BMFA – CAA Article 16


Please check here for the latest information from the BMFA

There are links on this page to other documents however there a two areas that need to be understood in relation to flying at our field.

NASA has a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ with Netherthorpe Airfield to allow us to continue to fly at our field. It is necessary for members to know all the procedures in the document to operate safely at our field, and particularly if a model flies uncontrolled out of our flying area.

8. Separation Distances from uninvolved persons
The stipulation of separation distances from uninvolved persons is a new requirement (the default distance within the EU regulations for most of our operations being 50m), but we have reached a compromise agreement with the CAA to ensure that the terms of our Authorisation are appropriate for our established operations.

This is a particular concern when flying at NASA as dog walkers and the public using the footpath down the south side of the field do not understand our rules or the dangers that can occur from flying models. We have to be conscious of any person walking across our field or down the footpath (which is rarely used) but is a right of way and therefore any activity must be observed not to infringe the 30 metre rule. Following our rules it is highly unlikely that our members would ever infringe the 15 metre rule during take off and landing. Members should also be aware of the public footpath that runs almost parallel to our runway some 460 yards to the North of our field.

Our NO FLYING ZONE at any time (shown on our flying field safety map here) includes the restriction to not overfly the road and to maintain distance from the Butterfly House at all times, including your landing approach.




Why have the regulations changed? (Note: Reference to CAP722. This CAP number may change, see latest information in the link).

The UK adopted the EU regulations for model flying in 2019 and these will come into effect on December 31st, 2020.  This is the same day that we exit from the EU, but regulations in place at the point of departure will be transferred directly into UK law.

Some requirements of the EU regulations were already in place (such as a height limits, Operator Registration and Competency requirements) following changes to the Air Navigation Order set out in 2018, but the EU regulations introduce further changes.  Full details of the regulations for the operation of unmanned aircraft (which includes model aircraft) can be found in CAP 722.

Given the excellent safety record established by model flyers throughout Europe, the EU agreed that model flying conducted within the framework of Associations like the BMFA should be subject to more flexible regulation to allow us to continue largely ‘as we do today’.  The mechanism to facilitate this is referred to as an ‘Article 16 Authorisation’ (within the ‘Specific Category’) and this document provides a guide to how the Authorisation we have negotiated with the CAA applies to our members with effect from December 31st, 2020.

The new regulations allow for alternative sets of rules to be applied to unmanned aircraft. The ‘Open Category’ rules set out in CAP722 can be used by anyone in the UK, regardless of whether they are members of any club or association and, amongst other things, include a ban on flying above 400ft. The Open Category requirements will not apply to BMFA members flying in accordance with the terms and conditions of our Article 16 Authorisation.

Model aircraft below 250g which are operated in accordance with our Authorisation are subject to the terms and conditions of the Authorisation.  However, in most circumstances they may also be operated within the Open Category instead and so be flown in accordance with the basic requirements outlined in CAP 722 for an aircraft of less than 250g without a camera (i.e. no registration, competency or age requirements but operation limited to less than 400ft).

This guide explains the meaning of the Article 16 authorisation that the CAA has granted to the BMFA.