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FVP and Insurance

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So how about this for an example:

I fly the aircraft, NOT FPV! but have a buddy box system, where the learner is sat in a chair, DX7 stripped down to give full size rudder pedals, ful size control coloumn (stick) & throttle mounted on the arm of the chair..just like sat in a real aircraft. The learner flies by FPV, with 2 cameras mounted side by side (6.5cm apart), 2 seperate video downlins (stereo view), now also plugged into the ground based video receiver are 4 pairs of goggles for spectators to sit down & watch from inside the canopy...we charge as an example £3 for 10 mins per person viewing. surely this wouldn't be against BMFA policy as the guys viewing have NOTHING at all to do with the aircraft.

Ross

Maybe have a few "barf bags" available, just in case? :-)

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So how about this for an example:

I fly the aircraft, NOT FPV! but have a buddy box system, where the learner is sat in a chair, DX7 stripped down to give full size rudder pedals, ful size control coloumn (stick) & throttle mounted on the arm of the chair..just like sat in a real aircraft. The learner flies by FPV, with 2 cameras mounted side by side (6.5cm apart), 2 seperate video downlins (stereo view), now also plugged into the ground based video receiver are 4 pairs of goggles for spectators to sit down & watch from inside the canopy...we charge as an example £3 for 10 mins per person viewing. surely this wouldn't be against BMFA policy as the guys viewing have NOTHING at all to do with the aircraft.

Ross

There are two things here.

1) The BMFA's FPV guidelines (in my opinion a knee jerk reaction without spending any time understanding FPV)

2) The CAA's rules (IE Law) about aerial work.

First of all its important to remember that the BMFA don't make law. You will need follow their rules to be covered by their insurance and fly on their sites but that's quite different to air law. If you can fly on a non-BMFA site, ideally with your own insurance then you're clear of the BMFA's influence. Hopefully one day soon there will an FPV association with its own best practice guidelines and its own insurance cover.

The BMFA guidelines say that the pilot in charge must be the person looking at the aircraft directly with his eyes from the ground. They graciously allow for another person to be connected by a buddy lead and wear goggles, etc. but that second person must not be in charge.

From what you've said (the charging bit notwithstanding - see below for that) I think the BMFA would be perfectly happy with your setup and you would be covered by their insurance (all they care about is that nobody actually flies FPV...the real flying (the pilot in charge) flies conventionally).

The CAA on the other hand do make law and they make a very clear distinction between recreational flying and "aerial work" (anything involving reward in exchange for flying work). I think you would fall foul of this. In the upcoming changes to CAP658 once you step outside of recreational use you become a UAV operator and there are all sorts of extra rules (including a license fee, notifying the CAA when and where you will be flying, etc). Basically it is to be avoided if possible.

With other kinds of aviation I've seen a couple of work arounds for this aerial work restriction which you may want to look into. I'm not 100% on the ins and outs of this so please look into it yourself:

1) An "air experience trial lesson" from a flying school is different to a "30 minute joy ride". When you see a place on the side of the road offering "helicopter rides" they'll most likely actually be a registered school and you would partake in a trial lesson. I'm not sure if this one will help you but perhaps you could form a flying school of your own.

2) Members of a flying club can all chip in towards the running of the club. In theory you could form a tiny club, make your "ab initio pilots" (punters) into members and then ask them to contribute £3 towards the running of the club equipment.

Like I say I'm not 100% on the ins and outs of this but its how Gliding clubs and Microlight schools work as far as I know.

Simon

Edited by Daytona

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There are two things here.

1) The BMFA's FPV guidelines (in my opinion a knee jerk reaction without spending any time understanding FPV)

2) The CAA's rules (IE Law) about aerial work.

First of all its important to remember that the BMFA don't make law. You will need follow their rules to be covered by their insurance and fly on their sites but that's quite different to air law. If you can fly on a non-BMFA site, ideally with your own insurance then you're clear of the BMFA's influence. Hopefully one day soon there will an FPV association with its own best practice guidelines and its own insurance cover.

The BMFA guidelines say that the pilot in charge must be the person looking at the aircraft directly with his eyes from the ground. They graciously allow for another person to be connected by a buddy lead and wear goggles, etc. but that second person must not be in charge.

From what you've said (the charging bit notwithstanding - see below for that) I think the BMFA would be perfectly happy with your setup and you would be covered by their insurance (all they care about is that nobody actually flies FPV...the real flying (the pilot in charge) flies conventionally).

The CAA on the other hand do make law and they make a very clear distinction between recreational flying and "aerial work" (anything involving reward in exchange for flying work). I think you would fall foul of this. In the upcoming changes to CAP658 once you step outside of recreational use you become a UAV operator and there are all sorts of extra rules (including a license fee, notifying the CAA when and where you will be flying, etc). Basically it is to be avoided if possible.

With other kinds of aviation I've seen a couple of work arounds for this aerial work restriction which you may want to look into. I'm not 100% on the ins and outs of this so please look into it yourself:

1) An "air experience trial lesson" from a flying school is different to a "30 minute joy ride". When you see a place on the side of the road offering "helicopter rides" they'll most likely actually be a registered school and you would partake in a trial lesson. I'm not sure if this one will help you but perhaps you could form a flying school of your own.

2) Members of a flying club can all chip in towards the running of the club. In theory you could form a tiny club, make your "ab initio pilots" (punters) into members and then ask them to contribute £3 towards the running of the club equipment.

Like I say I'm not 100% on the ins and outs of this but its how Gliding clubs and Microlight schools work as far as I know.

Simon

Interesting thought. Remember that flying schools and those that charge for taking someone flying it will be periodically inspected by the CAA (caused a bit of mayhem when the flying school I was learning with was due an inspection!) and the instructors will be properly authorised and approved etc. etc. As long as you have the necessary licences then you can charge someone who flies with you whatever the name you give the flight. Otherwise you can only recover a proportion of the costs.

Peter

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At my giding club all people who come for air experience flights have to pay for temp membership to the club as well as winch fees.

Terry

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I hope Daytona won't mind me jumping the gun, but he's found a UK insurer for FPV flyers who don't want the restrictions of the BMFA regs (FPV only at a club as Pupil in a Pupil-Teacher setup etc.).

It's a deal whereby he sets up a FPV flyers club, and insurance is then available to members.

So, any UK FPVers out there, please PM Daytona (see earlier in this thread) if you're interested and want more info! I think he's cracked it. Let's support FPV!

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Sounds interesting, I hope he will post the info of the final deal here.

Terry

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Dear All,

Here is an email that I sent to everyone on the FirstPersonView.co.uk mailing list yesterday evening. I've had a fantastic response so far and the membership and insurance will cost under £20 each at the moment. With a few more members it'll come down further still.

Please let me have your expressions of interest as mentioned below either by email through the contact form on firstpersonview.co.uk or by private message on this forum.

Many thanks

Simon Dale

www.firstpersonview.co.uk

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear UK FPV Pilot,

I am writing to you today because you are a member of the FirstPersonView.co.uk mailing list and I have important news to share with you about FPV (First Person View) flying in the UK.

Over the last several months the following points have become clear to me:

• A large number of pilots who fly FPV find the BMFA rules regarding buddy leads are impractical and ill thought out, and as such those people find themselves flying safely and legally (as far as the CAA are concerned) but without 3rd party liability insurance (because they are not covered by the BMFA when not following their rules).

• The BMFA do not have the interests of FPV pilots as their primary focus and as a result the interests of FPV pilots have already been, and are likely to continue to be, under-represented/ misrepresented in discussions with the CAA and other bodies.

To address these issues several UK FPV flyers have approached me about forming a properly constituted flying association which would promote safe and responsible FPV flying (such as in these guidelines http://www.firstpersonview.co.uk/myfiles/file/FPVsafety.pdf), represent FPV pilots to the CAA and other bodies (E.g. Ofcom for spectrum allocation) and offer 3rd party liability insurance to its members.

I am very pleased to announce that I have now negotiated £5m 3rd party liability insurance which includes FPV flying (and all normal RC flying, European cover, etc) and we are therefore now in a position to form such an association. In the absence of a less wordy name I propose the British FPV Model Flyers Association (BFPVMFA).

The insurance will cost £395pa for up to 50 members. If there are enough interested people I propose that we form the BFPVMFA and charge a nominal fee (perhaps £1) for membership plus the insurance. So if we got the full 50 members it would be £9 each.

I have the UKSport constitution documents here to form the association and I would invite people to put themselves forward for the committee positions (chairman, membership secretary, treasurer, safety officer, etc – perhaps one person can do several jobs?) and then we can have an online election from the candidates. (I would hope that this association could be run entirely by email with the absolute minimum of paperwork/bureaucracy: we certainly don’t want to build a monster).

Obviously this is all only feasible if we get enough members so that the group insurance premium can be covered - I would think that if there are twenty of us willing to pay £20 each then we are off and running – but obviously the more the merrier (and the cheaper).

Could you therefore reply to this email and let me know:

• If you are interested in becoming a founder member.

• If so whether you are interested in having a committee position/role.

• What is the most you would be prepared to pay.

Further details on the insurance will be available before anyone is asked to produce any money – at the moment what we need is an expression of interest.

Please pass this email on to any other UK FPV pilots that you know.

Yours sincerely

Simon Dale

Edited by Daytona

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The 'good practice guidelines' are perhaps suitably vague, but it seems to me that in the event of a claim, phrases like "use of a spotter where appropriate" could be a source of much argument and no pay-out. Given the lone flyer's main objection to the BMFA ruling is this need for a 2nd party, I'm slightly anxious that this is mentioned, in these terms, at all! Anything left optional in those guidelines has the potential to be something we didn't do, and therefore we aren't covered. So, does the policy refer to folk following those guidelines as a condition of cover?

Also, what constraints does the policy have? (e.g. max operating altitude, range, AUW, span, engine size etc.?)

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The way I understand it is that there are no restrictions as long as we operate within the law.

Terry

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Hi guys,

The BMFA quite clearly believe that none of their members will take any notice of anything they say unless they back up their statements with vague threats of the insurance being invalidated. Either this means that the BMFA have placed their insurance with a bunch of crooks or they are stretching the truth to make their guidelines seem a bit more like rules.

The BFPVMFA insurance and its guidelines are two separate things and I think we should avoid the BMFA's tactics and never try to link the two.

The insurance policy is a standard radio control model/ model engineer policy with an additional covernote to include FPV flying. As soon as the policy documentation arrives I will review it and make sure that there is no link to any rules about FPV, etc. I will also publish the document for everyone to see.

As a separate issue regarding the guidelines themselves I suggest that we all look at your points, along with some that other people have made, when the BFPVMFA starts. I’ll install a forum system for the BFPVMFA and we can discuss the new BFPVMFA guidelines there (perhaps we'll even decide not to use the FirstPersonView.co.uk guidelines as a basis at all and we'll start from scratch).

To give you an idea we're up to 31 interested members so far I think so I think we're on!

All the best

Simon Dale

Edited by Daytona

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The BFPVMFA insurance and its guidelines are two separate things

The problem is that an insurer is there to make money, not lose some. OK you'll now be signing a contract with certain terms, hopefully same as we have here that is "as long as you comply to civil aviation laws you're good". That means you'll be covered at least until the first contract expires. But if accidents happen and the insurer sees that even if abiding by the law the persons having the accidents have been able to create substantial losses by acting irresponsibly or such, and that they're losing too much, they can just cancel your insurance policy, forcing you to go see somewhere else, or make a new one this time with the guidelines or other restrictions as terms of the contract. That's why the BMFA (and MFAs of other countries) strengthen their internal policies, to limit the risk of having problems and losing the coverage and freedom of the whole association just because of a couple of morons acting stupidly. With the size of those assosiations, it's hard/impossible to keep control of every member. It makes sense, but they just go too far with it, and especially without firstly assessing the real risk...

So, insurance is not to be taken for granted as a full protection, you still need to act responsibly. But if you're making an FPV MFA with just 35 people, it's so much easier to manage and I'm pretty sure you'll have no problem with this. I'd just advise you to brief your members correctly about this, because if one acts stupidly it will fall back on the others as well.

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Hi Kilrah,

I absolutely agree with you. No insurance company will cover anyone who is being intentionally reckless, blatantly dangerous or stupid. We must promote safe flying at all times and our safety guidelines will be promoted thoroughly within the membership. We never want anything bad to happen to a 3rd party and we don't ever want to claim on the insurance. Because all of our members will be following our carefully thought out and thoroughly promoted guidelines the risk of this should be kept to an absolute minimum.

We just need to be sure the policy covers normal risks and that it is not directly linked to our advice, guidelines, etc. The two things are separate.

You make good points about the size of the organisations in question having an impact on this. Hopefully the few of us FPV pilots can steer clear of the red tape neccessary to manage many thousands of members like the BMFA has.

Regards

Simon

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Perfect :)

Oh and one thing:

Either this means that the BMFA have placed their insurance with a bunch of crooks or they are stretching the truth to make their guidelines seem a bit more like rules.

That's the point, if they establish internal rules, it means that in case someone has a problem while not complying with them the association will exclude that guy from their coverage, thus not even report the case to the insurer, who thus won't ever see a "problematic" case and have no incentive to change anything, so the association is just covering their back.

I think the situation we have here is really good... and it looks like we're going to keep it that way :)

Edited by Kilrah

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Good news for UK FPV flyers!

Simon at www.firstpersonview.co.uk has set up the (deep breath) "British First Person View Model Flyers Association".

Just whistle 'Rule Britannia' while carving BFPVMFA on your front gate!

It has UK-specific guidance... it has a forum (although we know everyone is very knowledgeable and friendly here)... no t-shirts or baseball caps yet BUT if you join it, for 15 quid, you get Insurance :D

The wording of the association's paperwork has been carefully put together to mean the Insurance cover does not require you to follow specific rules in order for cover to be valid (such as the BMFA or AMA's pronouncements regarding use of teacher-pupil setups). I know arguments could run & run about what might happen if something ever came to court, but the bottom line is that FPV flying is neither explicitly excluded, nor tied up in club-orientated regulations.

Pop over to The Website if you are in the UK, for chat, UK-specific support and most importantly 3rd-party cover.

One happy lone flyer here....

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