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President's Latest Report

President's Latest Report

The 31st October is rapidly approaching and for many of us recreational flyers it will mean a big reduction in the number of sites where we can legally fly above 400ft (120m).

CASA Instrument 96/17 (available here) released in October 2017 placed a blanket ceiling height of 400ft everywhere in Australia for recreational flyers, except where a CASA approved ceiling height increase applied. The MAAA acting on behalf of its members secured an exemption (Instrument number CASA EX52/18 available here) to 96/17 however the exemption has an expiry date of the 31st October 2018. One aim of the exemption was to provide relief to MAAA members while their respective clubs applied to CASA for ceiling height increases. So, come the 1st November 2018, if you do not have a CASA approved ceiling height increase already in place, then 400ft is the limit. In my opening sentence I didn’t use the word ‘legally’ lightly. CASA Instrument 96/17 is LAW and penalties apply for breaching this LAW.

I don’t know what it will mean to you, but for me, if I am to continue to fly F5J, I will have to travel one and one half hours each way to a club field that has a CASA approved ceiling height increase, this of course assumes these clubs’ current applications are successful. Anyone for 1/12 scale indoor F5J!

Another thing I have to think about is the future of the F5J postal competition. In the monthly results I publish launch heights (as we all do for any F5J Comp, think about it), and not many of us launch below 120m. Should I ask if you are flying legally, am I liable for running the comp if you are not flying legally, I don’t know the answer. More to come on this.

While on rules, do you really understand the 30m rule for recreational flyers? I am told many interpret the rule as a 30m radius hemisphere centred on a person and you must avoid bringing your aircraft anywhere within that hemisphere. Wrong! The rule actually refers to a 30m radius cylinder extending below your aircraft (at any altitude) to the ground and you cannot bring this cylinder over people on the ground. Hence why you cannot fly at any altitude, over the pits and spectator areas at flying events, and also over roads and populous areas. Why, because if a drone (read multi-rotor device) looses power it will fall straight down!

On a brighter note, the 3rd annual F5J Trophy, incorporating the 3rd F5J team selection trial, is being held on the 3rd & 4th November at a field that has a CASA approved ceiling height increase. So visit the LSF website for all the details and get your entry in before the 27th October closing date.

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