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Model aircraft are a type of unmanned
aircraft. This page provides some
specific guidance on
the regulations that apply to model aircraft.
Model aircraft have been flown for many years in the UK. These models are
often scaled down versions of manned aircraft. Many hobbyists tend to fly
from specific, designated sites and as part of a club environment. However,
‘solo’ flight from other locations is also possible provided that the models
are operated in accordance with the requirements of the law and are flown with
respect to the safety of other people and aircraft.
Model aircraft may be flown:
It is acknowledged that a number of model aircraft clubs operate within the
vicinity of aerodromes, some within the FRZ.
This means that in order to operate, model aircraft pilots will require
permission from the relevant aerodrome. This permission is not necessarily
required on a ‘per flight’ basis, but may be issued on a more general basis by
an air traffic service unit or aerodrome operator. This may be agreed by a
letter of agreement or otherwise. The CAA recommends that model aircraft clubs
near aerodromes establish a relationship with the aerodrome operator, with a
view to facilitating a positive two-way dialogue. Model aircraft
associations may be able to provide specific guidance with regard to engaging
with aerodrome operators.
Should a model aircraft remote pilot, or club, believe that a request to
operate within the airspace associated with an aerodrome, has not been
considered appropriately, this may be reported to the CAA.
Model aircraft with a mass of more than 25kg are termed 'Large Model
Aircraft'. Within the UK, large model aircraft may only be flown in accordance
with an operational authorisation, which must be issued by the CAA.
Form SRG1307 must be completed and returned to the CAA, who will process the
application. CAP658 Chapter 3 provides further guidance. In due course, CAP 658 will be
superseded by a new volume of CAP722.
Anyone wishing to build a large model aircraft should engage early with the
Large Model Association (LMA). The LMA operates a model inspection scheme, and
once satisfied, will issue a certificate of design and construction. This
certificate must accompany the SRG1307 application for an exemption.
Applications made without such a certificate will be rejected.
Model aircraft operating in a display, must do so in accordance with the terms
of the relevant Article 16 Authorisation. Form SRG1308 should be
used for any necessary model aircraft display authorisation, as required by the
terms of an Article 16 Authorisation. Any model aircraft pilot wishing to
participate in, or run, a display event should contact their relevant model
aircraft association for further advice.
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