Future regulation of model aviation

On this page modellflug.ch/regualations you can find out the current facts which are of burning interest to us model pilots on the subject of regulation.
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The European Union has adopted the new regulation for unmanned aerial vehicles. These rules aim to promote the market for unmanned aerial vehicles in Europe and ensure their safe safe operation. Although the focus of the rules is on so-called "drones,"? they also apply to all model aircraft operations with the exception of indoor flying.

The Federal Council has made it clear that it intends to apply this new EU legislation in Switzerland. The SMV resolutely rejects this. It cannot understand the need to register model aircraft pilots in a register linked to the EU. register linked to the EU. Such a registration will only lead to additional costs and bureaucracy without any safety benefit. We also do not understand why exemptions from the strict EU regulations should only be possible for «activities within the framework of clubs and associations» should be possible. If it only covers members of clubs and associations, about half of the half of model airplane pilots would be forced to become members of model airplane clubs and associations. The easy entry for young and old and the hurdle-free practice of our sport for all is extremely important to the Swiss Model Aviation Association. Although clubs and associations play an play an important role in ensuring the high level of safety in our sport and we encourage all pilots to become members. encourage all pilots to become members, we strongly oppose mandatory membership. The SMV is extremely pleased, that the National Council and the Council of States have approved the motion to exempt model flying from the application of the EU drone regulation in Switzerland. The federal government will now find a legal solution for the implementation of model flight outside the EU legislation. Thus, for drones and model aircraft the old legislation continues to apply.

EU rules for "activities within the framework of model aviation clubs and associations"

EU law contains the possibility for states to adopt their own rules for operations "within the framework of Model aircraft clubs and associations " (Article 16). On the basis of this provision the authorities of the EU member states and Switzerland may grant a model aircraft club or association, upon application which defines the conditions for the operation of model aircraft "within the framework of model aircraft clubs and associations" (Article 16). Model aircraft clubs and associations". This permit is issued on the basis of national regulations decided. However, a mandatory EU requirement remains, even with such a permit, that all model airplane pilots, who operate models with a weight of more than 250 g, must be registered in a national register.  which is linked to registers throughout the EU. This registration is valid throughout the EU (i.e. no further registration is required if a pilot wishes to fly in an EU country wants to fly). The registration number must be affixed to the model aircraft.

An important point is what is meant by operating "within the framework of model aircraft clubs and associations ". is. From the point of view of SMV, such permission should at least apply to all SMV members and guests of our clubs and associations. In order to ensure a continuation of the currently valid rules for all for all model airplane pilots in Switzerland, the SMV is of the opinion that the scope of the of the permit must cover all model airplane pilots in Switzerland (not only SMV members and our guests). must. Unfortunately, the Federal Council was not able to provide clear guarantees that the EU law would actually be would actually be implemented in Switzerland in this way.

EU rules for operation which is NOT "within the scope of model flying clubs and associations". takes place

The basis of the new EU rules for unmanned aircraft are the Open Category rules. These Open Category Rules apply to all model aircraft activities, unless the national authority issues its own rules for model aviation activities.

The rules for this Open Category were written for unmanned aircraft, which are commonly referred to as drones but not for model aircraft. Earlier drafts of these rules would have placed massively restricted the operation of model aircraft, particularly with regard to maximum altitude when flying on slopes slope flying and distance from uninvolved persons. Thanks to the efforts of the model aircraft associations, these restrictions were restrictions have been eased. As a result, the Open Category rules improve conditions for model pilots in EU member states, which currently suffer from very restrictive rules. For countries, which currently have liberal regulations for the operation of model aircraft (such as Switzerland and Germany), the Switzerland and Germany), however, flying according to the Open Category rules would lead to serious and unacceptable restrictions.

The Open Category rules are very complex and depend on the weight of the aircraft and the location where it is is flown. The main rules are:

  • A weight limit of 25 kg;
  • Fly only within visual range, at a safe distance from people, and not over gatherings of people;
  • A minimum age of 16 years that a member state may reduce to 12 years, with the possibility, That even younger persons may fly under the supervision of a qualified pilot of at least 16 years of age. may;
  • All pilots flying unmanned aircraft weighing more than 250 g must be registered be registered and the registration number must be affixed to the aircraft;
  • All pilots must complete an online theoretical training course and pass an online exam pass (valid for five years);
  • A maximum distance of 120 meters from the ground (vertical and horizontal). Thanks to our efforts, the altitude limit for gliders up to 10kg is still 120 meters, but it is now measured from the pilot's position and a horizontal restriction other than visibility has been is omitted.

In addition, the EU has recently introduced a set of requirements for the certification and sale of unmanned aircraft with the adoption of the so-called «Delegated Regulation» established a set of requirements for the certification and sale of unmanned aircraft. established. However, these do not apply to model aircraft that are "privately built" (defined as "assembled for the assembled or manufactured for the builder's own use, except for unmanned aircraft systems consisting of parts which are marketed as a complete kit"). This «Delegated Regulation» also contains rules for access by pilots from third countries, who must register in the first EU country in which they wish to fly.

Timetable for the application of the new rules

Note: The timetable for Application of the new rules has been postponed in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. Below you will find the currently valid schedule:

  • The registration obligation will become effective in the EU as of January 1st 2021
  • Permission for operation within the framework of model aircraft clubs and associations must be given until January 1st, 2023 (until then model aircraft pilots can continue to fly according to the current national legislation).
  • The Federal Council has the intention to apply the EU rules starting 2021

Next steps

Since January 2020, the SMV has been in intensive discussions with the FOCA on the implementation of the new EU drone legislation in Switzerland. In these discussions, we have not been able to obtain sufficient guarantees that we will be able to continue model flying in Switzerland without significant additional restrictions. without significant additional restrictions. We fear that the introduction of the new EU legislation in Switzerland will be will bring unacceptable new restrictions for our sport and hobby. We therefore support the Motion of the Committee for Transport and Telecommunications of the National Council (KVF-N) (Commission proposal 20.3916) active.

We are convinced that by exempting model flight from EU drone regulation under Article 23 of the Air Transport Agreement can protect our hobby from unnecessary restrictions and bureaucracy. can protect. This in support of Switzerland's liberal tradition, and without compromising the safety of the Swiss population and our relations with the EU.

Links to download EU legislation: