Model Flying Technology Developments & the BMFA Position.




There is no doubt that we are in a changing environment in terms of what is possible with model aircraft, and the ready availability of equipment capable of capturing high quality stills and film footage in easy to operate and often ready to fly packages.


Many of the latest developments present the opportunity for pilots to operate outside of the recognised definitions for Sport and Recreational model flying, and also present a number of additional considerations and challenges when compared with more “traditional” model flying activity. However there is no reason that the newer disciplines should not co-exist with more established model flying provided that all activity is carried out lawfully.


We are regularly asked what the BMFA “stance” is in relation to the many unlawful flights that regularly appear on the internet and in the national news.


The BMFA stance is to always support model flying activity that is lawful and recognised, which includes recreational aerial photography and First Person View, and to distance the organisation from activity that is not lawful.


What is acceptable and lawful in terms of model aircraft operation, including those fitted with cameras is very clear. The legalities are established within the CAA Air Navigation Order, and we are keen to maintain the current definitions that apply to Sport and Recreational model flying.


The BMFA has a very positive working relationship with the CAA who, like the BMFA are very clear on the distinction between what our model flying members do as lawful activity, and what takes place as unlawful activity, the CAA are also keen to prosecute where there is a strong case and have already prosecuted a small number of individuals proven to be in breach of the Air Navigation Order.


Additionally we have jointly worked toward a further definition that bridges the existing gap between Sport and Recreational model flying and Aerial Work (which is not recognised as model flying), as there is currently a grey area between the two existing definitions, the new definition will be classed as Data, Development and Display activity.


The BMFA continues to provide the best possible package for it’s members, with appropriate levels of insurance protection for sport and recreational flying as standard (£25 million), the cover has now been broadened and a policy extension can be triggered (for an additional premium) to cover activity that falls into the new definition of Data, Development and Display flights.


The UK is currently in a strong position regarding model flying permissions and we enjoy significant freedom of activity when compared to other countries, this position is maintained through a positive working relationship with the CAA along with proactive management from the governing bodies.


This position will only be maintained if we continue to demonstrate that model flyers can continue to conduct their activities within the current legal framework.


The message is clear:


If you are involved in lawful model flying activity, the BMFA is here to support you.