Club rules & safety codes (amended October 2023)
All members must either hold a minimum of the BMFA 'A' certificate (or equivalent) in their flying discipline or have passed a club competency test - administered by an experienced club member - before flying solo at the field.
Please enter the date of the competency test, along with the name of your assessor, in your personal entry in the club noise log book, located in the clubhouse.
1. On first joining the club, members are deemed to agree to be bound by the BMFA Handbook, PPMFC club rules and safety codes.
The club rules and safety codes are based on the recommendations of the BMFA handbook. If you do not have a BMFA handbook and/or a copy of the club rules and safety codes, contact a committee member who will arrange for you to be provided with a copy. This will ensure our insurance cover is not prejudiced.
2. Any complaints involving an individual member's observance of the club rules and safety codes should be referred to the club committee, first informally and, if necessary, later in writing.
3. Under the Article 16 authorisation that BMFA members can operate under, it is a legal requirement to report certain occurrences to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB). Some occurrences will also need reporting to the BMFA insurers.
The following OCCURRENCES must by law be reported to the AAIB as soon as possible by telephone on 01252 512299 (manned 24 hours/day) and to the CAA ;
• ACCIDENTS - defined as an occurrence which takes place between the time the aircraft is about to take off until it comes to rest at the end of the flight with its propulsion system shut down, in which a person is fatally or seriously injured;
• SERIOUS INCIDENTS – defined as an occurrence where there was a high probability of an ACCIDENT associated with the operation of the aircraft.
In addition to ACCIDENTS and SERIOUS INCIDENTS, it is a legal requirement to report any OCCURRENCES involving manned aircraft to the CAA.
Our Article 16 Authorisation also adds the requirement to report to the CAA any SERIOUS INCIDENTS or other OCCURRENCES which involve;
• Operating above 400ft
• Operating less than 50m from uninvolved people
• Operations at a model flying display
It is also a requirement to report any instances of flights which go beyond the visual line of sight of the remote pilot.
If you need to report an occurrence, or you are not sure if you need to, or who to report an incident to, please complete the pre-reporting form below and you will be guided along the correct process.
Please note: The remote pilots should complete this form.
Use of flying sites
3. The gate to the Kayte Lane site is to be kept closed at all times. The clubhouse, toilet, generator and gate at the Seven Bends site must all be locked when leaving the field if the last person out.
4. Cars are not to be taken onto the field at any site. Under no circumstances should cars be parked in the lane at Seven Bends, on any grassed areas within the site or on the track leading down to the barn.
5. A fire extinguisher is to be on the flight line at all times when turbine engine models are being operated.
6. Dogs are not permitted on the flying sites unless on a leash.
7. Flying is only permitted on all club flying sites between 09:00hrs and sunset on weekdays and Saturdays, 10:00hrs and sunset on Sundays. IC models and turbines are prohibited after 17:30hrs at Seven Bends. At Kayte Lane this may be further restricted by local events, e.g., the presence of school children, gymkhanas etc.
8. If a member is aware of anybody using the sites when flying is not permitted, they should inform a committee member in order that action may be taken to prevent this reoccurring. If in any doubt about flying times, please consult a committee member.
9. Members are not to leave any litter on any flying sites. If an aircraft crashes, all pieces of wreckage are to be removed and disposed of in a suitable place.
10. Unless accompanied by a qualified club member, no member is permitted to fly fixed wing aircraft or helicopters solo until they have demonstrated competence by passing the appropriate BMFA [A] achievement scheme or other examination.
11. Guest flyers are permitted to fly on an occasional basis, and under the following conditions:
a. While accompanied by a club member who is qualified to supervise their flying
b. The guest's model has passed the club noise test, and the details have been entered into the noise test logbook.
c. The guest has proof of BMFA insurance cover.
Supervision of junior members
12. Club policy for the care of junior members is based on the BMFA document via the link below. ↓
A junior club member is any person under the age of 18 years.
13. Junior members must at all times be supervised by a responsible adult. This is to be a parent or guardian, or another person specifically authorised by a parent or guardian for that purpose. The supervising adult assumes complete and total responsibility for the junior member while in their charge.
Any supervising adult is to be adequately experienced for their task. Supervision is to be commensurate with the age, maturity, capability and experience of the junior member.
14. While supervising junior members, senior members are to be aware of the Children Act  and avoid placing themselves in a position capable of misinterpretation or question.
Model power units & weight limits
15. The flying of any model powered by a jet engine, or with a dry weight exceeding 25 kilograms MTOW, on PPMFC flying sites, must first be authorised by the Committee. These models are subject to special flying rules as outlined below. IC and turbine powered models are prohibited on the Kayte Lane Site.
Jet model and large model operations
16. Jet and large models - and to an extent helicopters - have very high energy rotating components so have special safety space needs. Special safety and operating rules for these models are as follows:
a. Jet turbine fixed wing models:
Jet powered models are to be operated in accordance with the regulations as issued by the Jet Modellers Association [JMA]. Particular attention must be paid to the no solo flying rule, and a spotter must be used at all times during the flight.
Turbine and large model engines must NOT be started in the general pit area but in a turbine/large model area, well away from other operators. Turbine operations are NOT permitted when local crops are ripe and not harvested due to the high fire risk. [Contact any committee member for confirmation of operations status.]
b. Jet turbine/larger helicopters
Due to the large amount of energy within a helicopter's rotor system, these machines are to be a minimum of 30 metres away from the pits when hovering or flying. Under no circumstances should the rotor system be allowed to run on the ground in the pits.
c. Hovering and setting up
Novice helicopter pilots and those wishing to set up their model must hover in a designated area which will be decided on the day as wind conditions will dictate its position.
Jet model rules
(Adapted with the kind permission of Harry Curzon)
These rules are in addition to the regular site rules which must also be complied with.
1) All members are to ensure that their aircraft operations comply with the requirements of CAP 722, Article 16 Authorisation, the latest edition of the BMFA Members' Handbook and the BMFA Code of Practice for the Operation of Gas Turbine Powered Model Aircraft. It is the pilot's responsibility to ensure that the aircraft and its operation comply with all relevant legislation.
2) Pilots must be current BMFA Members and holders of a BMFA ''B' Certificate
(including both pilots if using a buddy box system).
3) There is to be no lone flying of jets. Pilots are to have a competent spotter with them when flying to monitor any other air and/or ground activity that the pilot needs to be made aware of. The spotter is to advise the pilot in the event of any action required.
4) There may be periods when jet flying is banned due to dry/ripe crops under the flying area.
5) There are several very experienced jet fliers in the Club. If you are new to jet flying it is highly recommended that you seek their assistance for your first few jet flights.
6) Turbine powered models are limited to a maximum of 140 Newtons of thrust.
7) There are to be no fuel spills. Overflow/taxi tanks are to be used at all times.
8) A suitable and serviceable fire extinguisher is to be available to tackle any small fire on site.
9) The model must be clear of the pits to start up, this to be in a designated start-up area. Turbines must not be started in any other part of the field.
10) When starting and running the engine(s), the exhaust should be directed away from the pits, any persons or crops. All non-essential people are to be kept clear of the vicinity of the aircraft when its engine is being started and run. Aircraft that are taxying must direct the jet blast away from the pits area.
11) Once started and ready for flight, models are to be restrained until cleared to taxi.
12) Radio failsafe must be programmed to either engine idle or engine shutdown.
13) All aircraft are to be taken-off and landed no closer than the centre-line of the appropriate runway. All flying is to take place no closer than the border of the runway and field when using the North-South strip. When using the East-West strip, aircraft must be flown behind an imaginary line at least 20 metres away from the pilot's box and in line with the runway.
14) There are to be no hovering manoeuvres and no smoke systems.
15) There is to be no flying over public roads.
16) There are to be no aerobatic manoeuvres flown with the model pointing towards the pits.
17) If the model experiences any form of malfunction, control problem or a part becomes detached it must be landed immediately.
18) The Club has an exemption for the 400 ft height limit for models weighing 7.5kg to 25kg. The airfield limit is now 1200 ft and you should take steps not to exceed that height. We have no exemption for models weighing 25kg and over, and these must remain limited to a height of 400 ft. Note that the exemption does not give us any exclusive right to the airspace and that full size aircraft may still cross the airfield at low heights.
17. Only transmitters operating on the 35MHz and 2.4GHz frequency bands are permitted for use on club sites.
THE USE OF TRANSMITTERS OPERATING ON THE 27MHZ BAND IS PROHIBITED.
18. The Committee has the authority to ask that any transmitter which, after a simple test, is suspected of causing interference, be checked. Proof must be provided that its performance is acceptable before that transmitter may be used again on any PPMFC site.
19. When two or more flyers using 35MHz are present, the peg board is always to be used. Members are to be fully aware of the peg board system before turning on any transmitters.
20. Members using 35MHz must provide their own peg on which must appear their name. Members' pegs are to be placed upon the appropriate channel on the peg board before operating their transmitters prior to start up/flight. The peg is to be removed from the board at the end of each flight.
21. The appropriate frequency flag is to be flown on 35 MHz transmitter aerials [see below] and double checked to ensure that the flag matches the crystal fitted to the transmitter.
22. At the Seven Bends site all 35MHz frequencies may be used. Appropriate care must be taken to avoid interference from adjacent channels. Pilots are to clear such action with others involved.
23. At all sites the correct transmitter aerial frequency flags must be flown as follows:
35MH: an orange or white flag with the channel number clearly printed on it.
It is essential that all members adhere to these procedures to avoid accidents.
24. All IC powered models are to have a silencing system such that the engine, at full power and the mixture adjusted to that of flight conditions, will comply with the club's noise test. No noise measurement on the test must exceed 82dB[A]. No model is permitted to fly until the noise test has been passed. The results of a successful test must be entered into the register in the clubhouse.
25. Note: It is anticipated that the BMFA will eventually reduce the maximum limit to 80dB[A] in accordance with European noise legislation. Members should aim to make their models as quiet as possible.
In line with BMFA noise recommendations, turbines are exempt from noise testing at this time but an assessment can be made on an individual case by the committee where required.
26. The noise test is to be conducted as follows:
a. Before taking any measurements, the noise meter should be set to the “BAT” position and the battery condition noted. No test is to be performed if the meter does not pass the battery condition test. Inform a committee member of a failure. For tests, the meter should be set to “A” weighting response and “slow” response. ARE THESE FOR THE OLD NOISE METER???
b. Measurements are to be taken in the open air and away from reflecting surfaces.
27. Fixed wing models.
The model, working at maximum rpm, is to be held between 1 and 2 metres off the ground. The microphone of the noise meter is to be positioned downwind of the model and held away from the body of the person operating it.
The distance of the model from the noise meter is to be 7 metres measured horizontally. The wind speed must not be above 3 metres per second [force 2]. When taking measurements, the noise level emitted is to be taken from the four sides of the model: front, left, rear and right. No reading must exceed 82dB[A].
The following data is to be entered in the noise test book.
a. Owner's name, e.g., Fred Bloggs.
b. Model type, e.g., Wot 4.
c. Engine manufacturer and type, e.g., OS 46.
d. Make and size of propeller, e.g., APC 11x7.
e. The highest noise reading.
f. The signature of the person taking the readings.
Three markers are to be laid out in a line on the flying area, one central, one 7 metres to one side [crosswind] and one 7 metres to the other side [crosswind]. The helicopter is to be held in a steady hover 1 to 2 metres above the centre marker with the pilot standing downwind of it as normal.
Noise readings are to be taken with the meter held 1 to 1.5 metres above the ground at each of the end markers in turn. [When walking with the meter, walk behind the pilot for safety.] Enter the highest reading in the book. All other criteria, including the pass limits, are as for the fixed wing test.
Changes and Challenges.
29. When any changes are made to any model which may affect the noise level emitted e.g., propeller, engine, silencer etc, a further noise test is to be performed, as indicated above, before the model is flown.
If any member suspects that a fellow member's model exceeds the noise limits, they are entitled to request that the model be noise tested. Please note that this should be requested tactfully. Any problems arising from this should be brought to the attention of a committee member.
30. Flying safety is of paramount importance. For this reason, solo flying on all PPMFC sites is strongly discouraged on safety grounds. At Seven Bends, a Safety Marshal will be instituted when operations make it necessary, e.g., competitions and open days etc.
31. The role of the Safety Marshal is to reduce the risk of accident, damage or injury involving members of the public, club members, and their property, by maintaining an overall safety awareness of flying operations in progress.
32. The Safety Marshal is to monitor flying operations at all times and make pilots aware of any potentially hazardous situations which may be developing.
He is to make certain that all pilots are fully aware of the situation until any hazard is clear.
33. In cases of dispute with pilots, the Safety Marshal is the supreme authority at the time. Pilots who wish to challenge his judgement must later refer the matter to the club committee for adjudication.
34. Flight Line Discipline:
When arriving and setting up at the pits, give yourself room to move around without treading on someone else's aircraft.
Flight Line Etiquette:
If you are sharing a 35MHz frequency with someone else present, do not hog the frequency, but take it in turns to fly in order to maximise the flying time and enjoyment of all.
35. Flight Lines and Pits.
Flight lines should be set up so that aircraft taking off and landing do not enter the no-fly zones.
36. Active Runway.
Circuit direction will be dictated by the wind conditions on the day. Counter direction circuits may be flown for training purposes at the discretion of the Safety Marshal.
37. Taxiing in the Pits.
Taxiing into and out of the pits - including hover taxiing by helicopters - is dangerous and is prohibited. Models are not to be pointed towards people and equipment at any time – no one is immune to radio equipment failure or interference
38. Hand Launches.
Hand launches are not to be undertaken from the pits area.
39. Engine Set Up.
Adjustment and mixture setting up of the engine is not to take place on the active runway. Minor engine adjustments may take place in the pit area but sustained high power runs must be conducted away from the pits and well clear of other flyers.
40. Flying Procedures.
The following rules and safety codes apply to all fixed wing operations, and to those helicopter pilots qualified to fly in the fixed wing circuit. The maximum number of internal combustion, piston engined models permitted to be airborne simultaneously at any flying site is three except in the case of club events such as fly-ins etc.
a. Taking Off
b. Always request permission before taking off if other pilots are flying. This reduces the possibility of accidents due to people carrying out low passes unknown to someone wishing to take off.
c. Once it has been established from the Safety Marshal and the other pilots that it is all right to walk out on to the active runway, proceed out on to the active runway whilst listening for the possibility of a pilot already in the air calling out that his engine has stopped. If the call “Deadstick” is heard, the pilot wishing to take off should clear the active runway as quickly as possible and indicate to the pilot calling “Deadstick” that they are clear of the active runway.
d. No fixed wing turbine pilot is allowed on to the runway and in a position at the rear of the airframe during maximum power applications and during take offs.
e. If no warning calls are heard, the pilot taking off should do so without any delay.
Having taken off and settled down, pilots should move away from the active runway and take up a position along with the other pilots in the pilot box.
When two or more pilots are flying simultaneously then they must follow either a left or right hand circuit pattern - wind dependent - to minimise the chances of a mid-air collision.
a. At Seven Bends, do not enter the no fly zones. At Kayte Lane do not overfly the houses. Accidents in these areas are likely to put members of the public at risk.
b. Before carrying out any low flying manoeuvres e.g., touch and go's, overshoots, low passes etc, ensure that the Safety Marshal and all the other pilots present on the flight line are aware of your intention.
At all times when these manoeuvres are taking place pilots should maintain an awareness of what is happening around them, e.g., people possibly walking into the area about to be overflown.
c. If at any time the engine cuts, SHOUT “Deadstick” and check that the active runway is clear. If the active runway is not clear, do not attempt to land on the active runway, but land elsewhere within the field. Ensure that the proposed landing spot is clear of people, cars, property etc.
d. Avoid any manoeuvres which end up with the aircraft pointing directly at the flight line or pits, in case radio or structural failure should occur.
e. At the Seven Bends site, if a crash or land out should occur within the area bounded by the flying field hedges, the wreckage/model is not to be recovered until all the other airborne models have landed. No further take offs are permitted until recovery of the major visible items is complete [max 30 minutes]. In the case of a crash on the runway requiring immediate recovery with other models still airborne, a lookout is to be posted and recovery actions cleared with the Safety Marshal and or other pilots.
A pilot intending to land is to make other people aware of his intention by SHOUTING “Landing” and checking that the landing point is clear. Ensure that the engine is stopped before walking out to the landing point to collect the aircraft.
You are advised to leave your transmitter in the pilot box area with the other pilots, to reduce the risk of causing interference with other aircraft in the air. Once the aircraft and transmitter are collected, return to the pits. After switching off the transmitter, collect your peg if using 35MHz.
41. Helicopter Operations.
Members who are learning to fly helicopters are to use an agreed designated area within the flying site, but away from the active fixed wing circuit. During the learning phase, this will allow safe hovering and close in circuits.
42. Although helicopter pilots will be some way from their fixed wing counterparts, STRICT FREQUENCY CONTROL as detailed above MUST BE OBSERVED.
This requires a high degree of communication between all flyers on the site.
43. Helicopters are permitted to fly in the normal circuit above the strip once the pilot has passed the appropriate BMFA Helicopter Test.
44. Physical or verbal assaults on other club members will not be tolerated. Such behaviour constitutes gross misconduct and will result in the immediate dismissal of the offending party. Dismissed members are not permitted to fly as guests of current club members and will no longer be welcome at the field.