Drone Awareness Month Coming Soon

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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”

QR

2015 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodellers Club was held at the Arrow public House on 24th November 2015.

The minutes are available here, and from the Secretary, John Peedle. The key decisions were the setting of fees for 2016 and the election of new officers:

Fees for 2016 are as follows:

Adult Members – £33 including BFMA subscription
Junior Members – no charge
New member joining fee – £20 (plus BMFA subscription of £33)

The following officers were re-elected unanimously:

Mark Pope as Chairman
Dave Garrett as Treasurer
John Peedle as Secretary
Jack Mitchell as the Newsletter Editor
Contact details for the Club Officers are available on the Contacts page.

Notice of 2015 Annual General Meeting

The 2015 Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodellers club will take place at 8pm on Tuesday 24th November 2015 at the Arrow in Yeovil.

All members are encouraged to attend.

The Agenda is as follows:

  • Apologies
  • Previous Minutes
  • Chairman’s Report
  • Treasurer’s Report – will include a recommendation for membership fees
  • Election of Officers
  • AOB including WLC update

Government response to Airfields are under threat

Well done to all those that signed the petition. It reached over 10,000 signatures and Government responded:

National policy and guidance recognises the importance of airfields, we will work with the aviation sector to ensure the current policy relating to development on airfields is better understood.

Brownfield land is defined, for the purpose of national planning policy prior to and in the National Planning Policy Framework, as land that has been previously developed. Airfields, as land that has been previously developed, are therefore regarded as brownfield land. A central premise of the policy has been and remains that it should not be assumed that the whole of the curtilage of a brownfield site should be developed. This has been made clear in the definitions of previously developed land set out in Planning Policy Guidance 3 (Housing – revised 2000), Planning Policy Statement 3 (Housing – 2003 as revised) and the National Planning Policy Framework (2012). The definition in Planning Policy Guidance 3 included a footnote which defined curtilage and stated that “where the footprint of a building only occupies a proportion of a site of which the remainder is open land (such as at an airfield or a hospital) the whole site should not normally be developed to the boundary of the curtilage. The local planning authority should make a judgement about site layout in this context, bearing in mind other planning considerations.” Although this detailed explanation of curtilage was not carried forward into Planning Policy Statement 3 the assumption in relation to developing the curtilage of previously developed land, including airfields, has remained the same and there has been no change to the policy relating to airfields in this respect.

Applications for the re-use or modernisation of airfields must be considered in the context of national policy. The National Planning Policy Framework, Planning Practice Guidance, the Aviation Policy Framework and the General Aviation Strategy acknowledge the significant contribution that aviation makes to economic growth across the country.

The National Planning Policy Framework encourages the effective use of land by re-using land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value. The Framework also makes clear that local plans should take account of the growth and role of airfields in serving business, leisure, training and emergency service needs. Applications for planning permission to re-develop airfields must be determined in accordance with Local Plans, Neighbourhood Plans and the London Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The National Planning Policy Framework is a material consideration in planning decisions.

The National Planning Policy Framework strongly encourages early and meaningful engagement and collaboration by local planning authorities with neighbourhoods, local organisations and businesses so that Local Plans, as far as possible, reflect a collective vision and a set of agreed priorities for the sustainable development of the area.

In March 2015, following the General Aviation Red Tape Challenge and the publication of the General Aviation Strategy, Planning Practice Guidance was strengthened to make clear that local authorities should consider the interconnectivity between airfields of different sizes and that they should have regard to the Aviation Policy Framework. The Aviation Policy Framework is clear that maintaining access to a national network of airfields is vital to the continuing success of the sector, and sets out Government policy to allow aviation to continue making a significant contribution to the economy.

In July 2015 the Government announced its intention to legislate to grant automatic permission in principle on brownfield sites identified in brownfield registers, subject to the approval of a limited number of technical details. The Government is taking this commitment forward in the Housing and Planning Bill. Decisions about the suitability of sites for inclusion in brownfield registers and the grant of permission in principle must be consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework. The Government intends to set out criteria to determine the suitability of sites for inclusion on the register in Regulations. We propose to consult on these criteria and the wider policy in due course.

We will work with the aviation sector to ensure the current policy relating to development on airfields is better understood.

Department for Communities and Local Government

Click this link to view the response online:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/106779?reveal_response=yes

Airfields are under threat

Airfields are under threat. Pilots and model flyers are urged to sign a petition on the UK Government Petition website to change the classification of airfields from ‘brownfield’ sites.

The link to the petition is here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/106779

The petition has been started by Stephen Slater, shortly to become CEO of the Light Aircraft Association and also a leading light in the activities of the General Aviation Awareness Council (GAAC) which champions airfield protection.

GAAC says that in 2003 an ‘administrative oversight’ led to the deletion of planning protection from airfields being classified as brownfield sites. As a result, airfields are being closed by developers, breaking transport links and destroying significant areas of natural habitat within airfield boundaries.

The situation has been compounded by a proposal in the Chancellor’s summer budget to allow automatic planning permission to be granted for housing developments on designated brownfield sites.

If this goes unchallenged then many airfield and model flying sites across the UK could be re-developed into housing estates with little chance of saving them.

The BMFA and GAAC needs to get to 100000 signatures for this to be debated in Parliament. Please share as far and wide as possible.

2014 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodellers Club was held at the Westland Leisure Complex on 25th November 2014.

The minutes are available from the Secretary, John Peedle. The key decisions were the setting of fees for 2015 and the election of new officers:

Fees for 2015 are as follows:

  • Adult Members – £65 including BFMA subscription
  • Junior Members – no charge

 The following officers were elected unanimously:

  • Mark Pope as Chairman
  • Dave Garrett as Treasurer
  • John Peedle as Secretary
  • Jack Mitchell as the Newsletter Editor

Contact details for the Club Officers are available on the Contacts page.

Notice of 2014 Annual General Meeting

The 2014 Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodellers club will take place at 8pm on Tuesday 25th November 2014 at the Westland Leisure Complex in the Family Lounge.

All members are encouraged to attend.

The Agenda is as follows:

  • Apologies
  • Previous Minutes
  • Chairman’s Report
  • Treasurer’s Report – will include a recommendation for membership fees
  • Election of Officers
  • AOB including WLC update

2013 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Westland and Yeovil District Aeromodeller Club was held at the Westland Leisure Complex on 26th November 2013.

The minutes are available from the Chairman, Mark Pope. The key decisions were the setting of fees for 2014 and the election of new officers:

Fees for 2014 are as follows:

  • Adult Members – £65 including BFMA subscription
  • Junior Members – no charge

 The following officers were elected unanimously:

  • Mark Pope as Chairman
  • Dave Garrett as Treasurer
  • John Peedle as Secretary
  • Jack Mitchell as the Newsletter Editor

Contact details for the Club Officers are available on the Contacts page.

Indoor Flying

We have fortnightly indoor flying sessions during the Winter months at the Crewkerne Leisure Centre, usually for two hours between 7.00pm and 9.00pm on 1st & 3rd Mondays in each Month – non members welcome – cost should be less than £10.00 per head.

Details are on the latest indoor flying poster in the newsletter archive.