On 30th May we will be laying an amendment to the Air Navigation Order 2016 in Parliament. Following the government’s consultation last year, this will put into law the requirements for:
1. operators of drones of 250g and above to be registered
2. pilots flying these drones (known as ‘remote pilots’) to obtain an acknowledgement of competency from the CAA, having passed requirements set by the CAA such as an online safety test to prove their knowledge of the restrictions
3. a height limit of 400ft for all drone flights
4. a restriction from flying drones within 1km of protected aerodromes in the UK, unless you have the permission of the Air Traffic Control unit in question.
Measures 1 & 2 will not come into force until 30th November 2019 to give drone users time to adjust to this change and allow the Civil Aviation Authority to complete their work on the systems and educational materials required to implement these policies.
Measures 3 & 4 will come into force sooner on 30th July 2018, i.e. 2 months from now. With regards to both the 400ft and airports restrictions, where drone operations are deemed to be safe enough, the CAA will have the power to exempt operators from adhering to these rules. This will allow safe, innovative and positive commercial use of drone technology to continue.
Clearly these changes stand to affect our members. So, over the last several months, the model flying associations (FPV UK, BMFA, LMA, SAA) have been working with with the CAA and DfT to come up with solutions which take into account the safe history of those organisations.
In answer to a recent Parliamentary Question tabled by the UK Model Flying Associations, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport said:
The Government recognises the long-standing safety culture adopted by model flying associations. We are working with the Civil Aviation Authority and model aircraft flying associations to explore ways in which we can reduce any unnecessary impacts of drone regulations on their activities.
We will be taking this approach to the draft Drone Bill, too The draft Drone Bill will be accompanied by a public consultation which will cover the impact of the proposed Bill on all affected groups, including model aircraft flyers. The feedback from this consultation will be used to refine the Drone Bill before its introduction.
It is not possible to publish specific details whilst discussions are ongoing; but suffice as to say that FPV UK’s position is that our members should not be adversely affected from the situation today.
We are working with the regulators to reduce any impact on our members as much as possible.
For example; we are very hopeful that our members will not have to register with the government; and we are proposing some technical solutions to make it very quick and easy for our members to comply with other elements of the new proposals.
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