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PSS/Slope Soaring and the Law

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Martin Gay10/07/2018 11:46:59
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Have you guys seen this?

Quoting Dave Burton, from page 115 of the August 2018 edition of RCM&E:

"On 25th May 2018 it (the CAA) published an amendment to the Air Navigation Order (ANO) introducing major new provisions that effect model fliers.

The ANO represents the law as far as we are concerned and everyone flying a model must abide by it. The amendments basically introduce the following three new regulations:

  • As of 30 July 2018 it will be illegal to fly a model airplane more than 400ft above local ground level.
  • As of November 2019 all pilots must be registered.
  • Also, by the same date all pilots must have passed a proficiency test.”
Martin Gay10/07/2018 11:47:26
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Looking at these points in order; I cannot see too much of an issue with the 400ft height limitation with respect to PSS models, as we generally fly close into the slope. However, I have to admit that I enjoy climbing the model to a height greater than that so that I can enjoy some high speed, low level passes across the front of the slope, especially on the Orme.

The other reason that the 400ft limit is a non-issue for us is that, reading Dave Burton’s article, the CAA has the power to grant exemption from its rules to persons or groups of people. The BMFA can apply (and hopefully are applying) for such an exemption. As Dave Burton says, “…we must await the actual wording of the exemption…”

As to pilot registration: this is the easy one. To fly at a PSSA event, all pilots must have BMFA insurance, therefore they must be members of the BMFA and are already registered with the national body!

Proficiency tests will be the major hurdle, I believe. It took a bit of digging for me to find the BMFA Silent Flight (Slope) A and Silent Flight (Slope) B Test Standards and Guidance for Test Candidates.

The Slope A document can be downloaded here: **LINK**

The Slope B document can be downloaded via: **LINK**

I am of the opinion that we should all be able to pass the ‘A’ award without much effort and should endeavour to do so before the (current) November 2019 deadline.

In fact, if it were possible for the PSSA to organise an examiner for the August and September events, would anyone be interested in taking the award? Weather and suitable model permitting, of course!

Martin.

Alan Gorham_10/07/2018 12:15:27
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Martin

My understanding of the proficiency side of things is that compliance will be done by an online test that covers working knowledge of the ANO and NOT practical flying competence.

Also, the BMFA and the LMA are currently advising that the CAA expect a blanket exemption to the 400ft limit can be put in place before the 30th July this year.

While I accept that this is not in place yet, does there seem to be any need to do anything?

Martin Gay10/07/2018 12:29:18
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I think it would be advisable to assume that some form of proficiency will be needed in the future. I think it wise that we try and get ahead of the curve and, assuming the worst case, be able to demonstrate we have the skills.

I have been slope soaring for over thirty years and have not yet bothered to take a test, but I think I will have to get the Slope A & B certs before the year is out.

Alan Gorham_10/07/2018 12:31:43
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It's going to be an online test Martin!

Martin Gay10/07/2018 12:36:48
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I'm all for a simple online test! Where did your information come from?

I still think I ought to take the flying exams as well, after all these years! laugh

Steve J10/07/2018 12:46:40
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AN(A)O 2018

**LINK**

and the associated explanatory memorandum

**LINK**

See 94E in AN(A)O 2018 and 7.12 in the memorandum for details of the competency test.

Steve

Martin Gay10/07/2018 13:19:54
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Steve,

Many thanks for the links. It is great to be able to access all the relevant data from one thread.

Para 7.12 of the explanatory memorandum (your second link) uses the phrase "Currently anticipated" for the online test but further says that the CAA "May require the completion of practical tests"

Para 7.13 covers the dates that the competency will come into force.

Para 7.14 gives details of the fines that can be imposed if we do not comply.

Once again, I believe that we should be proactive and start to get prepared for November 2019 when the restrictions are currently planned to come into force.

Alan Gorham_10/07/2018 13:51:46
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But there's absolutely no suggestion or hint that any practical test that may (or may not) be required in the future would take the form of a BMFA devised, BMFA administered test is there?

I assume you'll be taking an examiner's test as well then so that you can help prepare others? wink

Martin Gay10/07/2018 14:11:12
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Alan,

I agree that any "practical test that may (or may not) be required in the future would take the form of a BMFA devised, BMFA administered test" or some other organisation.

However, the BMFA is our national body and I would assume that any current qualifications of flying ability MAY be taken into consideration.

If you don't wish to take any practical flying certifications, then don't take them. I certainly will not be losing any sleep if you choose not too take them!

Martin.

Edited By Martin Gay on 10/07/2018 14:12:19

Andy Meade10/07/2018 15:47:24
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Any testing is laughable, as the candidates can sit there with the test on one screen, and Google on the other.It will only be to make the pilot culpable in the case of a legal proceeding.

The 400 foot height limit is the odd one, as it would then assume we need radar altimeters in our aircraft, with the ability to record said flight for the authorities to analyse. Again laughable, and unenforceable.

I don't think it's fair to put any burden on the PSSA to provide an examiner at a fun event - if you require certification, it's probably best to do it on your own time in all honesty.

Personally, I'm doing....completely nothing. There are already more than enough ways to log and monitor drone flights - DJI record this data and could hand this over to those interested, for example. Does it stop people overflying crowds, buildings, vehicles etc with impunity, and being a general nuisance? No.

When that stuff gets sorted out, I will think about complying as long as it is fair and right to do so. Until then, as many deadlines can come and go as they want - I'm not changing how or where I fly with my slope stuff.

Alan Gorham_10/07/2018 16:16:11
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Martin

You misinterpret my take on your comments. You are trying to chivvy people along into taking a BMFA acheivement scheme test as some sort of preparation for some as yet undefined set of regulations on our activities.

I personally will take whatever test is deemed necessary to allow me to continue pursing my lifelong passion, but I think you rather took it for granted that BMFA examiners are just hanging around waiting to test people to maybe comply with unknown requirements.

FWIW, I have taken BMFA fixed wing A, B and examiners tests. Would I regard those as suitable "proof of competence" - perhaps not, but that is another discussion.

Alan Gorham_10/07/2018 16:19:15
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Just to pick up on one other point - the BMFA have not been the only national body lobbying the CAA on our behalf on this matter ie the LMA, the SAA and FPVUK.

Martin Gay22/10/2019 16:16:38
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Latest update from BMFA:

**LINK**

Alan Gorham_22/10/2019 16:52:00
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So it seems you have a choice: either don't take the online test because you already have a BMFA A certificate or greater, or take the online "unfailable " test.

Always nice to have a choice.

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