Following the recent sudden announcement of Flight Restriction Zones around protected aerodromes capturing the operation of all unmanned aircraft of any weight and at any height (and the unreasonable three week notice period given for our clubs and members to comply), the CAA has dropped yet another bombshell on us with no prior warning.
They have today published a consultation (CAP1775) on their proposed charges for the registration of all operators of unmanned aircraft – which includes all of our members. The fee the CAA is proposing is £16.50 per annum which is significantly more than the cost levied on model flyers in any other EASA country, something they have conveniently omitted from the comparison figures in the document. An interesting direct comparison not included is France where their equivalent registration scheme is completely free and valid for five years.
It is accepted that the EASA regulations do mandate the registration of all operators of unmanned aircraft (including model flyers) in their country of residence, but also state that in terms of model flying ‘Associations may register their members into the registration system on their behalf’ which the CAA have made excessively onerous and also completely disregarded in their consultation document.
There are some significant costs associated with the ongoing upkeep of the CAA registration system which they are expecting you to pay for. We believe that their figures for the number of users registering in the system are also somewhat ‘optimistic’ and the consequence of fewer users could be even higher costs. The BMFA did offer to make its new membership system available to the CAA at cost, but didn’t receive any response!
We believe that the proposals will be detrimental to the future of model flying in the UK and place requirements on us which are more excessive than those for manned aviation – despite the DfT/CAA acknowledging that model flying has established an excellent record over the last century. Even in France where the registration scheme is free, the model flying community has already reduced by 10%.
The UK Model Flying Associations are strongly opposed to the CAA’s proposals and believe that they represent the worst excesses of ‘gold plating’ of regulations (something which the CAA are committed to avoid). We would strongly encourage all members to respond to the consultation and register their concerns without delay (please encourage your club mates to do the same) before the UK Government/CAA destroy model flying in the UK.
The UK Model Flying Associations will continue to work with the CAA & DfT and bring political pressure to bear to try and minimise the impact of excessive regulation on our members, but we need your support to show the strength of feeling, so please respond to the consultation.
Full details of the consultation and how to respond can be found here: https://consultations.caa.co.uk/finance/drone-registration/
The consultation will close on 7 June 2019.