have used these in otherwise conventional FW RC aircraft to some advantage - especially in very difficult to fly prototypes.

BEB

Yes BEB we do want to cut ourselves off from new generations of flight controllers. I want to be able to stand in a field staring at a model in the sky which I am controlling via radio link by moving two sticks in a box with an aerial and flicking the odd switch here and there. I don't want to use a visual screen, voice control, mind control, I-Phone, laptop or anything else. I want to control the aircraft, make mistakes, do odd looking aerobatics and generally fly the aircraft in all weathers and if a scale model, I want to fly it as realistically as possible myself, that's the whole point. We make mistakes we crash our models, we put them back together and try again, its all part of the hobby. If it was faultless with flight stabilisation etc then the fun would be taken out of it.

If some people want to fly mechano sets with cameras then that's fine but they are not model aircraft and nor should they be.

Edited By ChrisB on 24/07/2017 09:09:39

Brian Cooper24/07/2017 09:11:43
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Here, here, Chris. yes

B.C.

 

Edited By Brian Cooper on 24/07/2017 09:12:13

Rich too24/07/2017 09:27:52
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yes agree with all of the above. All the legislation has to say is that once you start adding certain equipment the aircraft becomes, and will be classed as, a drone - don't use the equipment, no need to register as a drone. traditional aircraft are not drones. simple

Edited By Rich2 on 24/07/2017 09:29:03

Mark a24/07/2017 09:38:03
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As Chris said.thumbs up

KELL24/07/2017 10:15:40
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I think Brian Coopers idea of the difference between a drone or not was spot on, unfortunately putting it into a paragraph is far too simple for the bureaucrates of this country. I'm sure a 3 thousand page report taking many months to compile will be more to their likeing. Oh and if they can charge us money to register models etc then that will please them even more.

Peter Christy24/07/2017 10:34:29
846 forum posts

Unfortunately there are already fixed-wing "drones" on sale - not least from HobbyKing - so simply specifying a multi-rotor doesn't quite cut it.

That's why I was careful to specify the ability to operate outside LOS as the criteria.

--

Pete

Stumps24/07/2017 10:46:32
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Thank you Chris ~ my sentiments exactlyyes

The Wright Stuff24/07/2017 10:52:06
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Posted by Brian Cooper on 24/07/2017 08:50:55:

Nobody has any problems identifying a fixed wing aeroplane as a fixed wing aeroplane. . Nobody has any problems identifying a helicopter as a helicopter. . And everyone knows what a "motors-on-the-ends-of-sticks-drone" looks like. thinking

To keep it simple -- and to separate model aircraft from drones -- regardless of whether a camera is fitted or not, a model aeroplane will glide if it has no power. A helicopter will also glide without power. . But drones requires thrust from several motors to remain airborne. Without power, they will plummet.

Far be it from me to uncomplicate the work of the authorities for them but.... If it can glide without power and be controlled to a landing, it is a model aircraft. . If it cannot glide and be controlled without power, it is a drone.

B.C.

I don't think you could have a robust enough definition of 'plummet' for this to work literally, but you may be onto something with respect to control. A fixed wing model could be defined by the primary directional control being movement of control surfaces, as opposed to differential thrust. Not sure where this leaves helicopters, however.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator24/07/2017 10:57:37
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Oh dear - Luddism is clearly alive and well in some corners of the UK aeromodelling scene!

It seems to me that as a hobby we are extraordinarily good at excluding people and new ideas. I can remember;

"Electric power is not 'real' aeromodelling"

"ARTF's are not 'real' aeromodelling"

Etc., etc.,.....

For a technology based hobby it looks like some folks are surprisingly and frighteningly anti new ideas!

It's very sad in my my view that we can't come at things from the "how could we build this in and grow" angle, rather than the "how can we exclude this" approach that seems to be the default reaction of so many.

No doubt you will all shout at me now - true to form - pass the pitch fork and flaming torch! smile

BEB

PS Although promoted with FPV uses, unlike many having actually used the Eagletree Vector, I can tell you it has many uses beyond FPV. Most flights I've had with it are not FPV flights.

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