Hastings Model Flying Club Ltd. – General Code & Club Rules
These Rules do not replace the BMFA Members’ Handbook, but enhance them to take account of the particular circumstances that exist at our flying site.
They do not replace nor override laws which apply to model flying pilots, particularly Article 241 “A person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property”, and Article 240 “A person must not recklessly or negligently act in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft, or any person in an aircraft”.
The Club expects a high standard of flying safety and etiquette to be practiced at all times; please refer to the BMFA Members’ Handbook for guidance.
Accessing the flying field
You may park in the field in the designated area when conditions allow otherwise park on the hard-standing between the drive and the picket fence at the bottom of the field. Look for and comply with any notice posted at the gate. If you are the only one at the field it is recommended that you close the gate and replace the padlock for security.
Do not drive in excess of 5mph.
Dogs are only permitted onto the field on the strict understanding that they remain on a lead and are properly supervised at all times. The owners shall remove any dog mess. At no time will dogs be permitted into the pit area, flight line or within the flying zone.
There are no facilities for disposing of rubbish at the field. Please take your litter home with you.
Non-members who are inexperienced flyers may only fly in strict accordance with guidance of the BMFA Members Handbook, including the Members Insurance section which limits such occurrences to three visits, and requires total supervision by a club member approved by the committee.
A non-member may fly only: if he/she has given written self-certification of holding BMFA membership and an ‘A’ certificate to a committee member; under the supervision of a club member; and for a maximum of three visits.
A club member who supervises a non-member: is responsible for him/her at all times while that non-member is on the field; should make him/her aware of the Club Rules; and should supervise only one non-member at any given time.
During events, non-members may only fly in accordance with procedures set by the committee prior to each event.
All other non-members including Social members should remain behind the pit area fence.
Non-members must not use the second runway, except with the permission of a committee member.
Juniors (children under the age of 18)
Juniors must be accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times, who shall be responsible for their safety, welfare and behaviour. That parent/guardian will be responsible for supervising engine starting and model restraint, through flying and return to the pits. That parent/guardian will be responsible for the proper use of radio equipment and frequency control by the junior member with respect to the Club Rules and BMFA Members’ Handbook.
During overnight events at the club field, juniors will be closely supervised by a parent/guardian. No juniors will be allowed to stay overnight without a parent/guardian being present at all times. If a parent has given consent for a guardian to take charge of a junior whilst on HMFC Ltd property, then prior notice must be in given in writing to the Club Secretary.
First aid and accidents
All accidents in which you may be involved or that you witness must be recorded and reported to the Club Safety Officer.
If a model crash should happen where property is damaged or a person is injured this must be reported to the Club Safety Officer & the BMFA ASAP. Photos of the crash scene & witnesses’ names & statements must be taken and reported to the BMFA & CAA by the Club Safety Officer; both of the above are legal requirements.
All members should have a first aid kit of their own.
If flying tuition is required, you must provide your own model. The Club training officer will arrange for one-to-one tuition with one of the Club Instructors. Your instructor will do his utmost to protect your model but neither he nor the Club will accept responsibility for damage to or loss of the model under any circumstance – whoever is flying at the time.
Frequency control: 35MHz band users
The Club employs a peg-board system. Each member must provide a suitable clothes peg which is marked with his/her name and channel number (55 to 90).
Before flying, check if there is already a peg on the peg-board over the channel number corresponding to your channel. If there is, you must not fly. If and when there is not, you must place your peg over your channel number. This indicates that you have the use of the channel and can proceed to switch on.
When you land you must remove your peg from the peg-board as soon as your model is made safe, thus relinquishing the channel number.
Never move or remove another member’s peg.
Frequency control: 2.4GHz band users
Users of 2.4GHz are not required to use the peg-board system at all.
The committee may appoint flight line personnel, whose instructions must be obeyed by all present at the event.
Where the flight line personnel decide to hold pilots’ briefings, all pilots including club members intending to fly in the event should attend. If a pilot misses a pilots’ briefing, he/she must not fly in the event on that day without the express permission of a member of the flight line personnel.
Electric powered models
The power batteries of electric powered models must only be connected to the model in a start-up box.
After your flight, you must return to the start-up box and disconnect the power battery before leaving the start-up box.
Always assume that an armed electric powered model might start up under full power at any time.
FPV (First Person View) aircraft
FPV must be conversant with and comply with the BMFA Members’ Handbook and CAA regulations.
Both the FPV pilot and the observer must have a BMFA ‘A’ or ‘B’ Certificate.
The FPV aircraft must not be flown beyond visual range, and must not fly in any no-flying area specified in these Rules.
Helicopter pilots should consider flying as a slot rather than clashing with other flying styles.
When flying circuits, helicopters must be flown in accordance with the rules covering fixed wing models insofar as they are applicable.
Gas turbines may only be flown at Middle Bridge with the prior approval of the Committee, and may be the subject of supervision by an experienced gas turbine pilot.
Gas turbines may only be flown at Middle Bridge with the prior approval of the Safety Officer or another pilot nominated by the Safety Officer, and may be the subject of supervision by an experienced gas turbine pilot. Every gas turbine model must have been scrutinised and approved by the Safety Officer or another pilot nominated by the Safety Officer before being flown at Middle Bridge.
All gas turbine powered models may only be flown by holders of a ‘B’ certificate.
Gas turbine models may only be started in the allocated start-up boxes.
The second runway must not be used for gas turbine models.
The pilot must have a fire extinguisher close at hand when starting the model.
The exhaust pipe of the model must be pointing away from the public and pilots when starting.
Gas turbine models must fly at least 50m away from the spectator fence line, i.e. beyond the centre line of runway.
Only two such models will be allowed to fly at the same time, subject to both pilots agreement.
At events more than two gas turbine models can fly together subject to the Flight-Line Marshal’s agreement.
All 3-D manoeuvres are to be performed over the second field, not over the runway, the Waller’s Haven River, or adjacent SAA land. The danger and distraction associated with this style of flying should be considered before taking off.
Models weighing more than 7Kg
Powered models weighing more than 7Kg may only be flown by holders of a ‘B’ certificate.
Before the first flight of a new model, have an experienced member check it over. This could save you money and much grief! Please allow a member with a new, un-flown model to fly a slot on his/her own in order to concentrate on trimming and proving the model without the distraction of other models in the airspace.
If you fly a new model for another club member, please remember that the pilot must carry out the pre-flight checks as per the BMFA Guidelines. Pilots must not take the word of the owner who may suggest the model has been checked out and is ready to fly.
The pilot is responsible for ensuring that the model is airworthy and must carry out the checks as per the BMFA Guidelines.
Starting the engine
Engines must be started only within one of the start-up boxes. The power batteries of electric powered models must only be connected to the model in a start-up box.
Only the pilot and his helper (if required) are permitted in the start-up box.
There is a hypothetical wall along the near edge of the main runway which extends all the way out and all the way up. Pilots will not fly pits-side of this wall at any distance or height with the exception of take-off and landing on the second runway.
There must be no unrestrained taxiing from the runway to a start-up box.
A maximum of six models may be operated at any one time.
Obtain permission from those pilots already flying, before pilot, model or helper goes onto the runway.
If the engine stops prior to take-off, or the model needs attention, return to the start-up box. Do not re-start or make adjustments on the runway.
The first turn must always be away from the road.
Pilots will take a position in the pilot box either before take-off, or as soon as practicable following take-off.
Each pilot may have one helper, if required. No other personnel should be in or near the pilot boxes.
All pilots have a legal obligation to fly safely and within the capabilities of the model. All pilots must make themselves aware of all legal issues regarding model flying as highlighted in the BMFA Members’ Handbook.
The flying zone is set out in accordance with the BMFA guidelines. Notwithstanding this, the Waller’s Haven River, located at the south end of the runway, cuts through the HMFC Ltd flying zone and is used by angling members of the Southdown Angling Association (SAA). The HMFC Ltd has an agreement with the SAA that fishing will not occur at the end of our runway other than on SAA Match Days. This allows the minimum safe guideline distance of 30m to be maintained between model and angler during take-off and landing over the river.
During Match Days, pilots will only use the second runway, in which case a tight turn will be required at the north-east end so as to avoid approaching the lane or the A259 main road, and will not over-fly the river. Dates of the SAA Match Days will be notified to HMFC Ltd members as and when advised by the SAA. As the second runway must not be used for gas turbine models, such models may not be flown at all on SAA match days.
Notwithstanding the above, every pilot must satisfy himself/herself that anglers are not occupying the end of the runway prior to flying. If anglers are occupying the end of the runway, you must maintain the above-mentioned safe distance, and notify other pilots of the anglers’ presence.
Pilots are to avoid flying over the Waller’s Haven River and adjacent SAA land at a height of less than 50m (30m when taking off or landing).
There must be no aerobatics performed over the Waller’s Haven River and adjacent SAA land.
Flying beyond HMFC Ltd land
The flying zone is set out in accordance with the BMFA guidelines. Notwithstanding this, the Waller’s Haven River, the land beyond it, and the land beyond the dyke to the right of the pilots’ box is not owned or controlled by HMFC Ltd. The far bank of the Waller’s Haven River is used by angling members of the Southdown Angling Association (SAA).
SAA match days
HMFC Ltd has an agreement with the SAA that the SAA will give HMFC advance notification of the dates of their Match Days.
During SAA Match Days, pilots will not overfly the Waller’s Haven River and will not fly within 50m measured horizontally from the far bank of the Waller’s Haven River (i.e. not beyond the SW end of the runway). During SAA Match Days, no gas turbine or powered models weighing more than 7Kg are to be flown at all.
During SAA Match Days (and only during SAA Match Days), pilots must stand near the sign at the junction of the two runways, and only fly circuits relative to the main runway.
If it becomes apparent to pilots that a match is in progress even though we have not been notified, those pilots must inform other pilots present and the day must be treated as an SAA Match Day. If in doubt, communicate with the anglers. Be polite and inoffensive in any communication with anglers.
Safety of persons (in all locations, at all times)
Do not fly within 50m of any person (excluding those in the pilots’ box, start-up boxes and pits). The 50m distance is reduced to 30m for take-off and landing only (not for touch-and-go’s or low passes).
Do not perform aerobatics (in excess of 90 degrees pitch and/or roll from straight and level flight) at any height, over a person.
In respect of areas which cannot be seen from the pilots’ box, e.g. beyond the Waller’s Haven River, you must assume that there may be a person anywhere, unless you have seen for yourself that the areas in which you will fly are clear of persons. Not withstanding the above, you may rely on a report from another Club member.
Apart from SAA Match Days, if pilots are aware that there are anglers in the direct line of the take-off zone, they should attract the anglers’ attention, forewarn them about the risks and politely ask that they consider moving. Do not assume the anglers have moved, without verification.
The second runway
The second runway may also be used when prevailing wind and sunlight conditions dictate, in which case a tight turn will be required at the north-east end so as to avoid approaching the lane or the A259 main road.
The second runway must be used by club members only, and only for models under 7Kg, except with the permission of a committee member.
When using the second runway, pilots should stand adjacent to the notice board, and apart from SAA Match Days should then make their way to the pilots’ box as soon as practicable; consider using a helper to guide you.
Apart from take-off and landing, only fly circuits relative to the main runway.
Shout “landing” so other pilots are aware of your intentions.
Remove all equipment including any restraining device from the start-up box.
Section 3 of the Articles of Association states: “The Committee has the right to expel any member. It will not hesitate to do so for continued flagrant breaches of its flying field safety rules and regulations.”
Only complaints concerning contravention of HMFC Ltd. Club rules will be formally considered by the Committee as legitimate.
Any complaint must be made in writing and sent to the Club Secretary. This must contain the date and time of the incident, the person’s name, what exactly occurred (a good description of the events) and the names of any witnesses.
The Club Secretary (or other Club Official if unavailable) will send a written acknowledgement to the complainant within seven days of receipt.
The Club Secretary (or other Club Official if unavailable) will also send a letter (within seven days of complaint) to the person named by the complainant, requesting their version of the incident. This will have a transcript of the complaint in it but will exclude details of the complainant at this time. This will carry a seven-day written response clause.
If a response is received, a further acknowledgement letter will be issued by the Club Secretary (or other Club Official if unavailable) acknowledging their reply and stating that the Committee will consider all the evidence and notify them of the outcome.
If no response is received, a further letter will be issued by the Club Secretary (or other Club Official if unavailable) stating that no reply has been received and that the Committee will consider all the available evidence and notify them of the outcome.
The Committee, if it feels it necessary, can request that all parties meet to discuss the incident in more depth. Any new evidence will be collated and agreed by all parties. A decision by the committee will be taken at that meeting to decide the complaint.
Bringing the Club into disrepute
The Committee has the power to terminate or suspend the membership of any member whom it considers guilty of a breach of the club rules or of misconduct or offensive behaviour towards any Committee Member or Club Member on the clubs flying site or elsewhere, including social media.
Disciplinary options available to the Committee will include:-
- Temporary removal of solo flying status.
- Removal of BMFA Achievement Scheme ratings.
- Written warning and/or signed undertaking of conformity
- Imposed training requirement.
- Dismissal from the Club.
Upheld complaints will be lodged with the Club Secretary and may be the subject of further consideration of any subsequent complaints against that club member.
When the grass on and around the runway (i.e. beyond the pits) is being cut, no flying is permitted. The field maintenance team will endeavour to give notice before cutting the grass, by posting a notice on the notice board.
No camping is allowed without the express permission of the committee member for field maintenance.
Revised October 2018 – deletions shown with red strikethrough, additions shown in red italic.