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Let flying model aircraft remain a sports activity, say aeromodellers

Aeromodellers will submit a draft Civil Aviation Requirement to DGCA by Friday, which will include requests to free it from age restrictions

mumbai Updated: Dec 12, 2017 15:41 IST
Neha LM Tripathi
Neha LM Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Currently, aeromodellers fly their aircraft at Mahalaxmi racecourse or Amby Valley near Lonavla. (HT File Photo)

To maintain flying model aircraft as sports activity, aeromodellers are set to submit a draft Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) by Friday. Sources said the DGCA is likely to release a revised draft CAR by first week of January.

According to sources, the draft CAR includes requests to free the sport from age restrictions that at present only includes teenagers. Although it mentions disallowing aeromodellers within 5km radius of the airport, the draft seeks permission to fly in an area that is away from movements of commercial flight paths.

Currently, aeromodellers fly their aircraft at Mahalaxmi racecourse or Amby Valley near Lonavala.

Aeromodellers said the draft also suggests that flying should be limited to line of sight, during the day, and seeks permission to fly up to 400ft.

After the DGCA made public the draft CAR on November 1, around 4,000 aeromodellers wrote against clubbing of the rules for flying model aircraft and drones.

The aeromodellers wrote to the DGCA, stating a separate category should be created within the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) classification for model aircraft for sports and educational purposes (excluding all types of multi-rotors and drones) limited to non-commercial usage. They also requested this category be exempted from licensing requirement under Unique Identification Number (UIN) or Unmanned Aircrafts Operator Permit (UAOP) conditions, and to restrict the weight of the model aircraft to 25kg in keeping with international practices.

Last week, the aeromodellers approached the aviation regulator in an open house in Bangalore. Puneet Manaktala, an aeromodelling enthusiast who will fly to Delhi to submit the draft CAR, said: “We have placed our requests using the needed jargons and format that the CAR is issued in. We will submit the draft on or even before Friday.”

Aeromodellers have asked the aviation regulator to advise local schools, clubs and other registered bodies whose members engage in flying model aircrafts to maintain a record of all pilots and their identities. “The bodies should be given the responsibility of following a disciplinary code conducive to safety and environment,” said an aeromodeller.

“We are aiming to come up with the revised CAR for model aircraft flying by December end itself,” said BS Bhullar, director general, DGCA.

First Published: Dec 12, 2017 15:39 IST