Prestbury Park Model Flying Club
Corona Virus Update 4/12/2020
The legislation relating to COVID-19 restrictions in place from December 2nd has been published.
There is now an exemption in place where people can gather in groups larger than 6 in outdoor places for organised outdoor sport and physical activity. This applies in all tiers. Therefore model flying clubs can operate with more than 6 members present, however social distancing must still be maintained and clubs must operate in a Covid secure way. Clubs should consider how many members can be accommodated safely at their flying sites based on their particular circumstances.
Organised indoor flying is permitted in Tier 1, but only if the rule of 6 is followed.
In Tier 2 it is only permitted if it is possible for members to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with).
Further to our earlier communication, the legislation related to the current lockdown passed in to law on Wednesday 4th November. The regulations are very clear and unambiguous about what venues must close and they include all outdoor recreation and leisure amenities. Model flying clubs are sports clubs and therefore their club flying sites are outdoor sports amenities and must close if they are to comply with the regulation.
Model flying itself has not been prohibited during the lockdown period and as an outdoor recreation may possibly continue in public open spaces dependent on any local restrictions. BMFA insurance remains valid as long as you are operating lawfully. However, legislation limits outdoor gatherings to no more than 2 (unless from the same household) and the BMFA advises that members do not fly alone for safety reasons.
Regardless of the legal position, if the landowner perceives that a club or individual is carrying on flying against regulations during the lockdown it could put permission for model flying on the site at risk. You should also consider the perception from the general public if they also see you carrying on during lockdown.
Therefore, whilst it may still be possible for one or two individuals to fly at a club site on a public open space without being in breach of the regulations, we strongly recommend that members refrain from doing so for the duration of the lockdown.
Is it really worth the risk of permanently losing your flying site?
Club Support Officer
As you may be aware the Government restrictions regarding the Corona virus will change on this Wednesday 13/05/2020. The parts in the communication relevant to ourselves concern the relaxing of the rules governing the time allowed and type of sports that are legal to participate in.
The committee instructions below are in constant review and are dependent on the R figure remaining below 1. Should the figure rise, the government will immediately cancel the latest instructions and the country will again go into total lock down. Please keep a constant look out on the news as to any change of status.
This update is to clarify the club's position with regard to operations and access to the flying field.
The file below from the BMFA gives their position in addition to the already discussed Government guidelines for Social Separation.
PPMFC has additional local site instructions to add:
1. Members are again reminded that the decision to go flying is their sole responsibility and to assess the risk and consider any health issues and the impact on their well being before deciding to go flying.
2. The number of aircraft in the air at any one time must not exceed three (3), the lower the number the better and the 2 metre (6ft) separation must be maintained on the flight line.
3. The pit area must be set up with the separation maintained between each member.
4. The clubhouse cannot accommodate the 2 metre rule, so only single occupancy for tea, coffee making. (the same applies for the Loo!!!!!!!!!!!)
5. It is advised that all members, as per the BMFA guidelines, carry their own hand sanitizer and disposable gloves to wear, in their flight box.
6. First in to open the gate, please unlock and leave open, with the last to leave closing and locking the gate behind them.
7. In the car park it will not be possible to maintain 2 metres, so be patient and allow other members to unload / load before you start.
As a final request, please spread these instructions to any members you know who are not computer literate and have a safe and enjoyable time.
Roger Kilbey Chairman
Rob Bennett Treasurer
Simon John Secretary
A return to the Skies
The UK government has indicated that there will be some ‘relaxation’ of the current restrictions and that from Wednesday 13th May it will be possible to leave home and drive somewhere to engage in a sporting/recreational activity. Please note that at the present time, this ‘relaxation’ applies only to England. The advice for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales remains ‘stay home’.
This change in government advice will permit the resumption of some model flying activity in England subject to compliance with certain guidelines and social distancing. Points to note include:
1. We remain in the midst of a pandemic. The updated government advice must not be regarded as meaning a ‘return to normal’. The situation is dynamic and current government advice must be followed.
2. The effects of the COVID-19 virus are most serious in men over the age of 60, especially those with other underlying health problems. As many of our members fall into this group, we would urge careful consideration before venturing out and risking any potential exposure to the virus, however small the risk may be.
3. At no point during the lockdown has model flying been prohibited. It is mainly the government’s blanket restrictions on non-essential travel which has precluded our activity (which remains the case in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), although some landlords have imposed their own restrictions on activity on their land. Therefore, regardless of any changes to the government’s advice, any such local restrictions must also be considered.
4. Should Clubs/members in England decide to resume model flying then they must follow government advice. Some simple measures to consider may include:
• Social distancing in accordance with government guidelines ensuring the minimum 2 metre (and preferably greater) separation from other people (unless from the same household) is always maintained (including in the carpark, pits & pilot box). Clubs need to consider measures to ensure compliance with this requirement, which in some instances is likely to require limitations on the number of members on a club site at any one time.
• Latex/Nitrile/Vinyl gloves to be worn or hand sanitiser used immediately before and immediately after opening/unlocking and closing/locking access gates and padlocks
• Latex/Nitrile/Vinyl gloves to be worn or hand sanitiser used immediately before and immediately after using any club site maintenance equipment.
• No sharing of model flying equipment and aircraft (apart from by those sharing a household).
• Unless both instructor and pupil share the same household, if an individual has not yet reached a “safe solo” competence and still requires supervision, a buddy system must be employed, preferably wireless and with the instructor and student using their own equipment. If a wired system is used it must allow the instructor to maintain a minimum 2m separation from the student and appropriate sanitation measures should be taken when handling the buddy lead.
• Clubhouses and any shared facilities (e.g. toilets) to remain closed.
• Hand sanitiser should be considered an essential item in every model aircraft flyer’s flight box.
• Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19, or who shares a household with any individual displaying symptoms, must not fly and should stay at home to maintain social isolation in accordance with government advice.
Ultimately, it has to be the individual’s decision whether to go flying or not and to take responsibility for their own safety.
We will issue further guidance as details become available.
The health and wellbeing of our members remains our first priority, so please stay safe.
Tel: 0116 2440028
The Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers Limited T/A The British Model Flying Association
A company limited by guarantee. Registered in England Number 457067 Registered office Chacksfield House, 31 St Andrew's Road, Leicester, LE2 8RE