CAA Notification of military ‘jamming trials’ which may affect the operation of model aircraft and drones

We have received notification of three ‘jamming trials’ which may impact the operation of model aircraft and drones.  The details are as follows:

Luce Bay, Scotland – 14th September – 4th December:  affecting GPS and 2.4/5.8GHz  (Start date changed from 8th Sept)

Wales & SW England – 7th – 11th September:  affecting GPS on drones

Salisbury Plain and the New Forest – 7-18 September:  affecting 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz

The CAA have commented that:

Unfortunately, from time to time there is a requirement for military operators to execute trials in frequency bands utilised by a variety of aviation stakeholders. The CAA engages with the operators of military jamming trials through a procedure known as the Peacetime Controls of Non Operational Jamming. As one of the stakeholders of this group we receive all notifications of jamming activities within the UK that impact the bands that we manage (predominantly for radar and other navigational aids) and for bands that we do not. For example licence exempt or ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) bands such as 433MHz and 2.4GHz etc. Whilst these bands are typically managed by Ofcom, we are aware of the implications of jamming for a variety of aviation stakeholders.

As a result we ensure that relevant and targeted notifications are generated to notify airspace users of potential interference or interruption. This is achieved through the form of both a NOTAM and a Skywise alert.

Unfortunately, as you may know, the operation of equipment on these bands is managed by Ofcom, and is typically under a non-interference/no protection basis, as described on the Ofcom website.

The CAA have asked us to raise awareness of these notifications so that members are able to make informed decisions regarding their flying activity.  The CAA have also asked us to alert members to their Skywise notification system, which anyone is free to sign up to.  You can find out more about this on the Skywise website.

The CAA have emphasized that the impact distances provided in the alerts provide a worst case scenario and typically closer to the ground the impact radius of jamming is reduced, especially on the ground or below 500ft. 

The BMFA has also agreed to work with the CAA to ensure that any future notifications which may affect our members are directly notified through the BMFA’s own communication channels.