Article 16  --  copied from the BMFA notification but annotated in RED where particular attention from club members is needed.

 

CAA Article 16 Authorisation

 

A guide to model aircraft & drone flying after December 31st, 2020 for BMFA members.

 

Why are the regulations changing?

The UK adopted the EU regulations for model flying in 2019 and these will come into effect on December 31st, 2020.  This is the same day that we exit from the EU, but regulations in place at the point of departure will be transferred directly into UK law.

Some requirements of the EU regulations were already in place (such as a height limits, Operator Registration and Competency requirements) following changes to the Air Navigation Order set out in 2018, but the EU regulations introduce further changes.  Full details of the regulations for the operation of unmanned aircraft (which includes model aircraft) can be found in CAP 722.

Given the excellent safety record established by model flyers throughout Europe, the EU agreed that model flying conducted within the framework of Associations like the BMFA should be subject to more flexible regulation to allow us to continue largely ‘as we do today’.  The mechanism to facilitate this is referred to as an ‘Article 16 Authorisation’ (within the ‘Specific Category’) and this document provides a guide to how the Authorisation we have negotiated with the CAA applies to our members with effect from December 31st, 2020.

The new regulations allow for alternative sets of rules to be applied to unmanned aircraft. The 'Open Category' rules set out in CAP722 can be used by anyone in the UK, regardless of whether they are members of any club or association and, amongst other things, include a ban on flying above 400ft. The Open Category requirements will not apply to BMFA members flying in accordance with the terms and conditions of our Article 16 Authorisation.

Model aircraft below 250g which are operated in accordance with our Authorisation are subject to the terms and conditions of the Authorisation.  However, in most circumstances they may also be operated within the Open Category instead and so be flown in accordance with the basic requirements outlined in CAP 722 for an aircraft of less than 250g without a camera (i.e. no registration, competency or age requirements but operation limited to less than 400ft).

This guide explains the meaning of the Article 16 authorisation that the CAA has granted to the BMFA.

 

Section A - General Conditions of our Article 16 Authorisation

1. What type of unmanned aircraft operations does our Authorisation apply to:

Our Authorisation covers all existing activities including radio-controlled aircraft of all types (including helicopters and multirotor drones), free flight aircraft and physically constrained aircraft (control line and round the pole) up to a Maximum Take Off Mass (MTOM)** of 25Kg.

Aircraft with an MTOM of more than 25Kg will be subject to a separate Authorisation to be held by the Large Model Association (which will replace their over 20Kg scheme).

Aircraft with an MTOM of less than 250g operated in a manner that uses the privileges within this authorisation (for example, flown above 400ft), are subject to the limitations and conditions described throughout this authorisation.  However, in many circumstances they may be easily operated within the Open Category requirements (for an unmanned aircraft with a MTOM less than 250g) as the requirements are not particularly restrictive for these very light aircraft.

The Authorisation does not apply to rockets (which were not included within the EU regulations) and it does not apply to any indoor operations either, as none of the rules apply to unmanned aircraft flown inside buildings.

** Note:  For all practical purposes the Maximum Take Off Mass or MTOM is the weight of your aircraft when it first becomes airborne on each flight. The MTOM now includes everything, including fuel, which is why the 7kg has gone up to 7.5kg and 20kg to 25kg.

1.1. You must operate your aircraft within visual line of sight.
The Authorisation retains the long standing requirement for the remote pilot to maintain direct, unaided visual contact with their aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions, unless the aircraft is being flown in accordance with the specific conditions detailed in the ‘First Person View’ section.

1.2. The purpose of the flight must be Sport, Recreation, Education or Demonstration.
The terms of our Authorisation do not cover any type of commercial operation.

2. Minimum Age
The introduction of Operator Registration imposed a minimum age of 18 on Operators and this does not change.  Lower age limits apply to ‘Remote Pilots’ to allow flying by pilots under 18. When models are flown by adults the Operator and Remote Pilot are usually the same person, and this is recognised in the Authorisation.

The minimum age for a remote pilot to fly unsupervised within the full terms of our Authorisation is 10.  There is no minimum age for a remote pilot operating under the direct supervision of another remote pilot (age 14 or over) provided both have the required evidence of competency. In addition, there must be an adult Operator (when an Operator is mandatory) who complies with the requirements described in section 4.2 below.

There is no minimum age for flying control line or round the pole aircraft.

3. Safety Accountability
It remains the case that the remote pilot is directly responsible for the safe operation of their aircraft and should only fly if reasonably satisfied that the flight can be safely made

4. Operator Requirements

4.1 Operator Registration
The existing requirements for Operator registration remain in place (although now extend to capture operators of control line/round-the-pole aircraft weighing more than 1Kg). It is a legal requirement that anyone operating an unmanned aircraft outdoors be registered as an Operator with the CAA unless:

There is no requirement to register as an Operator if you only operate model aircraft indoors.

The BMFA has retained the facility for members to obtain their CAA Operator registration via the BMFA GoMembership system.

The Operator I.D. number must be clearly displayed on the aircraft or within a compartment that can be easily accessed without the use of a tool.

 

4.2 Operator Responsibilities
Our Authorisation includes a requirement for Operators to comply with the following requirements (largely common sense):

The CAA acknowledges that in many instances, the operator and the remote pilot will be the same person. In such cases, this person must discharge the responsibilities of both the remote pilot (see Section 6), and the UAS Operator.

5. Remote Pilot Requirements

5.1 Remote Pilot Competence
The existing requirements for Remote Pilot Competence remain in place.  It is a legal requirement to have evidence that you are competent to operate your aircraft for anyone who is operating in accordance with our Authorisation except for those who:

Acceptable evidence of competency can be achieved by passing one of the CAA recognised online tests (such as the CAA DMARES test or the BMFA Registration Competency Certificate)**.

Members with an existing BMFA Achievement obtained prior to 31/12/2020 (including the BMFA Registration Competency Certificate) will be considered to have acceptable evidence of competency.

From 1st January 2021, it will be a requirement for anyone taking a new BMFA Achievement to show proof of either a valid BMFA Registration Competency Certificate (RCC)  or a valid CAA Flyer ID. Any candidate who shows proof of a valid RCC obtained after 31/12/2020 will be exempt from answering the mandatory questions during the test.

An additional requirement is that members will have to confirm that they have read and understood the terms of our Authorisation if they wish to operate within it and this will be built into the GoMembership system.

5.2 Remote Pilot Responsibilities
It is a condition of our Authorisation that Remote Pilots comply with the following requirements (largely common sense):

Before flying, it is a requirement to:

During the flight, it is a requirement that you:


** Note. The BMFA Registration Competency Certificate test will ask you questions relevant to the terms and conditions of the BMFA model flying Authorisation. In contrast the CAA DMARES test will ask you questions about the general rules in CAP 722 that do not apply when flying in accordance with the Authorisation. Whilst passing either test is legally acceptable, it is recommended that members intending to use the Authorisation take the BMFA test, which is directly relevant to their flying activities.

6. Where can I fly?
Essentially, wherever you fly now.

The Authorisation is valid throughout the UK at:

7. How high can I fly?
The new regulations limit the operation of all unmanned aircraft to 400ft above the surface.  However, our Authorisation permits members to fly above 400ft, subject to:

(NASA has a Memorandum of Agreement with Netherthorpe Aerodrome see www.nasa0406.org.uk   -  home page to link to the document.  It is necessary for members to know all the procedures in the document to operate safely and particularly in the event of a ‘fly-away’).

When operating at heights which may exceed 400ft, it is essential that members maintain a good look out for manned aircraft.  If a manned aircraft appears in the vicinity, their model aircraft should be brought down to under 400ft as quickly as is safely practicable.

8. Separation Distances from uninvolved persons
The stipulation of separation distances from uninvolved persons is a new requirement (the default distance within the EU regulations for most of our operations being 50m), but we have reached a compromise agreement with the CAA to ensure that the terms of our Authorisation are appropriate for our established operations.

            This has a particular concern when flying at NASA as dog walkers and the public using the footpath down the south west side of the field do not understand our rules.  We have to be conscious of any person walking

            across our field even though the footpath (which is rarely used) is a public right of way and therefore it must continually monitored and particularly during take-off and landing, which may allow a model to encroach on the 30 metre rule.

There are no minimum separation distances for model aircraft with an MTOM under 250g.

8.1 Model Aircraft with an MTOM between 250g and 7.5Kg
Our Authorisation stipulates that model aircraft (other than free flight aircraft) between 250g and 7.5Kg cannot be operated:

8.2 Model Aircraft with an MTOM between 7.5Kg and 25Kg
Our Authorisation stipulates that model aircraft with an MTOM between 7.5Kg and 25Kg cannot be operated:

9. Dropping of Articles
The new regulations prohibit the dropping of any materials from a model aircraft, but our Authorisation exempts us from this requirement subject to the following condition - The remote pilot must not cause or permit any article or animal to be dropped from an unmanned aircraft so as to endanger persons or property.

10. Provisions for ‘trial flights’
Our Authorisation permits the continuance of ‘trial flights’ for non-members.

The non-member may operate the controls of the model aircraft and does not need to comply with the competency requirements whilst under the direct supervision of a member.

The member supervising the flight must be registered as an Operator and display their Operator I.D. on the aircraft.

11. Provisions for Overseas Visitors/Competitors
Overseas visitors/competitors are permitted to operate within the terms of our Authorisation provided that they hold a temporary membership of the BMFA and agree to comply with the terms of the Authorisation (including the remote pilot competency requirements).

Overseas visitors/competitors must also carry the Operator I.D. number of a UK ‘Host’ on their aircraft.

12. Provisions for Model Flying Displays
Our Authorisation permits any operator/remote pilot to operate a model aircraft as part of a flying display within the terms set out in the Authorisation plus CAP 403 and CAP 658.

If the flying display height will exceed 400ft, it must be notified to other airspace users through the use of a NOTAM.

If the flying display requires operations which fall outside of our Authorisation (such as a requirement to operate aircraft with a MTOM exceeding 7.5Kg above 400ft), then a separate Authorisation and a specific Model Aircraft Display Authorisation must be obtained directly from the CAA.

13. Reporting Requirements
Our Authorisation includes the requirement to report certain accidents, serious incidents and other occurrences.  This is an existing requirement and is referred to in the current BMFA Members Handbook (Section 21) and CAP 658 (Chapter 13).  However, the CAA are wanting to reinforce the requirements (full details can be found in CAP 722).

Therefore, it is a condition of our Authorisation that correct reporting to the AAIB and the CAA must be carried out. For further details see https://rcc.bmfa.uk/reporting

13.1 AAIB Reporting Requirements
The following must be reported to the AAIB if they involve a model aircraft and result in a fatality or serious injury:

This requirement differs from the requirements outlined in CAP 722 but reflect the current agreement in place between the model flying community and the AAIB.

13.2 CAA Reporting Requirements
The following must be reported to the CAA:

The following must be reported to the CAA, as a specific condition of this authorisation:

Section B - Aircraft Specific Conditions of our Article 16 Authorisation

Our Article 16 Authorisation includes some provisions for specific types of model flying operations.  Some of these directly replace existing permissions/exemptions, such as the operation of control line aircraft within a Flight Restriction Zone and the operation of First Person View aircraft.

1. Physically Constrained unmanned aircraft
Our Authorisation defines a physically constrained aircraft as a model aircraft that:

1.1. Operation with an aerodrome Flight Restriction Zone (FRZ)
Permission is not required to operate a control line/round the pole model aircraft within an FRZ, provided that:

1.2.  Exemption of some control line and round-the-pole model aircraft from the EU regulations.
Control line/round the pole model aircraft are exempted from all of the requirements of the EU regulations including Operator Registration and Remote Pilot Competency, provided that:

In addition, our Authorisation exempts Remote Pilots of control line/round the pole aircraft from the competency requirements altogether (even if the MTOM exceeds 1Kg) though they will be still be required to register as an Operator.

2. Free Flight Model Aircraft
Our Authorisation defines a free flight model aircraft as follows:

A free flight model aircraft cannot be remotely piloted and does not have software or systems for autonomous control of the flight path. A flight termination device may be fitted. The aircraft trim is adjusted prior to flight. The aircraft is trimmed (and fuelled if applicable) with the intent that it will follow a substantially circular path relative to the air and ultimately glide to a low velocity landing. A free-flight unmanned aircraft will drift relative to the user depending upon the speed and direction of the wind. The person in charge of the free-flight unmanned aircraft is deemed to be the remote pilot for the purposes of this authorisation.

Some specific requirements for free flight have been included within our Authorisation.  Most of these requirements are not new and generally reflect the requirements of the existing law (and how it should have been being applied already):

A free flight model aircraft must only be launched:

Within the terms of out Authorisation, the Operator/Remote Pilot of any free flight aircraft with an MTOM of less than 250g which is likely to operate at a height above 400ft, must be registered as an Operator and have evidence of Competency (such as passing the BMFA online test).

3. First Person View (FPV) Model Aircraft
Our Authorisation defines first person view aircraft as follows: In First Person View operations the remote pilot flies the aircraft using images provided by cameras aboard the aircraft. When flying FPV the remote pilot cannot monitor the flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions to the same extent as a remote pilot maintaining external direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft.

Our Authorisation incorporates the terms of our existing FPV exemption, but also includes specific provision for FPV ‘drone racing’ which the BMFA had been discussing with the CAA for some time.

3.1 FPV Drone Racing
A model aircraft may be flown by a remote pilot using first person view subject to the terms of our Authorisation and provided that the aircraft is operated:

Individual remote pilots do not require their own ‘competent’ observer when operating under this provision.

3.2 General FPV Flying

A model aircraft may be flown by a remote pilot using first person view subject to the terms of our Authorisation and provided that:

 

And the aircraft is not flown:

 

 

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