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UK PFAW, Parks, congested areas and grey areas...?

Discussion in 'Certified UAV Pilots' started by Flyex, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. Flyex

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    Hi all,

    I hope I'm posting this in the right place. This is my first post, I've been watching and learning, lots of knowledgeable people around here which is great. This is a question directed towards UK based pilots.

    I'm working towards my PFAW currently, just finalising my ops manual. My friend and I are both working towards our PFAW's and we're looking for a bit of clarification on something.

    Are parks/playing fields congested areas? Flying something which is sub 7kg (an inspire, for example...) can we operate in them as long as we ensure that no one outside our control comes within 50 metres (large cordon/ exclusion zone, support crew etc)? This question was put to the training organisation and they were reticent to say yes as they said it would be hard to enforce.

    What do you all do? I thought this would be a straightforward issue but the answer we've received was a bit vague....

    Thanks!

    Flyex
     
  2. IrishSights

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    For me it is clear as day that a park is classed as a congested area. "Any city, town or settlement: any area which is substantially used for residential, commercial, industrial or recreational purposes". A parks primary purpose is recreational so it is a congested area.

    There is of course a different view if you have a PFAW WITH easing of congested area restrictions as you say.

    The main problem with parks etc is that there is nearly always bylaws that prohibit radio controlled aircraft. You obviously also would need specific permission for take off and landing.

    PFAW Holder
    BNUC-S Qualified
     
    #2 IrishSights, Jul 27, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
  3. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    Yes.......sort of.....and no!
    There we are, that should be clear now :p.

    OK, the problem with parks and playing fields etc is they come in many flavours.......Municipal/council owned, public access land, privately owned etc.
    Some parks have bylaws (which should be displayed at entrance points but are not always) which restrict certain things ranging from dogs off leads to ball games and model aircraft flying.
    As your instructor mentions, public parks (unless locked down for a commercial shoot) are difficult to control however there are things you can do many of which you mention to mitigate and keep distance from public.
    The other thing of course (and is probably in your ops manual) that if a member of the public does breach the 50m (30m when taking off/landing) you can move the aircraft away and put it in a safe hover until the person(s) are at a safe distance.

    Can parks be flown? Very large parks probably yes with care, if you do your homework and make sure there are no strange bylaws or rules or restrictive regulations.
    Also be very mindful of members of the public, dogs, children etc.
    Don't underestimate the suspicion of parents when you are flying around with a camera equipped UAV and can be labeled a 'pervert' because you must only be there to take pictures/video of children right?:rolleyes:

    Personally, I avoid parks for all of the reasons above (although I was asked by a local newspaper to take some photos of one a couple of weeks ago - it would have been a logistic nightmare since there was a pre school nursery AND a primary school on the curtalidge and the paper wanted to pay £25 a photo..... I declined)

    If you are looking for somewhere to practice fly etc, I have always found it easier and no issue to befriend a local farmer. Explain what you are wanting to do, reassure him you will not fly near any animals (if a livestock farm) and even offer a few free photos of his farm (once you have your PFAW obviously ;)).
    You will not get disturbed there, you will have permission to fly which is what it's all about.

    Hope that helps.
     
  4. IrishSights

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    I agree about the farm location. I just check in with him before flight and got one sig for flights anytime.

    The other good place is below high tide level in some quiet place. Technically you need the Queens signature but I don't think she would want to know. Just check for any areas that are designated wildlife refuges or military firing ranges (I have one near me). If it's National Trust managed you may or may not need their permission depending on their management lease designation.

    PFAW Holder
    BNUC-S Qualified
     
  5. Flyex

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    Thanks gents, pretty much what i thought.