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MattyB

Time to consider a BMFA affiliated "UK Soaring Club"?

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MattyB

Just heard from Pierre Rondel of Planet Soaring via Facebook that the French are pushing ahead with onerous new drone laws that will seriously affect model flying. I've not been able to find anything on the topic posted really recently in the English language, (this is the most recent story I found from Sept, and here's another similar account), but Pierre gave the following summary on Facebook:

"To summarise 1/ pilot will now need a special pilot licence given by the government, 2/ he will need to register every model above 800g. With this 2 first points, aeromodelers can fly on every registered field (registered to the DGAC, the equivalent of the FAA).

To fly everywhere else, in addition to point 1 and 2, every model above 800g will need to be equiped with a transponder, light and sound devices!

So you can imagine that for a glider, it won't be easy..."

Some French slope pilots are now accumulating a list of active slope sites, presumably in the hope these can be registered as locations where the transponder/light/sound requirement will not be required. Not sure whether that is realistic though if the law has apparently already been passed.

I am beginning to think that the UK's soaring pilots may need to band together to register all our key slope and flat field sites in use but not under club control under one single "UK RC Soaring" BMFA affiliated club. I do have faith that the BMFA is doing everything they can here to fight our corner, but the prototype EASA regs do make it a lot more onerous to operate from unregistered sites. If we were to make a proactive move and band together now, when/if the regulations do come into place at least our sites would have an "official" track record for safe operations of a few years. What do you think?

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Steve J

There are links to articles on the French law on the FFAM site in the "Worrying" topic. Here is the proposition on the French senate site -

http://www.senat.fr/leg/ppl15-851.html

The French seem to want sites to be registered. I can't see anything about them needing to be approved or club sites. 

I would suggest using the NATS app to get sites on the radar.

Steve

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MattyB

Interesting. That is certainly quite a contrast to the proposed EASA regs which place a significant emphasis on the linkage of sites nationally affiliated clubs; surely they will have to change their laws again when/if the EASA registration requirements then come in?

Either way, I was really using the French situation as an example that the registering of sites looks like it is coming, and to float the idea that we may need to get on with proactive work to aggregate the sites that are not currently under club control under a club banner to ensure our future access. What do you think? To move ahead we would probably only need  a constitution, a website with a sign-up mechanism and site registration option, and possibly a bank account (if it was deemed a nominal membership fee was necessary). At least 5 members would need to join the BMFA through the club too in order for it to be affiliated. Not zero work, but not impossible either. Perhaps I am jumping the gun though...

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FrankS

Matty, re your last point, for a club to be BMFA affiliated while it needs 5 members to join the BMFA through the club, all club members have to be BMFA members, this might not work if some people want to be BARCS members but not in the BMFA.

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Steve J
46 minutes ago, MattyB said:

That is certainly quite a contrast to the proposed EASA regs which place a significant emphasis on the linkage of sites nationally affiliated clubs

As I recall, the EASA prototype doesn't say anything about sites.

The aviation authorities want to avoid conflict between recreational/commercial line of site unmanned aircraft, commercial beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) unmanned aircraft and low flying manned aircraft. The French law would indicate that they see registering recreational RPAS sites and requiring RPAS operating away from these sites to have electronic and visual identification as the way to do this. The CAA/NATS seem to be going down a different route with an app so that people can tell them where they are playing with their toys. 

Where we will we be in three years? Who knows?

Steve

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Austin
2 minutes ago, FrankS said:

this might not work if some people want to be BARCS members but not in the BMFA

You have to have BMFA membership to become a BARCS member.

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pete beadle

Hi all

I think the idea of joining another nationwide club that that complies with the current proposals and the French situation, would be a good move as long as this club is an ADITIONAL club so you can be a member of your own silent flight club as well as the new national club

I also see no reason why individual silent flight clubs can't register their members en bloc to achieve this quickly

As regards costs incurred doing this, I think we should regard these costs as a sort "pre-emptive insurance" and voluntary contributions from individual members could be requested and held in trust centrally, so that only payments essential to comply with these future regulations would be made, as necessary, and only against approved and official invoices , so that no costs other than essential costs should be incurred and outlay reduced to a minimum and remove the need for additional club fees.

Finally, I think there may be ONE small ray of sunlight appearing from being forced to register, fit a GPS and altimeter to our models........ 

That is the findings of the hearing held  as a result of the recent airprox that apparently occurred between a pilot out of Elstree aerodrome and the large electric launch glider being operated from the Phoenix MFC site at South Mimms. The airprox was disproved because the model was fitted with telemetry, the recording of which was used at the hearing to prove the model flyer was never close enough to the full-size plane to be too close to need to file an airprox.

This, along with the pro-active use of the app mentioned recently could be a good way to build up an accurate record of model operations from "our" side, no?

OK - head above parapet, what do you think?

Pete

BARCS1702 

 

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MattyB
1 hour ago, Steve J said:

As I recall, the EASA prototype doesn't say anything about sites.

Not explicitly, but it does implicitly. From pg 8 of the Explanatory note...

"Article 15 provides the transitional provisions for recreational operations of UA in the frame of associations or clubs (‘model aircraft’ operations).It is proposed that they can continue to operate as of today in accordance with National regulations or practices. After 3 years after the entry into force of the regulation an authorisation shall be issued by the national authorities to associations or clubs taking into account their safety record and defining limitations and deviations to the subpart B. No risk analysis will be necessary as the idea is that the safety record, the procedures, the safety culture of the associations and clubs provide an equivalent safety level.
...The reference to associations or clubs has been made because they have a structure, procedures and safety culture that created good safety record.
This also means that individual hobbyist should either comply with the rules or join an association or club."

The key question is whether the "Competent authorites" (BMFA, LMA etc - "...the authority responsible for the certification, authorisation and oversight of UAS air operations in the Member State where the UAS operator has its principal place of business or place of residence") can also be an association or club themselves. Does membership of the BMFA/LMA (whether via a club or country membership) mean you are operating within a club, and can therefore fly on public access sites as long as you obey the rules? Or do you have to be a member of an an affiliated BMFA/LMA club, which effectively means you can only fly at sites overseen/owned by those clubs?

Maybe I am a pessimist, but my personal belief is that this is nothing to do with safety; it's all about clearing the skies below 400ft to allow commercial use by the likes of Google or Amazon, however technically pie in the sky that may be at the current time. For that reason I doubt very much whether the authorities are going to let any country member of the BMFA fly wherever they want on public access land unless those sites are registered and overseen by some kind of club governance. That I why I am suggesting we may need to create an umbrella affiliated UK Soaring Club to take on that role in the future.

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MattyB
6 minutes ago, pete beadle said:

Hi all

I think the idea of joining another nationwide club that that complies with the current proposals and the French situation, would be a good move as long as this club is an ADDITIONAL club so you can be a member of your own silent flight club as well as the new national club

I also see no reason why individual silent flight clubs can't register their members en bloc to achieve this quickly

Of course; the only reason to create such a club would be to provide an owner for those sites that do not currently have an active club associated with them - flying access to those sites would then be solely for members of the UK Soaring Association (or whatever it is called) and their guests. You can be a member of as many BMFA clubs as you like, so there is no problem going this route, and yes there would be no reason that members of existing silent flight clubs could not sign up their members en-mass.

The only requirement would be for there to be a governance model (provided through a simple constitution), membership sign-up and and site registration process. Once setup admin should be minimal, but could be facilitated by the BMFA directly, BARCS or a small number of members forming a traditional committee.

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Steve J
16 minutes ago, pete beadle said:

fit a GPS and altimeter to our models........ 

Interesting that you should say that, I am currently homebrewing some Spekkie GPS telemetry units and fitting them to my larger power models.

16 minutes ago, pete beadle said:

That is the findings of the hearing held  as a result of the recent airprox that apparently occurred between a pilot out of Elstree aerodrome and the large electric launch glider being operated from the Phoenix MFC site at South Mimms.

2015191?

Steve 

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Steve J
17 minutes ago, MattyB said:

Maybe I am a pessimist, but my personal belief is that this is nothing to do with safety; it's all about clearing the skies below 400ft to allow commercial use by the likes of Google or Amazon, however technically pie in the sky that may be at the current time. For that reason I doubt very much whether the authorities are going to let any country member of the BMFA fly wherever they want on public access land unless those sites are registered and overseen by some kind of club governance. 

The CAA/NATS app would seem to indicate that they don't want to 'clear the skies'. They just want us to tell them where we are flying and for us to know where controlled and restricted airspace is.

Steve

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MattyB
2 minutes ago, Steve J said:

The CAA/NATS app would seem to indicate that they don't want to 'clear the skies'. They just want us to tell them where we are flying and for us to know where controlled and restricted airspace is.

Steve

If we were negotiating with the CAA I really would not be so worried - they have proven to be pretty pragmatic when it comes to model flying in the past. The problem is we aren't, and based on the prototype regulation from the EASA (and using the BMFA's own worlds) they seem to prefer an approach more akin to "using a sledgehammer to crack a non-existent nut"!

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Fletch

So, where does this leave me and others like me who fly on the beach, causing no trouble to anyone, when the tides out(between high and low water marks)?

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Steve J
16 hours ago, MattyB said:

From pg 8 of the Explanatory note...

You didn't highlight one of the critical sentences -

"It is proposed that they can continue to operate as of today in accordance with National regulations or practices."

16 hours ago, MattyB said:

flying access to those sites would then be solely for members of the UK Soaring Association (or whatever it is called) and their guests

Unworkable. 

Steve 

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martynk

I am quite content with the idea of a National 'Virtual' UK Soaring Society for the purpose of collating and registering non club related flying sites - both flat field and slope. There is already a website https://weatherpermitting.xyz/ where sites can be 'pinned' quite easily with appropriate comments. This would be a good start point and an easy check for data duplication.

Its likely that the most arduous task that we may be involved in would be the registration of sites, its probably better that we start collating this information now.

One thing that isn't clear to me is how a flying site will be registered - is it where the pilot is located or the area that model would normally be flown in? TBH, I am not sure that it really matters as long as something is logged.

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simon_t
22 hours ago, Fletch said:

So, where does this leave me and others like me who fly on the beach, causing no trouble to anyone, when the tides out(between high and low water marks)?

High and Dry?

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andyharrold
3 hours ago, simon_t said:

High and Dry?

you beat me to it!

 

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Jef Ott

Surely we already have the National Soaring Club in place. It's called BARCS.

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Brett82
10 hours ago, Jef said:

Surely we already have the National Soaring Club in place. It's called BARCS.

That's exactly what I was wondering, same as when there was talk of the magazine. 

Most slope soarers in the UK know about this forum or are registered so it would make the perfect platform. 

Maybe Austin would care to comment if BARCS could potentially be a platform if it was deemed we needed to set something up. Those are big if's though, no one can say for sure if it's required but nothing wrong with knowing what options are available early on.

Brett 

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pete beadle

Hi all

Originally, when this "nationally registered club/organisation" was floated, I too thought first of BARCS, but, on later reflection, and with reference to my previous dealings with legislators and local and national government, I don't think they'd want to deal with a national club or association already in existence

I may be wrong here but I believe legislators need to be able to refer back to what they specified as being required/needed, and that  is a NEW national organisation, not one already in existence.......IMO I don't think extending an already established organisation would meet their criteria, and therefore would NOT be what they would accept in this instance 

Pete

BARCS1702 

 

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