Author Topic: 400 Feet Rule  (Read 805 times)

Offline Bob Wasson

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400 Feet Rule
« on: 13, February 2020, 08:47:33 am »
https://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/electric-pattern-aircraft-385/11668507-divergent-kits-4.html#post12582679


I can't comment on whether these predictions are well founded.  If they are, they could change the face of model flying in the US and elsewhere.


Yet another potential challenge for our governing bodies and their membership.


Bob




Offline Peter Jenkins

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #1 on: 13, February 2020, 07:11:06 pm »
Bob


At the risk of telling you what you know, the 4 Modelling Organisations (BMFA/SAA/LMA/FPV UK) have been given a number of Exemptions by the CAA one of which covers the 400 ft rule.  See here.  I think it unlikely that the DfT will go back on this as it certainly has the support of the current S of S, Grant Shapps - I think he survived the Cabinet resuffle today as well.


Best regards


Peter

Offline Bob Wasson

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #2 on: 13, February 2020, 07:50:19 pm »
Hello Peter,


Yes I was aware of that and you are quite right to point it out.  I think that our UK governing bodies have done us proud in that respect.


My concern is that huge commercial organisations such as Amazon have immense lobbying power, especially when that power is aligned with governments faced with ever increasing threats of terrorism.  So far, Grant Shapps has served our interests well.  But politicians don't stay in post forever and many can be relied upon to react in a knee jerk fashion, especially when faced with the sensational headlines often favoured by our popular press. You only have to look back to what happened, virtually overnight, to the interests of the legitimate UK target shooting community following the Dunblane tragedy. 


The link related to alleged conversations in the AMA and I sincerely hope that their worst fears don't come to pass.  However if the reports do have substance, it would further increase the pressure on other countries to follow suit.


Forewarned is forearmed.  Whatever happens , in the times in which lie ahead, there is more reason than ever to promote our national governing bodies and to provide them with our full support.


Bob










Offline Mike Wood

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #3 on: 13, February 2020, 07:57:45 pm »
There are a number of links and videos circulating in the US, here's one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehJ9gWl50jg


It is the Remote Id legislation that may be applied to model aircraft.

Mike
« Last Edit: 15, February 2020, 08:12:56 am by Mike Wood »

Offline Peter Jenkins

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #4 on: 13, February 2020, 09:20:08 pm »
We should remember that the BMFA has taken the lead in uniting European aeromodelling groups to lobby as a single voice into EASA.  All of the documents that have emerged from EASA to date flag up the sport of flying model aircraft pre-dates the drone situation, have an excellent safety record and require their ability to continue as now with minimal restriction. 


We should remember that the FAA is still suffering from the fallout from the 737 Max situation and EASA is unlikely to roll over to meet US requirements. 


I hope that the changes due in July when the UK is set to harmonise with EASA regs will reflect the very clear guidance EASA has adopted as regards the continuation of model aircraft operation and competition both national and international.


If the USA decides to enforce the 400 ft limitation it will kill F3A in the USA.  That will have a dramatic effect on the world market for F3A products.  F3A products will certainly get more expensive as the US market dies and the market shrinks.


Let's hope that there is someone close to Trump who takes an interest in checking this hardline approach by the FAA.

Offline Mike Wood

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #5 on: 14, February 2020, 12:10:08 am »
Thanks Peter

Mike
« Last Edit: 15, February 2020, 08:13:39 am by Mike Wood »

Offline Bob Wasson

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #6 on: 14, February 2020, 02:03:32 pm »
Hello Peter,


Your points are well made.  The BMFA is an outstanding organisation.  We are fortunate to have them representing us.  Left to their own devices, I would also trust EASA and the CAA to make logical decisions.  My worry is that when push comes to shove they will do what politicians tell them.  What appears to be in process in America may not have any immediate bearing on current EASA/CAA policy.  But in the event of a major incident it could have an unwelcome influence on European/UK media and public opinion and in consequence European/UK politicians.


Given the potential threats, I think it would be better to be well prepared than not.  Given the speed at which unforeseen events may well unfold, any retrospective action could easily turn out to be too late.  I like what the AMA are doing in terms of preparing promotional material – see link to video in Mike’s earlier post.  I think there is a case for the BMFA and their European counterparts to do likewise and to start preparing draft material (newspaper/TV adverts) aimed at promoting our cause. 


If and when the time comes, any such campaigns are likely to be costly.  That inevitably raises the question of funding.  I believe an appropriate increase in BMFA subs may very well be justified in support of building up a fund.  Such a move is unlikely to be widely popular.  And there is an argument for saying that any such campaigns are unlikely to be successful anyway.  Nevertheless, they could just make the difference between continuing with our hobby as we know it and having it consigned to history. 


To some this will sound like scaremongering.  I would prefer to regard it as sensible forward planning.


Bob

Online Ashley Hoyland

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #7 on: 17, February 2020, 02:44:01 pm »
Thank you Bob for broaching the subject which would cause F3A pilots in particular huge problems.

Before too many speculators joined the discussion I thought I should get the official view and pointed David Phipps towards this thread.

I received the following reply which David has agreed I can share.

Dear Ashley,

Many thanks for flagging this up.

The AMA have negotiated very successfully over recent years, but as we know from our own experience, a great deal can depend upon a very small number of decision makers.

We were fortunate that Grant Shapps was able to intervene in a very positive way.  I believe that the AMA lost a key political ally recently and this is making life difficult for them at present.  Last time I spoke with my counterpart in the AMA he remained optimistic that sense would prevail ultimately.

In terms of the UK, the power of Amazon is elevated to mythical proportions.  It simply isn’t true!  The reality is that regardless of Amazon, the airspace is predicted to be 10x busier by 2035 and as such has to develop and evolve (especially if wider use of BVLOS operations is to become a reality).

A general media campaign is not a good use of resources as it doesn’t target or influence those who make the key decisions.  Our previous targeted call to action worked very well and is something we would certainly consider repeating if we identified a need.  However, at this moment in time, there is no reason to suggest that there is any current problem.

The EU regulations come into effect in July and we are working towards that with the DfT & CAA.  Much of what we need is already in place (400ft+ permission, acceptance of members achievements, the ability to register via the Associations, exemptions for Control Line and FPV etc).  The only real change we foresee is that all of these separate provisions get rolled into one single authorisation.

There are certainly challenges ahead in terms of airspace/conspicuity/identification etc, which are not part of the current debate.  We haven’t really started policy discussions in the UK on that, but the European Commission agreed with me previously that we should keep it simple for model flying (perhaps geofence our flying sites) rather than mandate equipage of individual aircraft.  We are already building support for this position with regulators and stakeholders both in the UK and in the EU.


Regards

Dave
 
« Last Edit: 17, February 2020, 02:53:17 pm by Ashley Hoyland »

Offline Peter Jenkins

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #8 on: 17, February 2020, 03:06:37 pm »
Thanks Ashley and Dave.  Nothing like the "horses mouth" to set the record straight.  My pen is poised for the next "Call to Action" from the BMFA!

Online Stuart Mellor

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #9 on: 17, February 2020, 04:04:46 pm »

Hi all. I think the BMFA have been outstanding in their approach. Especially getting Grant Shapps on board for the crucial decisions. I was lucky enough to watch part of the select committees procedures on tv & was well impressed with the BMFA's approach.


As to the Amazon (& others) delivery service by drone - just can't see it happening. Drones are excellent for delivering supplies, drugs etc in remote areas -but warehouse to door delivery? Can't believe it will happen. For one thing the drones would be vandalised/stolen & anyway - how can they deliver a 15" pizza through a 9" letterbox? Not thought it through, have they? (sorry)

Offline Mike Wood

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #10 on: 17, February 2020, 06:45:33 pm »
Ashley

Thanks for getting this clarification and to Dave and the BMFA for their continuous work!

> ... perhaps geofence our flying sites ...

This could be a good solution.

Stuart, I know what you mean, but if it becomes commercially viable it is likely to happen ... drones
cost less than human labour.

On a lighter note it will be interesting to see how drone delivery will cope with the recent flying conditions!

Mike
« Last Edit: 17, February 2020, 06:47:48 pm by Mike Wood »

Offline Bob Wasson

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #11 on: 17, February 2020, 07:07:57 pm »
Hello Ashley,

Thank you for taking the trouble to flag this up with Dave.  It is good of Dave to take the time to reply and it comes as no surprise to know that he is on the ball.


In his note he makes a number of powerful points.  I don’t really disagree with what he and Stuart say about Amazon.  I would be somewhat wary of underestimating their influence but I also don’t believe that they have thought things fully through.  My main concerns hinge more around rogue elements in our society - especially terrorists and highly organised criminals. I had bitter experience of dealing with both in my earlier life.


I referred somewhat reluctantly to the Dunblane tradegy in a previous post.  However it is a powerful reminder of how public opinion can change government policy regarding hobbies virtually overnight. (In that case some might say for the better; but tell that to the legitimate competition marksmen who were affected at the time).


Dave is also quite right to say that we are likely to get better mileage from focussing our immediate efforts on those who make the key decisions.  The welcome and worthwhile support of Grant Shapps is a case in point.  But as he also points out in relation to the AMA, there is always the risk of losing a key ally, especially given the churn rate that we see in politics.


As things stand, I think current BMFA strategy is spot on.  Even so, I would not totally rule out the need to keep the bones of a draft media campaign on ice.  Call it worst case scenario planning if you like.  Any premature or unnecessary release runs the risk of being counterproductive.  But if a major terrorist incident was to take place involving drones or model aircraft, events could unfold rapidly and even our staunchest UK political allies might have little choice but to side with public opinion rather than the needs of 40,000 modellers.  In that scenario, the press would undoubtedly draw comparisons with any differences between what happens here and in other countries.  In such tragic circumstances, a media campaign might be the only remaining weapon in our armoury, even if its chances of success were low.


However one might view things, I hope one point that we can all agree on is that the BMFA are doing an outstanding job and continue to deserve our full support.


Bob

Offline Graham Gooch

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #12 on: 18, February 2020, 06:29:03 pm »
Couldn't resist this image, probably as a result of storm Dennis but if this is how Amazon plan to deliver parcels by Drone, I somehow don't think that it will catch on ?

Offline Mike Wood

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #13 on: 18, February 2020, 07:00:46 pm »
I've completed the form in support of our US friends; for info I only gave my email address and country information.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/12/31/2019-28100/remote-identification-of-unmanned-aircraft-systems

Mike

Online Ashley Hoyland

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Re: 400 Feet Rule
« Reply #14 on: 19, February 2020, 04:10:08 pm »
I really hoped that after posting the comments from David it would stop any further comments on this forum on this subject.


Unfortunately there are posters who find it difficult not let our confidence in the BMFA prevail and if there is any support they want to give others please do it without involving the GBRCAA through this forum.