New Model Flying Definition and BMFA Membership Insurance

Data, Development & Demonstration Insurance

This is an area that we have been looking at for some time and we have been in discussion with the our insurers and the CAA to clarify activity that falls into the grey area between Aerial Work and Sport and Recreational activity.

The current position for COMMERCIAL OPERATION is clearly defined by the CAA, if a pilot intends to undertake Aerial Work with a “model aircraft” then it must take place under the terms of a permission granted by the CAA, the permission will include an exemption to certain provisions of the Air Navigation Order as well as stipulating conditions for the activity such as pilot competence, separation distances and height limits. This is not model flying.

Sport and Recreation is also clearly defined, and forms by far the vast majority of activity carried out by BMFA members.

One of the issues with the current system is that if activity doesn’t fall into the Commercial Operation category (which is nothing to do with model flying), then by default it becomes Sport and Recreation as there has been nowhere else for it to go, the most concerning effect of this is the potential exposure to risks outside the scope of the insurance provided as a benefit of BMFA membership.

In order to address this area of concern we have implemented a membership extension that includes insurance cover for activity which falls into a new Data, Development and Demonstration category of activity.

The new definition covers a wide range of activity that falls outside of the Sport and Recreation definition, but does not trigger the requirements for Commercial Operation (for example, because no payment is made for flights). The membership extension includes broad insurance coverage for D, D and D activity, and if you are undertaking flights where the purpose is clearly other than Sport and Recreation but not Commercial Operation, then you may be able to benefit from the cover provided under the membership extension.

The long term aim is that the definition will feature in CAP 658, and the CAA have confirmed their support for the move, however, the legal wheels turn relatively slowly so it may take a while for the wording to appear in the relevant document.

The definitions wording is reproduced below, study carefully and of course call the office to discuss your proposed activity if you are not sure where it fits, as already outlined, by far the vast majority of BMFA members activity falls within the existing Sport and Recreation definition.

1.    SPORT AND RECREATIONAL (existing):   Flights undertaken where the primary purpose is enjoyment derived from the observation, control, piloting and display of model aircraft. This includes the capturing of images and footage for the purpose of personal entertainment and recreation. 

2.    DATA, DEVELOPMENT AND DEMONSTRATION FLIGHTS (new):  Flights undertaken where the primary purpose is other than Sporting and Recreational as defined in ( 1) above, but where the pilot does not directly benefit financially as defined in Commercial Operation (3).  This includes the capturing of data including  images and film footage, flights carried out for the purpose of product development, training/testing  (other than in respect of the BMFA achievement schemes and sport and recreation as defined in  (1) above), education and commercial demonstration (trade display flights). 

3.    COMMERCIAL OPERATION (existing): Flights undertaken for the sole purpose of commercial or personal financial gain and carried out in compliance with CAA requirements for this activity (this is not model flying).

There is an additional fee of £75.00 payable to activate the membership extension.

Initially the membership extension is not available to purchase through the website, however the application form can be downloaded from the link below and you can call the BMFA office to make payment.

Application Form