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Aeromodellers meet aviation authorities, demand separate norms for the sport

Their plea says a separate category should be created within the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Classification, for model aircraft

mumbai Updated: Dec 02, 2017 12:38 IST
Neha LM Tripathi
Neha LM Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,aeromodellers,DGCA
Aeromodellers told the DGCA that aeromodelling and flying drones are two different sports and cannot be governed by same rules.(Representational photo/HT)

A delegation of aeromodellers from India met the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday to explain that aeromodelling and flying drones are two different sports and cannot be governed by same rules.

During the meet, the aeromodellers submitted a letter to the aviation watchdog requesting it to incorporate changes in a draft CAR that was made public on November 1 and specifications for aeromodelling. The issue came to light after the DGCA came up with a draft CAR for restricting drones, including model aircraft flying. The aeromodellers had then called the decision illogical and impractical. The issue was raised after a draft CAR on drones and model aircraft flying was made public by the DGCA. The DGCA has asked the delegation to submit the draft CAR by December 15. Aero Club of India (ACI) will send the draft CAR to the aviation regulator.

Their plea includes a separate category be created within the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Classification, for model aircraft (excluding all types of multi-rotors and drones) restricted to non-commercial use. The letter reads that flying model aircraft should be permitted at a safe distance from all operative airports and away from densely populated areas, but they should be restricted in defence and also within a radius of 5km from an active airport. Also, trade, import, building and construction of model aircraft and its accessories should be exempted from any regulatory controls of the DGCA.

Umesh More, chairperson, Wings India Radio Controlled Model Flyers Club, and an aeromodeller for the past 45 years, was part of the team that met the DGCA. He said, “The regulator is willing to consider our requests and agreed that flying model aircraft is different than flying drones. So they have asked us to submit a draft CAR, which will be reviewed by them. But for now, the DGCA has not given commitment for amendments.”

He added that since the DGCA received more than 3,000 requests for amendments on the issue and suggested to have a central platform. “Hence, the ACI will coordinate with them on our behalf,” More said.

As per ACI, the country has 16,000 aeromodellers and 40 registered flying clubs. “Highly accurate and precise flight path of drones, added with ability of autonomous flight, give rise to concerns of privacy, safety and security worldwide. However, such concerns do not apply to conventional model aircraft, when used for hobby, recreational, sports and educational purposes,” said Puneet Maanaktala, an aeromodelling trainer.

First Published: Dec 02, 2017 12:38 IST