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Member postings for Peter Christy

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

Thread: Commons Science and Technology Committee Enquiry on Drones
05/08/2019 08:19:42

Well said, MattyB! That pretty well sums up my views, as well. Actually, I have no problems with registration - I'm old enough to remember when we had to have a transmitting license, and to notify the Postmaster-General if we wanted to fly anywhere other than the location noted on the license (not that anyone ever did!)!

My objection is to the unnecessarily complex, intrusive and expensive method promoted by the DfT. Baroness Vere keeps banging on about the principal of "the user pays", but if I pay, I expect something in return. Under these proposals, I get nothing in return - other than the knowledge that I am effectively subsidising commercial operators, one of whom pays little or no tax in this country and is already rich enough to have its own space program!



Thread: Binding to orange Rx
04/08/2019 23:00:55

Martin: Sorry, didn't intend to blind you with science! wink

The world has moved on a bit since the good old days of 27 MHz, although it has to be said that that band is now so empty in many areas that it is a practical proposition again!

I've never had a problem binding an Orange receiver to a Spektrum (OK, MacGregor/JR) transmitter, but I have had problems binding Spektrum receivers to Orange transmitters.

The original Spektrum system was called DSM-2 (OK, for the pedants, there was one before that, but I don't think it ever reached these shores!). However, DSM-2 was "outlawed" for new equipment in 2015 (though you can still use such equipment purchased before that date). It was replaced by DSM-X. Orange reverse engineered DSM-X to make "compatible" equipment, but it isn't perfect, and there are compatibility issues between Orange DSM-X transmitters and some Spektrum receivers (mostly Bind'N'Fly stuff, where the throttle doesn't work).

Some Orange transmitters are "dual-mode", and will do both DSM-2 and DSM-X, and forcing them in to DSM-2 mode provides a work-around for the problem.

All the cases I've come across involve Orange transmitters and Spektrum receivers, but its not beyond the bounds of possibility that it might also work - or not work - in the other direction as well.

But try the alternatives suggested above first. If they don't work, consult your local expert, and see if your Tx can be forced to DSM-2.

Best of luck!



Thread: Commons Science and Technology Committee Enquiry on Drones
04/08/2019 22:47:26

Yes, that's probably it Steve, and like you, I have trouble deciphering its precise meaning. However, it seems quite clear to me that the DfT proposals most certainly do NOT provide a "seamless transition", nor do they allow "clubs and associations to continue to operate as they do today".

And as Jeremy has pointed out, the words "should" and "shall" appear to have a very specific legal meaning, which implies that the current proposals could well be subject to a realistic challenge in court.

Frankly, I'd be quite happy to contribute £16.50 to a fighting fund to challenge the DfT proposals in court, instead of subsidising Amazon!



Thread: Binding to orange Rx
04/08/2019 18:18:01

I know that some Orange Tx modules will not operate the throttle on some Bind'N'Fly models due to an incompatibility between Orange's reverse-engineered implementation of the DSM-X protocol and genuine Spektrum receivers.

If moving away (as suggested by Don) doesn't work, try forcing your Tx into DSM-2 mode, if it is capable of it. This works with Orange transmitters and Spektrum receivers.



Thread: Commons Science and Technology Committee Enquiry on Drones
04/08/2019 18:08:30

Steve J: Well exactly, but you ignore the recommendations of the governing body at your peril. After all, they may well firm up those recommendations in the future. I'm not holding my breath on that one, but I still regard the path that the DfT has chosen as a dubious one.

Anyway, we shall see what develops. But I still believe that the BMFA are doing their best, behind the scenes, to get a more rational approach from the DfT.




Edited By Peter Christy on 04/08/2019 18:09:06

04/08/2019 17:03:45

Posted by Steve J on 04/08/2019 10:40:40:

In what way are the DfT and CAA not following the EU regulations?


I didn't say they were not following EASA regulations. I said the weren't following EASA recommendations - a subtle, but important difference. The recommendations were that (broadly speaking) members of model flying associations should be allowed to continue pretty much unhindered. This is NOT what the DfT are proposing.

Gonzo: Where has this "paid for test of competency" come from? Have I missed something?



04/08/2019 10:00:40
Posted by Steve J on 04/08/2019 09:04:58:
Posted by Peter Christy on 04/08/2019 08:01:54:

I recall reading somewhere that control-line flyers will also be required to register under the proposed legislation.

Control line models are tethered unmanned aircraft.

I have no doubt that the BMFA are working feverishly behind the scenes on our behalf. I am taking the silence coming from there as "no news is good news" at the moment, as it implies that delicate negotiations are ongoing.

Other viewpoints are available.


Re: Control-line: But am I right in recalling that they too are required to register?

Re: BMFA: I have no inside knowledge of what is going on, but seeing as how David Phipps took the lead in the negotiations with EASA - and managed to get a better deal than many had anticipated - I believe he will be working very hard on our behalf to modify the DfT's refusal to follow those EASA recommendations.

When you are in delicate negotiations, it doesn't help to tell the other side what you are planning! Ask Theresa May!

Time will tell if I'm right or not!



04/08/2019 08:01:54

Thank you for your input, Jeremy. Very useful!

Many of the members here started off flying control-line, and some still do! Indeed, I still have a few down in the garage myself, though I haven't flown them for a few years.

Also, I recall reading somewhere that control-line flyers will also be required to register under the proposed legislation. This makes the proposed rules even more nonsensical.

I have no doubt that the BMFA are working feverishly behind the scenes on our behalf. I am taking the silence coming from there as "no news is good news" at the moment, as it implies that delicate negotiations are ongoing.

Anyway, welcome to the forum, and again, thank you for your interesting input.



02/08/2019 22:22:07

Interesting! I wasn't aware of that.

To be fair, it will probably take him a few weeks to wade through all the stuff on his desk, and I doubt if our problem is his highest priority. In the meantime, he will just parrot the line he is fed by his civil servants.

However, if he still hasn't taken any action in (say) a month's time, perhaps it might be worth reminding him of this fact! Perhaps someone with an MP who is on side might like to prompt them to remind the minister of this?




Edited By Peter Christy on 02/08/2019 22:23:03

Thread: Interesting reply from email to Richard Moriarty, CAA
02/08/2019 22:16:22

Those are good points, Martin, but I think they are solvable. In the cases you quote, it seems that the directors were playing fast and loose with their responsibilities. However, were the directors of our hypothetical company to insist that all applicants must hold a minimum of a BMFA "A" certificate - and provide evidence that they do - then I believe it could be argued that the director(s) had fulfilled their obligations. They had ensured the pilot was suitably qualified, and the flight itself is the pilot's responsibility.

Remember, the CAA themselves have stated that they consider a BMFA "A" certificate (or equivalent) a suitable qualification for a commercial drone pilot (yes, I know!). But who are we to argue with them?

As I have said, if Amazon, the BBC, ITN, etc can have their drone pilots operate under a single umbrella, I see no reason why we cannot pursue the same path.

I think this is a very useful discussion to have. There will be potential problems along the way, but it is better to air them here, and try and find solutions, rather than in court, later!

And frankly, I object to effectively subsidising a company rich enough to have its own private space programme!



02/08/2019 19:27:46

The Air Navigation Order makes it very clear that it is the pilot's responsibility to ensure that the flight can be made safely. That would include checking the airworthiness of the vehicle. I don't see how this responsibility could be transferred to the operating company. If (God forbid) a BA 'plane crashes, the pilot - not BA's Board of Directors - is the one held responsible.

The aim of setting up a separate LLC is to avoid the situation of a club, or the BMFA, being somehow held responsible, though in view of the above, I don't see how they could be. However, I can understand club committees or the BMFA Council being reluctant to take the risk, however small. But a small LLC? Any financial penalty would be born by the company, not it's directors. And having few assets (maybe a laptop?) it probably would not be worth prosecuting. The only penalty the directors would be likely to face would be being banned from holding a directorship in future - not a problem for me, and I suspect, many others like me.

At the end of the day, if Amazon can get away with being the operator of hundreds of drones, I don't see why we can't follow suite!



02/08/2019 15:24:14

I agree, and I think it will be very difficult to draft a regulation that gives Amazon, etc, free reign and yet penalises others from taking advantage of the same rules.

What is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander!



02/08/2019 13:52:13

Gonzo: Yes, quite! I think this idea may have legs, but it will need to be vetted by a competent lawyer to make sure its water-tight!

Perhaps its an idea the BMFA could take up, in order to side-step any liability of doing it themselves?



02/08/2019 12:50:32

Even cheaper than I thought! Need to investigate the legal requirements first and make sure the idea is water-tight. Perhaps time to see if the BMFA can advise....!



02/08/2019 12:03:13

C8: I take your points completely, but I'm trying to suggest a way of staying legal for minimum effort and cost, while at the same time undermining the official approach.

For myself, I do most of my flying a long way from civilization. If I don't register, the chances of my being caught are vanishingly small. Also, I am quite prepared to take a break for a few months when the rules are introduced and see what happens.

Some I know will carry on flying and refuse to register come hell or high water. Others - probably those operating near or in major conurbations - will feel obliged to register.

But if we can come up with a way of staying legal, whilst raising a well known salute to Baroness Vere, I think it should be considered.

I think it would be very difficult for them to come up with legislation that would prioritise one company over another.

I don't know what it costs to set up a LLC, but I gather they are available "off the shelf". Running costs should be trivial. If even half of the BMFA membership alone joined, at £1 a head, it should be enough to fund it for a few years - hopefully until the CAA scheme collapses under its own financial ineptitude!

Perhaps we could even name the company "The Baroness Vere Retirement Fund"! wink



Edited By Peter Christy on 02/08/2019 12:04:12

02/08/2019 10:44:37

OK, how about this for an alternative plan?

Set up a small Limited Liability Company - let's call it Model Aircraft Registration. Co. Ltd. (MAR for short). Anyone flying a conventional model aircraft (fixed or rotary wing, but NOT autonomous or semi-autonomous) can register with them for a nominal amount (say £1, but enough to cover the costs of setting it up and running it), and the company then registers with the CAA just like Amazon, etc, will.

As a separate legal entity, this protects the BMFA, clubs and pilots, yet its liability is limited in law (as the name suggests). Setup and running costs should be trivial, and it should meet the letter of the law.

Anyone with any legal experience out there see any flaws in this idea?



Thread: programmable tx virgin !
02/08/2019 08:42:28

I think you may be misunderstanding how a programmable Tx is used in practice. I've been using them since the original JR PCM-9 came out on 35 MHz, and currently have FrSky transmitters as my main Txs. The screen is primarily used for setting up. There is rarely - if ever - any need to look at it in flight.

The FrSky in particular has quite loud voice prompts, and will count down a preset timer that is easy to set up. It will also announce quite loudly any issues, such as low battery voltage, poor signal strength (very rarely!) etc, once suitably set up. It also has a "haptic buzzer" - a bit like a "stick shaker" on a commercial airliner - that can be programmed to activate under whatever conditions you choose. The only time you need to look at the screen is when setting a model up, or switching between models - both done on the ground!

Although I'm using FrSky as an example, many other systems have a similar set up, though FrSky, with its OpenTx system, is by far and away the most flexible.

You may see some comments about FrSky being fiddly to set up. However, these usually come from people used to using systems that "lead them by the hand" through setting up. Pilots who have never used any other kind of programmable Tx usually don't have a problem as they don't have any pre-conceived ideas about programming, and the OpenTx system is very logical.

For everyday use, I wear varifocal glasses, but I find these less than ideal for flying, as the "in focus" window is tiny. I use plain "long distance" glasses for flying - with polaroid clip-ons on very bright days - and never have an issue with using a programmable Tx in flight.

Hope this helps!



Thread: Interesting reply from email to Richard Moriarty, CAA
01/08/2019 19:06:03

Jason: Presumably they've been overwhelmed with negative comments! Perhaps a FOI request may elicit more info?

SteveJ: The Baroness may have dismissed the idea, but if the wording of the regulation permits Amazon (for example) to register all its "drones", surely the BMFA can do the same. There cannot be "One law for them and another for us". That way leads to a judicial review and a long pause in implementation....!



Thread: Commons Science and Technology Committee Enquiry on Drones
25/07/2019 14:01:54

I see that the new Minister for Transport is Grant Shapps. IIRC he is a keen aviation enthusiast, holds a PPL and has his own 'plane. He has been a staunch defender of General Aviation against intrusive legislation, and at the back of my mind is that he has also been a friend of model flying. Does anyone else remember this?

Anyway, now that we have an aviation enthusiast in the job, maybe - just maybe - common sense will prevail!



25/07/2019 13:56:38
Posted by TigerOC on 19/07/2019 22:28:24:

A point I have made to my MP (Leader of the House) is something that has never been mentioned at all; Local Bye laws.

When i started flying some 8 years back I took the trouble to look at our local Bye laws and they ban the flying of all model aircraft above 100g within the borough. I live close to Dartmoor National Park and their Bye Laws are that all powered models are banned but they welcome model gliders.

I am sure that this is not unique to our town.


Edited By TigerOC on 19/07/2019 22:29:03

I also live close to Dartmoor, but Torbay Council appears to take a more enlightened approach. Parkies who have approached model flyers using public land for silent flight and electric models have indicated that as long as the pilot has BMFA insurance, they are happy to let them continue. They probably wouldn't be so happy with a noisy IC model, but as long as common sense prevails, there appears to be no problem! (Unlike 50-odd years ago when the C/L club I belonged to got kicked off public land by a parky!)



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