Radio controlled model aircraft flying has a very impressive safety record due in no small part to the fact that all those involved in the hobby regard safety as an extremely important issue. In a model flying club, safety is everybody’s business.
Also, as with most aspects of life, there are laws governing all forms of aviation in the UK, and these are administered by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). These regulations are mainly concerned with safety and security and must be taken seriously by all flyers of model aircraft. All operators of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) over 250g weight must register annually with the CAA via a simple online process, and display an Operator Identification Number on each model. (The CAA makes a small charge for registration). In addition there is a requirement for anyone flying a UAV to take a simple free online awareness test to ensure that they understand the legal rules and restrictions which apply.
The SAA and BMFA have been granted certain exemptions and facilities within the CAA regulations, which provide important benefits to their members. Among them is the facility to complete the registration and testing procedures under the auspices of either of these organisations on joining or renewing membership, and the details will be explained to prospective new Club members. However it is always the personal responsibility of each individual to comply with the law and the Club will accept no liability whatsoever in the event of members or visitors failing to comply. Full details are on the relevant CAA website and there is a link to this in the Useful Links page.
Both the BMFA and SAA publish rules and guidelines regarding safety issues, and all affiliated Clubs and their Members are required to abide by them. In addition, each Club has its own rules to take account of local issues such as field location and layout, and especially to impose “No-Fly Zones” in the proximity of roads, car-parks and buildings, and other places where there are people, such as the pits area. This may seem like a lot of rules and regulations, but there are not many of them, and they are simply a common-sense approach to ensuring the safety of everyone involved. Also, since the model flying associations also provide extensive third-party insurance cover as an integral benefit of membership, it is clearly essential that proven safe practices are followed in order to minimise claims and premiums.
Each affiliated Club must be properly constituted and have a Committee comprising officers whose duty it is to carry out the various aspects of club business, and to manage and administer the imposition and application of club rules and safety regulations. All members are required, as a condition of membership, to respect and abide by these rules, and it is incumbent upon each member to make and keep themselves familiar with them.
High energy Lithium-Polymer batteries used in electric flight must be charged, stored and managed with care, as careless use can result in a serious fire. The BMFA publishes free valuable information regarding this issue (see the Useful Links Page), and additional information on this subject is available on our own website from the Articles page.
The Club Rules and other related documents are available as .pdf files for download in the Club Details section of this website, and every member should download a copy of these for personal reference.