FPV flight in the UK is heavily regulated. It’s in large parts thanks to the FPV UK Association that they have been operating under an FPV exemption that allowed FPV flights of up to 400 ft altitude, with a weight limit of 1.8kg for fixed wing, and 2.5kg for rotorcraft.
This exemption has now been extended to allow flights up to 1000 feet with drones of up to 3.5kg. Of course, that’s not the only restriction and FPV pilots in the UK are urged to read up on the regulations to be exempt from the otherwise-restrictive
Order 66 Air Navigation Order 166(3).
Full text of the news after the break.
Today’s annual meeting of FPV UK, BMFA, SAA, LMA, BARCS and the CAA was very interesting.
Following 18 months of incident free operation with the current exemption, and a year with a previous issue limited to FPV UK members, the FPV General Exemption for FPV flying will be extended for another 12 months when it comes up for renewal in March 2014.
It was also agreed that the limits will be increased to allow aircraft of up to 3.5kg AUW to be included, up from 1.8kg for fixed wing and 2.5kg for rotorcraft in the current exemption.
Furthermore the maximum altitude will be extended from 400ft to 1000ft when flying under the exemption.
This was a great example of FPV UK, BMFA and the CAA working together and FPV UK looks forward to working with BMFA and CAA in future.
Nb Its very important not to take the 3.5kg weight limit and 1000ft out of context and assume that any one can go off flying FPV, on their own, if they’re within these limits. That is not the case! I emplore all UK FPV pilots to read the exemption and fully understand what this means. www.fpvuk.org/fpv-law explains the current exemption and lists the relevant parts of the ANO.
Only when following the rules in the exemption, may their flying be exempt from 166(3) of the Air Navigation Order. The rest of the ANO still applies. Crucially flying under the exemption must include flying with a Competent Observer who has direct unaided visual contact with the model for the purposes of collision avoidance.
Modern failsafes were also discussed at the meeting – including RTH/ RTL and autoland functions which are now common on multi-rotors. The CAA agreed that where RTH/ RTL features are available they should be used, where autoland is the best available failsafe this should be used. An update to CAP658 will be made in the next release to update this.
Waypoint flying was also discussed. The CAA team said that they had no problem with waypoint flying, within the ANO, so long as control can be taken by the pilot immediately if required – for the purposes of avoiding a collision.
Chairman, FPV UK Association
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