All flying at the competition event itself will be conducted by the event Safety Pilots and myself as Flight Safety Officer, so the teams will not actually fly themselves at the competition. In terms of your own practice and testing, teams just need to comply with the UK Civil Aviation Authority regulations and the UK Air Navigation Orders for safe and lawful flying.
In summary UK teams must ensure the following:
- That they or the University hold an Operator ID form the UK CAA and that said number is displayed correctly on their aircraft.
- That any person flying the aircraft meets the competency requirements set out by the UK CAA, which is typically the Flyer ID element.
- That any flights are only performed under UK CAA regulations, i.e. that they fly safely and lawfully. As they are likely to be flying aircraft near 10kg, this will mean they are likely to be flying in the A3 Open Category.
- The dropping of articles from an unmanned aircraft is NOT permitted in the Open Categories, i.e. it is illegal, so practicing this is not possible unless they join an association with access to an Article 16 permission, which I will be drafting an email for all teams very soon.
There is no official need legally for insurance unless any flights are considered ‘commercial’, however I believe the IMechE do request that teams use insurance, for which the British Model Flying Association can help www.bmfa.org Joining the BMFA also gives access to their Article 16 permission, which is required if teams want to test and practice payload dropping. Follow up email coming soon as mentioned above.
A quick start guide on regulations can be found here: https://rcc.bmfa.uk/quick-start-guide-to-model-flying-operation-of-unmanned-aircraft
Commercial flying is often considered a flight performed for payment or reward, but if the pilot is a paid member of staff, that also makes it a commercial flight.
International teams will need to comply with their relevant Aviation Authority regulations, which may differ to those in the UK.