2018 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodellers Club was held at the Arrow Public House, on 27th November 2018.

The minutes are available here and from the Secretary, John Peedle. The key decisions were the setting of fees for 2019 and the election of new officers:

Fees for 2019 are as follows:

  • Adult Members – £38 including BFMA subscription;
  • Junior Members – no charge;
  • New member joining fee – £20 (plus BMFA subscription of £38).

The following officers were re-elected unanimously:

  • Mark Pope as Chairman;
  • Dave Garrett as Treasurer;
  • John Peedle as Secretary.

Jack Mitchell kindly agreed to continue as the Newsletter Editor.

Contact details are available on the Contacts page.

Notice of 2018 Annual General Meeting

The 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodellers Club will take place at 8pm on Tuesday 27th November 2018 at the Arrow Public House in Yeovil.

All members are encouraged to attend.

The Agenda is as follows:

Apologies
Previous Minutes
Chairman’s Report
Treasurer’s Report – will include a recommendation for membership fees
Election of Officers
AOB

EASA Publish their Technical Opinion and Draft Regulations for Unmanned Aircraft

(reposted from https://bmfa.org/News/News-Page/ArticleID/2510/EASA-Publish-their-Technical-Opinion-and-Draft-Regulations-for-Unmanned-Aircraft)

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has now published the Technical Opinion and Draft Regulations for Unmanned Aircraft. All of the documents can be found on the EASA website here: https://www.easa.europa.eu/document-library/opinions/opinion-012018

Model aircraft remain within the scope of these Regulations, but thanks to the lobbying carried out on behalf of the model flying community by Europe Air Sports, the Basic Regulation (which underpins these regulations and specifies what they should regulate) does include an article which offers our established activities some protection:

(20c) 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 under this 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.

The other important change agreed to the Basic Regulation is that it no longer mandates the registration of each individual aircraft – just the pilot.

The Basic Regulation gained political agreement on 22nd December, 2017 and is expected to come into force in Summer 2018.

It is anticipated that the EASA Opinion and Draft Regulations for Unmanned Aircraft will be adopted by the European Commission in the final quarter of 2018 with the final ‘Decision’ scheduled for the first quarter of 2019.

There are three options available for model flying within the regulations:

Operation within the Open Category

This Open Category is intended for those operating as individuals outside of an association or club. Model flying will fall within subcategory A3 (away from uninvolved people) of the Open Category and can be conducted with aircraft up to 25Kg within the C3, C4 or ‘privately built’ classes.

The C4 class was specifically developed to reflect conventional model aircraft and imposes a minimum set of technical requirements (the aircraft should not be capable of automatic flight and consumer information to raise awareness of the regulations must be included).

The minimum age restriction has now been removed (this is to be left to Member States to decide) as has the requirement to register individual aircraft, but the height limit of 120 metres remains. There is also a requirement for some form of online competency training with an online test to try and ensure that the pilot is aware of the law and the requirements for safe operation.

Electronic identification and geoawareness (probably involving the use of a phone app) is only mandatory if ‘required by the zone of operation’.

Operation within designated ‘Zones’

Article 11 provides Member States with an option to designate specific ‘zones’ for model flying to take place, primarily for those pilots who are not members of a model aircraft association or club. These zones could define different operating parameters to those required by the Open Category (such as an increased altitude limit for instance). The relevant paragraph from Article 11 reads:

2. Member States may define airspace in which UAS operations are exempted from one or more of the ‘open’ category requirements of this Regulation, and in which operators are not required to hold an authorisation or submit a declaration.

Operation within the Specific Category

In recognition of the good safety record established over many years by model flying associations throughout Europe, the proposed regulations allow competent authorities (in our case the Civil Aviation Authority) to issue an operational authorisation (within the Specific Category) to model associations and clubs which can define deviations from the regulations to reflect established custom and practice and operating parameters (such as altitude limits). This is outlined in Article 6:

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.

It is anticipated that the associations currently recognised by the CAA (BMFA, LMA, SAA and FPVUK) will operate under this type of authorisation and our hope is that this will enable us to continue to operate as we do today. To benefit from an authorisation of this type, the regulations do place some responsibilities on model clubs and associations, but these are now slightly less onerous than those proposed originally:

UAS.SPEC.055 Responsibilities of model clubs and associations

Model clubs and associations that hold an operational authorisation defined in Article 6 of this Regulation shall:

  1. make available to their registered members appropriate procedures to comply with the conditions and limitations defined in the operational authorisation issued by the competent authority;
  2. assist UAS remote pilots, who are registered members of the club or association, in achieving the minimum competency required to operate the UAS safely in accordance with the procedures defined in paragraph 1;
  3. take appropriate action when informed that a registered member does not comply with the conditions and limitations defined in the operational authorisation and, if necessary, inform the competent authority;
  4. provide, upon request from the competent authority, the documentation required for oversight and monitoring purposes.

Conclusion

From the outset, we argued to exclude model flying from the scope of these regulations but could not gain political support for this. However, a compromise was reached with recognition being given to model flying within the Basic Regulation. The result of this was that EASA was then compelled to incorporate more favourable provisions for model flying within their regulations for unmanned aircraft.

Whilst not an ideal outcome, the draft regulations are perhaps a little more proportionate than those originally proposed. The provisions within the ‘Specific Category’ provide the majority of Member States with sufficient flexibility to allow model flying to continue largely as it does today, but this will ultimately depend upon interpretation and implementation within individual Member States and the level of co-operation from governments and national regulators.

As such, representatives from the UK Model Flying Associations are working in co-ordination to negotiate with the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority to try and ensure that any changes to UK regulations are fair, proportionate and based on a genuine assessment of the level of risk. These negotiations remain ongoing at the present time.

What about Brexit?

At present (as with all things Brexit) it is unclear whether the UK will remain part of the EASA regulatory system or not. At present the indications are that the UK will either remain bound by the EASA rules or will choose to replicate them in national law.

2017 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodellers Club was held at the Arrow Public House, on 5th December 2017.

The minutes are available here and from the Secretary, John Peedle. The key decisions were the setting of fees for 2018 and the election of new officers:

Fees for 2018 are as follows:

  • Adult Members – £34 including BFMA subscription;
  • Junior Members – no charge;
  • New member joining fee – £20 (plus BMFA subscription of £34).

The following officers were re-elected unanimously:

  • Mark Pope as Chairman;
  • Dave Garrett as Treasurer;
  • John Peedle as Secretary.

Jack Mitchell kindly agreed to continue as the Newsletter Editor.

Contact details are available on the Contacts page.

Notice of 2017 Annual General Meeting

The 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodellers Club will take place at 8pm on Tuesday 5th December 2017 at the Arrow Public House in Yeovil.

All members are encouraged to attend.

The Agenda is as follows:

Apologies
Previous Minutes
Chairman’s Report
Treasurer’s Report – will include a recommendation for membership fees
Election of Officers
AOB

UPDATE ON EASA PROTOTYPE RULES AND UK GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES CONSULTATION ON ‘DRONES’

From the BMFA website.

European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Prototype Rules

The second of four scheduled EASA ‘Expert Group’ meetings to discuss and refine the ‘Prototype Rules’ took place in Cologne on 14th December. Areas covered included possible differentiation of commercial/recreational operations, requirements for registration, electronic identification and age restrictions. The next meeting will take place on the 23rd & 24th January and will focus on the requirements for operations within their proposed ‘Open Category’ (for aircraft operating within strictly defined product specifications and operational parameters, but not requiring an authorisation by an Aviation Authority).

EASA are aiming to publish their proposed rules (taking into account the input from the ‘Expert Group’) for formal consultation by the end of March 2017. Feedback received will be collated into a CRD (comment review document) and will be taken into consideration in drafting the final version of the rules.

At this time, EASA has yet to be granted the competence to regulate small unmanned aircraft but it is envisaged that the changes required to the EASA Basic Regulation to facilitate this will be approved by the European Parliament and European Council in September 2017.

UK Government Launches Consultation on ‘Drones’

At the end of December, the UK Government (through the Department for Transport) launched a public consultation on drones. The stated objective is to ‘introduce new measures to ensure the successful uptake of drones is matched by strong safeguards to protect the public’.

Potential measures proposed within the consultation include:

  • mandatory registration of new drones
  • tougher penalties for illegal flying near no-fly zones and new signs for no-fly zones at sensitive sites such as airports and prisons
  • making drones electronically identifiable so the owner’s details can be passed to police if they are spotted breaking the law

The consultation is aimed primarily at the aviation industry and stakeholders, including general aviation and model aircraft flyers and associations. You can read the consultation document and find a link to respond online here

The Government’s assumption is that the large majority of breaches of safety, privacy and data protection laws happen because some ‘leisure’ drone users are unaware of the laws that apply – but they also recognise the good practice and standards that most model aircraft and drone groups advocate amongst their members.

The majority of the consultation relates primarily to ‘drones’, but there is a specific question relating to excluding model aircraft from proposed registration requirements:

6.14 Model aircraft. This registration policy could also apply to model aircraft weighing 250g and over. There could also be an option within the registration policy to exclude model aircraft and their owners from the requirement, perhaps by exempting those belonging to model aircraft flying clubs from the requirement, as they have a recognised and long standing safety culture.

Consultation Question 27. Do you support registration requirement not applying for certain owners of model aircraft below 20 kilograms in weight? Why?

The argument put forward by the UK model flying Associations is that our members are effectively already registered and given the excellent safety record established by model flyers over the last century, there is no safety case for imposing a duplicate registration system.

The BMFA is in direct discussion with the DfT and will be meeting with them directly in the near future (along with representatives from other UK model flying Associations) to re-iterate the case for ensuring that model flyers are not subjected to unnecessary and disproportionate regulations.

The feedback received during the consultation process will be used to help ‘shape’ future Government Policy and I would ask all members to provide their own feedback directly to the DfT (with an emphasis on retaining the established rights of model flyers!). The consultation is open until 15th March 2017.

2016 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodellers Club was held at the Arrow Public House, on 29th November 2016.

The minutes are available here and from the Secretary, John Peedle. The key decisions were the setting of fees for 2017 and the election of new officers:

Fees for 2017 are as follows:

  • Adult Members – £33 including BFMA subscription;
  • Junior Members – no charge;
  • New member joining fee – £20 (plus BMFA subscription of £33).

The following officers were re-elected unanimously:

  • Mark Pope as Chairman;
  • Dave Garrett as Treasurer;
  • John Peedle as Secretary.

Jack Mitchell kindly agreed to continue as the Newsletter Editor.

Contact details are available on the Contacts page.

Notice of 2016 Annual General Meeting

The 2016 Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodellers Club will take place at 8pm on Tuesday 29th November 2016 at the Arrow Public House in Yeovil.

All members are encouraged to attend.

The Agenda is as follows:

  • Apologies
  • Previous Minutes
  • Chairman’s Report
  • Treasurer’s Report – will include a recommendation for membership fees
  • Election of Officers
  • AOB

Drone Awareness Month Coming Soon

Drone Awareness Banner

Reprinted from the BMFA Club Bulletin.

The Current Position

It is difficult to have missed the huge explosion in popularity of multirotor aircraft equipped with cameras, or “drones” to use the more common reference.
Sadly not all the publicity has been good and the media have very much “jumped on” on the relatively small number of negative stories involving the irresponsible and unlawful use of drones.

The BMFA has maintained a close working relationship with the Civil Aviation Authority who have ultimate responsibility for all aviation in the UK, and we have jointly worked on a number of initiatives to inform and educate new drone pilots, particularly those who are not coming into model flying through the more established route of traditional model aircraft and club membership.

Of course the latest technological developments have made drones far more accessible to the general public, through lower pricing and perhaps more significantly, ease of use and operation. For the first time ever it is possible for a complete newcomer to purchase a radio controlled aircraft (in this context we are talking mainly “drones”), completely ready to run and having charged the battery, to go out and fly with no training, experience or prior knowledge, it is exactly this type of new pilot that we are wanting to target in order that they can be provided with the knowledge and information to fly safely and lawfully.

A Joint Initiative

We [the BMFA] are working with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the concept of the Drone Awareness initiative as they also see the benefit in educating and informing the wider general public on the safe and lawful operation of drones.

The Drone Awareness initiative will be taking place for the whole month of April 2016 and will feature a number of elements which combined will help to raise awareness of the legal requirements and considerations when operating a drone, and also to help improve public perception and knowledge of drones. Of course, an important aspect of the initiative is to raise awareness of the BMFA as the “go to” association for sport and recreational drone and model aircraft pilots, both in terms of the insurance package provided as part of the membership, and also in terms of the range of services and support provided to members and also the benefits of being part of a recognised and well respected association.

BMFA Members and Clubs

The beginning of the Drone Awareness Month will be marked by a high profile launch with significant press attendance, however the primary aim is to involve BMFA members, Areas and clubs as part of the ongoing activity, clubs that feature drones and multirotors as part of their regular activity will be encouraged to put on events and initiatives, not only to raise awareness and knowledge in their specific area but also as a method of recruiting new members.

We [the BMFA] will be contacting clubs and making resources packs available early in the New Year and further updates will be published as the project moves forward.

Partners and Sponsors

The aim is to engage a range of partners to support Drone Aware and to help in promoting the initiative as widely as possible, both from inside the modelling trade and also with external organisations.

We are already working with a number of organisations and clubs and the initial response has been very positive, if you would like you club to be involved then contact the BMFA office for further information. Keep an eye on the BMFA website for further updates and also the dedicated Drone Aware website www.droneaware.org.

A smart phone friendly version of the site can be viewed using the QR code below.
The message is “Be Safe, be lawful, be drone aware”

QR

2015 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodellers Club was held at the Arrow public House on 24th November 2015.

The minutes are available here, and from the Secretary, John Peedle. The key decisions were the setting of fees for 2016 and the election of new officers:

Fees for 2016 are as follows:

Adult Members – £33 including BFMA subscription
Junior Members – no charge
New member joining fee – £20 (plus BMFA subscription of £33)

The following officers were re-elected unanimously:

Mark Pope as Chairman
Dave Garrett as Treasurer
John Peedle as Secretary
Jack Mitchell as the Newsletter Editor
Contact details for the Club Officers are available on the Contacts page.