Model aircraft are a type of remotely piloted 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:
- Within the Open category
- Within the Specific category
- Within the Specific category as member of a CAA recognised model aircraft association (Article 16 Authorisation). If you are a member of a recognised model aircraft association, they will provide you with the details of any authorisation you are able to make use of and the conditions you must comply with. There are more complex rules for flying model aircraft under an Article 16 Authorisation. Association members wishing to make use of such an authorisation, should contact their association for further information.
Guidance for model aircraft clubs within the vicinity of aerodromes
A number of model aircraft clubs operate within the vicinity of aerodromes, some within the aerodrome’s flight restriction zone.
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.
We recommend 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.