Reprinted from the BMFA Club Bulletin.
The Current Position
It is difficult to have missed the huge explosion in popularity of multirotor aircraft equipped with cameras, or “drones” to use the more common reference.
Sadly not all the publicity has been good and the media have very much “jumped on” on the relatively small number of negative stories involving the irresponsible and unlawful use of drones.
The BMFA has maintained a close working relationship with the Civil Aviation Authority who have ultimate responsibility for all aviation in the UK, and we have jointly worked on a number of initiatives to inform and educate new drone pilots, particularly those who are not coming into model flying through the more established route of traditional model aircraft and club membership.
Of course the latest technological developments have made drones far more accessible to the general public, through lower pricing and perhaps more significantly, ease of use and operation. For the first time ever it is possible for a complete newcomer to purchase a radio controlled aircraft (in this context we are talking mainly “drones”), completely ready to run and having charged the battery, to go out and fly with no training, experience or prior knowledge, it is exactly this type of new pilot that we are wanting to target in order that they can be provided with the knowledge and information to fly safely and lawfully.
A Joint Initiative
We [the BMFA] are working with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the concept of the Drone Awareness initiative as they also see the benefit in educating and informing the wider general public on the safe and lawful operation of drones.
The Drone Awareness initiative will be taking place for the whole month of April 2016 and will feature a number of elements which combined will help to raise awareness of the legal requirements and considerations when operating a drone, and also to help improve public perception and knowledge of drones. Of course, an important aspect of the initiative is to raise awareness of the BMFA as the “go to” association for sport and recreational drone and model aircraft pilots, both in terms of the insurance package provided as part of the membership, and also in terms of the range of services and support provided to members and also the benefits of being part of a recognised and well respected association.
BMFA Members and Clubs
The beginning of the Drone Awareness Month will be marked by a high profile launch with significant press attendance, however the primary aim is to involve BMFA members, Areas and clubs as part of the ongoing activity, clubs that feature drones and multirotors as part of their regular activity will be encouraged to put on events and initiatives, not only to raise awareness and knowledge in their specific area but also as a method of recruiting new members.
We [the BMFA] will be contacting clubs and making resources packs available early in the New Year and further updates will be published as the project moves forward.
Partners and Sponsors
The aim is to engage a range of partners to support Drone Aware and to help in promoting the initiative as widely as possible, both from inside the modelling trade and also with external organisations.
We are already working with a number of organisations and clubs and the initial response has been very positive, if you would like you club to be involved then contact the BMFA office for further information. Keep an eye on the BMFA website for further updates and also the dedicated Drone Aware website www.droneaware.org.
A smart phone friendly version of the site can be viewed using the QR code below.
The message is “Be Safe, be lawful, be drone aware”