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Member postings for Nigel Heather

Here is a list of all the postings Nigel Heather has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: CAA ID number discussion
20/02/2020 10:16:18
Posted by John Privett on 17/02/2020 21:01:18:

OK, I now realise what (I believe) is happening.

Being an IT person, I erroneously assumed the CAA would just be doing a bulk upload into their registration system of the data from the BMFA.

They'd then issue the operator ids by email - which would have been quick and - having got the validation errors sorted out at the beginning of the month would have meant we'd all get our emails at about the same time.

I also work in IT - here is my speculation based on many years of experience.

The CAA have awarded the contract to a private company (I might be wrong but I think it might be Atos) for an extortionate price.

The CAA calculated how much we would have to pay to cover that extortionate price but have now significantly reduced that amount so the taxpayer will be making up the difference.

Then the CAA made agreements with organisations like the BMFA to do bulk uploads. They went to the contractor to arrange this who rubbed their hands because it is a really simple thing but said "ah ha, change request, it is really complicated and will cost you £1 million and will take 9 months to implement".

So the CAA have had to go with the alternative. They print off the BMFA upload file and get a small army of staff to manually type them into the system, complete with transposition and spelling mistakes.

And that is why it is taking so long and why they are coming out in dribs and drabs.

CAVEAT - I don't know this for fact, I am just speculating based on many years experience in the industry.



Thread: BMFA Membership Card
20/02/2020 09:06:12
Posted by Neil Hobbs on 19/02/2020 19:05:10:

I joined the BMFA for insurance for my drone but decided I would have a go at fixed wing flying. I think I can fly as good as most but because I have no A certificate I had a load of hassle.
And now I am really peed off about this £3.50 membership card. If I do not attain my A certificate this year I will not be renewing my BMFA membership next year. I have found a cheaper insurer and will go with them and will fly at a non BMFA affiliated club.

Card aside, what hassle have you been having with BMFA clubs.

I've been a member for about 35 years although there have been periods of non-flying during that time.

I don't have a 'A' Certificate either - nothing against it, simply that none of the clubs I have been a member of have required it. The only time it has been an inconvenience is having to waste a few minutes doing the idiot test so I'll probably get round to finally doing it this year.

As for membership card, again I have never been asked to present it, so the piece of card in my wallet has always been sufficient.

Now I have recently enquired at two clubs that have a rule that you can't fly solo without an 'A' Certificate, maybe that is what you encountered. I haven't joined those, but I guess if those are the rules then they have plenty of guidance and help on tap and examiners galore to help you comply.

The card - because I have never had to use mine in 35 years my initial thought was not to bother. I do like the idea of a plastic card but really, does it matter if it will never get used. I know it is only £3.50 but once I had put the £38 membership and the £9 registration in the basket and then the card pushed it over the £50 mark I did wince a bit. The thing that pushed it into the shopping basket was promotional material that showed Amazon as one of the participating retailers (I use them a lot so that seemed a no brainer).

If Amazon really is included then I will be renewing next year and the next and so on. If not it will depend on whether I get any use out of the card, if not, even though it is only £3.50, I probably wouldn't bother again.



Thread: The Gov't, CAA, BMFA & UAV legislation thread
19/02/2020 17:22:01
Posted by Martin Harris on 19/02/2020 16:56:55:
Posted by Nigel Heather on 19/02/2020 15:40:57:

He is most likely flying FPV. I know that the regs don't like FPV and seems to think that a spotter with line of sight is more effective but I'm not convinced. I don't fly FPV but I have watched guys at the club field flying fast small quads and I struggled to track them. But I have also worn a pair of slaved goggles while they are flying and it was totally different - I knew exactly where the quad was at all times - much more so than when I was trying to follow it line of sight.

OK - looks like my post has backfired a little and we don't all have full understanding of the regulations - although as a non-FPV pilot, I'm sure Nigel's lack of knowledge of the FPV laws isn't indicative of any shortfall in his general understanding of normal model flying regulations.

Nigel, the law requires FPV pilots to have a competent observer monitoring the flight path visually at all times and to be in direct communication with the pilot. FPV models over 3.5 kg must be flown on a buddy lead with the competent observer able to take over if he feels that the model is becoming difficult to monitor safely.

Edited By Martin Harris on 19/02/2020 16:58:05

Wow not only was that pretty snide but pretty wrong. I think if you have bothered to read my response properly it would have been clear that I am aware that a line of sight spotter is needed at all times.

What I was saying is if you have ever tried to follow a 250mm freestyle quad flying at 80mph, close to the ground and  turning very fast when there are two other freestyle quads in the air at the same time doing the same thing you will know how bloody difficult it is.  I’d go as far to say that in that situation, my effectiveness as a line of sight spotter at all time was pretty low.


And no way was I saying that he was flying legally, just that in the situation there was nothing particularly dangerous.

Just like I warrant that some people on this forum exceed the speed limit (which is illegal) but feel that they are doung it safely (and probably are).


Edited By Nigel Heather on 19/02/2020 17:26:55

Edited By Nigel Heather on 19/02/2020 17:39:33

19/02/2020 15:40:57
Posted by Martin Harris on 19/02/2020 15:00:16:
Posted by J D 8 on 19/02/2020 13:53:41:

Do not see any problem with that video except perhaps the craft may have been out of sight behind a tree for a mo for any one following direct.

Flying at low level over his own land/lakesad not over or near the road no problem.

That's precisely the point - there were several hedges between the drone and the presumed operator's position. At 3 feet AGL I don't think anyone except Steve Austin with his bionic eye would have been able to monitor the flight sufficiently to avoid a collision with someone or something on the ground - what if the video feed had failed while the drone was flying towards the road - and ground conditions were certainly not favourable for GHz frequency performance.

He is most likely flying FPV. I know that the regs don't like FPV and seems to think that a spotter with line of sight is more effective but I'm not convinced. I don't fly FPV but I have watched guys at the club field flying fast small quads and I struggled to track them. But I have also worn a pair of slaved goggles while they are flying and it was totally different - I knew exactly where the quad was at all times - much more so than when I was trying to follow it line of sight.


And after all, real full-size planes are flown FPV without a line of sight spotter.





Edited By Nigel Heather on 19/02/2020 15:42:34

19/02/2020 13:58:56

Not saying that they have done this, but there is nothing in the regs that precludes getting permission to fly anywhere.

So I would not be surprised to see drones flying like this on TV programmes.

As for the farmer, you can see a lot worse on YouTube posted after the introduction of the regs. And I think you will continue to see it. Plod are not going to be interested in what the farmer is doing. For the most part he is on his own land and within regs. I think the only time anyone with ever look into the regs is if someone is seen flying very recklessly. Doubt plod will even be interested by kids flying in the park if they are being sensible. They certainly not going to roll up to a desolate hill and arrest a drone flier using FPV without a spotter.



Thread: BMFA Membership Card
19/02/2020 12:36:15
Posted by Gary Manuel on 19/02/2020 11:48:53:

Yes Nigel, I agree.

When I saw the PowerPoint presentation, I thought I saw the likes of Screwfix, B@Q, Argos, Asda?

I guess companies who accept Vectis come and go as their needs to attract more customers changes.

Yes, I saw Amazon at one point which is what convinced me to go for it. I like the idea of the plastic card but on the other hand let me count the number of times I have had to show my membership card in the last 35 years, bear with me it's a lot of years ..................................... and the results are in - NEVER.



Thread: The Gov't, CAA, BMFA & UAV legislation thread
19/02/2020 11:22:00

Be interesting to keep hearing who has received their operator IDs.

I was hoping (especially given how much they are paying for the purchase and running of the system) that it would be simply a case of

  • Upload batch file provided by the BMFA
  • Automatically create registration accounts with the data provided
  • Automatically generate emails and send them

All done and dusted in a few hours.

But given the drip feed of emails I suspect it is more like this

  • Print out the batch file provided by the BMFA
  • Split the printout into small batches and hand out to data entry people
  • The information is read from the print out and keyed into the CAA system manually
  • eMails are created and sent out as each registration is completed

Will take weeks or more



Thread: BMFA Membership Card
19/02/2020 11:13:15
Posted by Gary Manuel on 18/02/2020 19:11:10:

No I have not got my card yet Nigel, but I noted from the BMFA GoMembership portal that the BMFA card I was signing up for was a Vectis Card (not Vectris).

If you want to know what Vectis deals are available in your area, click HERE and enter your postcode.

Thank you, that is very helpful. Disappointing list in my postcode to be honest - but I agree that the card is so cheap I only have to use it once or twice to cover the cost.

I'm at work so don't have the BMFA Card flyer with me so I can't say for sure but I seem to remember that it displayed the logos of all sorts of famous name retailers, but these are not coming up in the link that you kindly provided.



18/02/2020 18:39:50
Posted by Gary Manuel on 18/02/2020 16:16:20:

Go Outdoors doesn't work like that Nigel.

You just need to show your card at the till for an extra 10% on top of the Go Outdoors Discount Card. You do need to ring for a discount code for on-line purchases though.

See HERE for Go Outdoor / Vectis terms.

The SPECIAL20 looks good if it works, but I do prefer to try shoes on before I buy them.

Edited By Gary Manuel on 18/02/2020 16:17:02

Does that mean that you have got your BMFA card - oh I see, that is how Vectris cards work so the BMFA one should work that way.  Hopefully there are a few more retailer deals like that



Edited By Nigel Heather on 18/02/2020 18:42:08

18/02/2020 15:16:29
Posted by Gary Manuel on 18/02/2020 12:30:48:

I chose to have a plastic card for pure commercial reasons.

I regularly use "Go Outdoors". With the 10% discount offered by the card, I only need to spend £35 to cover the cost of the card. No brainer really.

PS I hope it comes quickly cos' I'm ready for a new pair of waterproof walking shoes - and there's a sale on at the moment wink

Is that online or in-store?

If it works like other reward schemes do, it's not a matter of flopping your card on counter in the Go Outdoors store. Instead it is likely to use the one or both of the following methods

1) You see something that you want to buy at Go Outdoors for £100. You log into the reward site and buy a £100 voucher for £90. You are provided with one or more vouchers totalling £100. You can then use the vouchers online or in-store.  This is best for one off purchases.

2) You log into the reward site and request a Go Outdoors top up card. You wait and it arrives in the post. You log into reward site and link your Go Outdoors top up card with your account. You can then add funds to the card which you can then spend online or in store.  This is more convenient if you shop there regularly. 

Don't get me wrong, the discount is genuine it's just that it needs some planning, and sometimes you think the £2 I am going to save is not worth the hassle.

The other thing to remember, is that if you decide not to buy the thing from the retailer, or they are out of stock, or you return it because it is faulty or not fit you get vouchers back. So you are committed to spending at that retailer.

Don't forget to also google for discount codes, for example until the end of February you can get 20% off Go Outdoors with the discount code


you can combine this with you reward site discount so you will 28% discount in total.




Edited By Nigel Heather on 18/02/2020 15:18:17

Edited By Nigel Heather on 18/02/2020 15:21:05

Edited By Nigel Heather on 18/02/2020 15:21:20

Edited By Nigel Heather on 18/02/2020 15:22:01

Edited By Nigel Heather on 18/02/2020 15:26:18

18/02/2020 12:04:39
Posted by Cuban8 on 18/02/2020 09:20:03:

Most of these so called discount cards and schemes are hardly worth the bother. They wouldn't be in existence if they weren't actually in the wider interest of the stores and businesses. The ones for ex-servicemen and the one my wife had as an NHS worker being the exceptions perhaps (they stopped the NHS one a while back, so obviously it was too good!). The BMFA one is an exception, as I suspect that the 'discounts' will be of little interest to the holders who just want a membership card and are happy to pay a few quid for the time being.

Clever marketing and convincing the less cynical among us that we're getting something for nothing is their MO but in truth, they're designed to make you spend more overall and hence pay for the 'discount'. Nothing new.....the oldies will remember Green Shield Stamps and the less well known S&H Pink Stamps. Smoke yourself to death more quickly with the coupons in packets of fags as well back in the day.

My better half has an M&S 'Sparks Card' on which points are collected with each purchase and in theory can be used as a discount. The problem is that the discounted lines are emailed to her as specific items and not as a general discount on all purchases. She has thousands of points but can't use them unless she buys something that she doesn't need and never buys anyway. It's clear what they're up to.........M&S can easily see the buying habits of my wife and others so I believe they deliberately avoid sending offers on stuff that they know customers will and do buy regularly in their stores (i.e. a true reward and a thank you for being a loyal customer) but they send offers for stuff that she'd never or very rarely purchase. The discounts seem to follow the same pattern i.e. more expensive top of the range goods (certain clothes, perfumes and financial services as a few examples).

The only scheme that seems to work for me is Nectar. We buy our fuel at Sainsbury's and over the course of the year rack up enough points for a few treats at Christmas - probably about £40 or £50 at most. They were at one time charging a penny or so per litre more than the very cheapest other local supermarket (ASDA) but have reduced their prices to match recently, so a better deal if you use it correctly.

I don't believe in paying up front to make a saving........................the only exception to my rule is our IWM Premium Membership that costs £80 annually for two people and gives unlimited access to Duxford and other IWM sites, ticket discounts and certain other purchases. It's around £40 for a day ticket to Duxford for two people and as we visit several times year, we make a considerable saving overall.

The fact is if you want to save money, simply buy less 'stuff' that you really don't need..................

Edited By Cuban8 on 18/02/2020 09:33:48

Agree 100%. I already have access to two schemes through work and to be honest I barely use those.

I went for the BMFA one primarily for the plastic card and only then because it was 'throw away money'. Even then I questioned whether it was worth it, but what tipped me over the edge was one piece of marketing included the Amazon logo suggesting that this is one of the discounted retailers. If so that will be a winner for me but I'm not holding my breath because Amazon have not participated in any of the schemes I have seen previously and I can't see the BMFA one being any different.

As for the discounts - I do use them occasionally but it requires that perfect storm of the retailer having what I want at the best price and the discount being worth the hassle and anxiety.



18/02/2020 07:51:47
Posted by Kevin 216 on 18/02/2020 07:15:31:

Has anyone received theirs yet? They were apparently posted on the 11th Feb - must be coming by shankes's pony express.

Not as of the weekend. I am working away from home this week so won't know until Thursday evening. But if it really was sent out on 11th then it should be waiting for me when I get back.

From my experience the term "it has been posted" can get used very loosely, especially off the back of previous delays. It often doesn't mean that it has actually been posted, more that it is entering into a lengthy process that will culminate in it being posted.

Also posted from where? Where are the cards being made? "It has been posted" could mean that the cards have been sent in bulk from the printers (who may be in China) to the BMFA (or appointed distributer) who on receipt will then have to separate the consignment into individual addressed letters to be sent out to members.



Thread: The Gov't, CAA, BMFA & UAV legislation thread
18/02/2020 07:38:10
Posted by Dickw on 17/02/2020 20:50:38:
Posted by Nigel Heather on 17/02/2020 20:47:37:........

So does that mean when my email comes through from the CAA does that mean I will get an Operator ID and a Flyer ID?


You will get an Operator ID but not a Flyer ID.

If you have the BMFA RCC you are exempt from needing a Flyer ID.


Thanks, that is what I thought, I only asked because there were posts suggesting that the exemption only applied if you had an A or B certificate.

But it is actually, if you have a A or B Certificate or you have passed the BMFA competency test.



17/02/2020 20:47:37
Posted by leccyflyer on 17/02/2020 19:45:08:
Posted by kc on 17/02/2020 19:42:04:

Nigel asked " Was that via the BMFA? "

Nigel, the email was from CAA and I paid the £9 via my BMFA sub. I expected to get a Flyer ID because I am a BMFA A certificate holder.

If you are a BMFA A Certificate holder you do not need to have a flyer ID - you are exempt from that requirement.

Interesting. I don’t have an A Certificate, although I have been flying for many years I have never bothered to do it, will be putting that right soon. So I had to do the BMFA competence test.

So does that mean when my email comes through from the CAA does that mean I will get an Operator ID and a Flyer ID?

Out of interest I would love to know how the CAA are doing the upload. You’d hope it is an electronic interface but I wouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t got Doris sat with a printout of BMFA data keying in the information one member at a time.



17/02/2020 18:28:42
Posted by kc on 17/02/2020 18:11:10:

The CAA have just sent me an email with my Operator ID ( group of letters not numbers) but no Flyer ID but the same email says one needs a Flyer ID to fly....... so what's happening? Is the Flyer ID via the BMFA being held up and that's the reason for the latest exemption?

Was that via the BMFA?

If so I may have been a bit harsh on the CAA.



17/02/2020 15:07:03
Posted by Steve J on 17/02/2020 13:36:39:

The CAA have issue a new exemption.

ORS4 1345

A well known expression involving breweries and people consuming alcohol springs to mind.

Edited By Steve J on 17/02/2020 13:38:05

That is ridiculous, guessing this means that I won't be getting the registration that I paid for anytime soon. What a bunch of clowns (the CAA to be clear, no problems with the BMFA as they have done everything that they said they would).

CAA: You MUST register and display your Operator ID it's a matter of National Security

Me: Okay, here's my payment

CAA: Oh, it's all a bit difficult, whine, whine, whine, we need more time, whinge, whinge, whinge

Me: Guess National Security isn't that important then


Reminds me of a time when I was travelling through Heathrow Airport shortly after the shoe bomber case. It was decided that all passengers had to put remove their shoes to be checked.

This was creating chaos and huge queues and the airport/border control kept announcing that they were sorry for the inconvience but these measures were an ESSENTIAL security precaution. But it got to the point that chaos and queues became so bad that they suddenly decided that shoes didn't need checking any more. Appareently the ESSENTIAL security precaution was no longer needed.




Edited By Nigel Heather on 17/02/2020 15:08:24

Thread: BMFA Membership Card
17/02/2020 14:55:58
Posted by Neil Hobbs on 11/02/2020 07:17:19:

On renewal of my BMFA membership I paid £3.50 for their Vectis membership card last December and still have not received it. As an armed forces veteran I have a Defences Discount Card and the Vectis card gives similar discounts eg. 10% off at Go Outdoors etc. So it is definitely worth having. I have emailed Vectis to find out what has happened with the BMFA card

I'm in the same situation as you. In fact my wife has a scheme too so I already have access to two schemes. I'm expecting the BMFA one to be identical, same retailers, same discounts.

I did think twice about getting it but gave in because

(i) it is only £3.50 so not much to try

(ii) I like the idea of the BMFA membership card

(iii) The inital advertising put out for the reward card included the Amazon logo. This is what made the decision for me. But to be honest I will be very surprised if Amazon are included, they aren't in any of the schemes that I have seen and I have seen quite a few.

It will also be interesting to see how easy it is to use. The two I have access to at the moment are a bit of a faff to be honest. The way these schemes are presented might make you think that you turn up at John Lewis, flash your card and get 5% discount. But that isn't how they work, you have to first buy vouchers off the reward company - so you buy a £100 John Lewis card, they charge you £95, and they provide you with one or more voucher codes which you can use for online purcahses. the other way you can do it is to request a John Lewis top up card which is sent to you in the post. When it arrives you can link it with your reward account and then add funds to it. You can then use the top up card in-store.

I'm pretty much expecting the Vectris card to work exactly the same way.

My card should turn up this week so will find out. Hopefully, Amazon are included but not holding my breath.



Thread: The Gov't, CAA, BMFA & UAV legislation thread
17/02/2020 06:38:29

Think the CAA should concentrate on airport IT systems rather than fictitious drones.

Pretty sure that this is the third time since the introduction of the drone law that IT system failure has disrupted UK airport operations.

In terms of ‘denial of service’, flakey IT systems are currently the clear leader.



16/02/2020 12:34:13
Posted by Andy Symons - BMFA on 12/02/2020 14:05:20:

Op Ids will be sent out directly from the CAA at some point before 23rd. They have the data, batch upload was done on 3rd Feb they ran their verification process, we had about 250 that failed that, mostly only had an initialninstead of a full first name. Thise 250 were all sorted and the file uploaded again on Monday so now in the hands of the CAAs process. We have a meeting with the CAA this week so will gee them up.

I’ve just come on here to find out the status. Good to hear that the BMFA have been efficient (unlike for the membership scheme and cards wink) but not sure I have much faith that government department (CAA or whoever is responsible) will process the data in a timely manner. So much experience where their like are very good at shouting out demands but are not very good when it comes to them doing something. We shall see but I’m not holding my breath.



Thread: Thin Ply
06/02/2020 16:08:33

Going to look through the spares box over the weekend to see what I already have.

This is my first build from a plan, but in the past I have built plenty of kits so I do have mediocre spares box from left overs and repairs. Hopefully there will be some scraps that I can reuse.

You are correct that it is the first one where you take the hit - like having to buy sheets of different thicknesses of ply when only tiny bits are needed.

You are also correct that the biggest expense is going to be the fuselage doublers. Think they are 1/32, one of the more expensive, and long and thin so needs a large sheet (mostly unused) to cut out the doublers in one piece.



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