News from BMFA regarding future of model flying

UK Government consultation on the ‘Future of Drones in the UK – We need your help before 17th September!

As reported previously, the government intends to introduce new laws to address the perceived safety, security and privacy threats that arise from the increasing use of drones. These new rules will affect model flying. We would encourage members to support the model flying associations, and your hobby, by responding to the public consultation.  We have prepared some advice to assist members which can be found via the link later in this article.

The government’s proposals are in a document called “Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK” which may be found online here:

The consultation closes on 17th September 2018.

The consultation documents use the term ‘drone’ to mean all aircraft that fly without a pilot on board. They do not distinguish between model aircraft (including manually flown quadcopters) and multi-rotor semi-autonomous aircraft – commonly recognised by the public as drones. The new rules will apply to aircraft exceeding 250g. Therefore, any rules that are developed from this consultation will apply to model flyers.

To protect the interests of our hobby we need to influence the government either:

  •          to create rules for all drones that will not restrict our activities; or
  •          to make special provision for model flyers to operate to a different set of rules.

What can I do?

Respond to the consultation!

The response has to be given by answering a series of questions, either online or by filling in a printed Form. Each question is answered by choosing either “Yes”, “No” and sometimes “Don’t know”. In many cases there is then a “Why” box where reasons for the answer can be added. Those participating can answer as many or as few questions as they wish.

The model flying associations have reviewed the proposals and have chosen the answers to the questions that they believe would best support them in negotiating the future rules for model flying with the Department for Transport. Those answers are set out in this document.

To influence the government we need existing model flyers to respond to the consultation in large numbers with these same answers, so that the results of the consultation will show a majority in favour of our point of view. Remember that you do not have to fill in any of the “Why” boxes if you don’t want to. And, if you do submit any text, it is important that you use your own words; not a direct quote of the associations’ text.

You are, of course, under no obligation to respond to the consultation in this way. You may decide to review the government’s proposals yourself and choose your own answers; you may pick and choose which of the answers suggested below to submit; or indeed ignore the consultation entirely. However, it would help those negotiating on your behalf if large numbers of our members submitted the answers suggested below.

Answering the consultation with the same answers as your association will take about one hour. Obviously, reviewing the proposals and submitting your own answers will take longer.

You can fill in the response anonymously. However, if you do that you will have to complete it in one session. If you enter your name and email address you can complete the response a bit at a time and the system will save your answers and send you a link by email to resume later.

If you do decide to respond to the consultation – thank you for your support!