CIAM are removing UAVs from the definition as a model aircraft

:censored: CIAM are removing UAVs from the definition as a model aircraft. :censored: :censored: :mad:

We the UAV hobby community need to follow this up.

Below is a response from FAI re the removal of Maynard Hills record.

Note: also posted in RCG
Autonomous flight working group

Working group comprises Jo Halman, Dave Brown, Ian Kaynes. Report by Ian Kaynes

March 2008.

The autonomous flight record category, F8, was approved by the 2006 Plenary meeting to

address the major discrepancy between records that could be created by traditional RC

aircraft and by models incorporating autonomous control systems. While this has restored the

purity of the basic RC records, there is some confusion and overlap between the F8 category

and the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) category which was recognised by the FAI in 2001.

The UAV category is controlled by Sporting Code Section 12 under the auspices of CASI.

The definitions of model aircraft and UAVs in the General Section of the Sporting Code

revolve around the UAVs being qualified as "which is designed for scientific research,

commercial, governmental or military purposes." This phrase is then repeated in Section 12

(UAVs). In Section 4, this phrase also appears but only to emphasise the exclusion of UAVs

from the definition of model aircraft which then has the added qualification of “to be used for

competition, sport or recreational purposes”.

The definitions do not present a clear enough distinction between the categories. The Working

Group considers that it is undesirable to allow any UAVs to participate in model aircraft

competitions or record attempts or come under the auspices of model flying in general. The

problem is how to define this distinction. The only natural distinction identified by this Working

Group is the inclusion of autonomous functions, such as the ability to navigate between any

specified waypoints. In general this is a common feature of many UAVs and is viewed as

undesirable for model flying given that the raison d’etre of model flying is to represent the skill

of the flyer.

Even if the model aircraft definition is modified to exclude autonomous functions, it would not

limit aids such as wing-levellers and yaw gyros stabilisers, which augment the stability of the

model rather than controlling the flight autonomously.

The only class in CIAM which currently allows something which approaches autonomous flight

is the steering of gliders in the free flight class F1E. This does not prevent the use of a

definition based on autonomous functions since either F1E can be covered by allowing those

devices which are legal within the class specification or the class specification can be refined

to exclude autonomous systems. The Free Flight Subcommittee is currently discussing a

change of F1E definition from the current text “The glider can be equipped with a steering

device, which cannot be controlled by the competitor during flight.” to “The glider can be

equipped with a steering device, which may use a direction sensor and measurement of flight

time. The steering device must not use any measurement of geographical location and must

not be controlled by the competitor during flight.”

An essential characteristic of radio-controlled model flying is the need to keep the model

within sight of the flyer throughout the flight, and which is also highly desirable for safety

considerations. This mode of flying models has been likened to operating an aircraft VFR

whereas UAVs operate under IFR. Those UAVs which do not include autonomous flight

control often feature manual control by the operator using video from the aircraft. From

considerations of safety and complexity it is considered undesirable that this should be

allowed as a control mode for model aircraft. Consequently a revised model aircraft definition

could replace the current UAV distinction by a positive statement on autonomous functions

and controlling within visual range of the pilot similar to that already written in records rules

2.2.5 and 2.2.6.


If the new definition for model aircraft is adopted then the F8 Autonomous Flight record

category could not, and should not, be maintained. There are currently two records within the

F8 category, for distance and duration on the transatlantic flight by Maynard Hill et al. It is

proposed that these should be recognized by CIAM as special achievements and that CIAM

should request that CASI adopts the records in the U-1.a category, which is for UAV records

by aircraft with weight less than 5 kg and including remote control at some time during the

flight. There are currently no records recognized for U-1.a..


1. The Working Group recommend that UAVs and autonomous flight have no place in

model aircraft flying within CIAM

2 This recommendation requires a revised definition of model aircraft

3 Action must be taken about the existing records in the F8 Autonomous Flight category:

a) for CIAM to recognise these flights as special achievements

b) to retain the records as historical superceded records

c) to endeavour to have the records transferred to the relevant UAV category

4 Consequential changes to the Sporting Code record section.

Details of Proposed changes


The Working Group proposes the following change to the definition in Volume ABR:


A model aircraft is an aircraft of limited dimensions, with or without a propulsion device,

not able to carry a human being and to be used for competition, sport or recreational


For the whole of the flight, a radio-controlled model aircraft shall be in the direct control of

the pilot, via a transmitter, and in the pilot's sight other than for momentary periods.

For control line model aircraft the pilot must physically hold the control-line handle and

control the model aircraft himself.

Free flight model aircraft must be launched by the flyer and must not be controlled during

the flight other than to terminate the flight.

A model aircraft shall not be equipped with any device which allows it to be flown

automatically to a selected location.

Sporting Code changes
If the definition presented above is adopted, there a number of consequential changes to the

Sporting Code volume ABR:

a) Delete Records section 2.10 (Special rules for Autonomous Flight Records.).

b) Delete Autonomous flight records 900 to 934 from Table I “Classification of Records”.

c) In Table III Checklist Record Dossier item 8 delete “other than in the F8 category”.

d) Paragraphs 2.11 and 2.12 to be re-numbered.

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Interesting, this has caused a storm on RCgroups and nobody here seems to care!

I wonder if this is why grown ups want hobby UAV's closed down.

No AMA or BMFA support, no insurance is how I see it.

Just hoping to light the fire on this thread here.
I had only short time to get an idea of the implications, but when I read "the raison d’etre of model flying is to represent the skill of the flyer", then I think that they should allow RC Flight Simulator records in their long lists! But I have to agree that this personal thought comes out of anger...
In the meantime, I spread the word and the link to RCgroups thread to the FPV-ElectronicLoadedPlanes community in my region in hope to get it spread in local RC clubs faster. If what we do, or at least try to do, is not model flying related, then I wonder what I should call the activity that took most of my spare time since autumn!
I don't know if this helps in anyway, but it is what I can momentarily do. And I hope some other will react. I think DIYdrones members should be very much concerned by this topic.
Perhaps if you were to explain the implications of a body such as FAI on our ability to fly recreationally.

What influence do they carryin the USA or Canada for example?
I'd like to add something about another sentence in the 1.1 conclusions:
"A model aircraft shall not be equipped with any device which allows it to be flown automatically to a selected location"
In my opinion, a standard RC transmitter/receiver/servo/rod combo is precisely doing this: flying the aircraft automatically to a selected location at every new direction received from the Tx!
At least it is doing exactly that when the skilled RC champions and record breakers are flying...
Though I am not sure my microsecond time argument would stand in front of a jury!
SgtRic, please also ask Gary. I couldn't tell precisely, not being in North America.
In Switzerland and probably elsewhere in Europe, this would mean that UAVs would not be allowed on official model flying fields anymore, because the recreational UAV activity would not be covered by the national federation insurances. The regulation would mean the UAV you're dreaming off/building/flying/tweaking would not be considered a flying model anymore. You would thus most certainly not be allowed to fly it at all, even on private ground, without a special UAV autorization from the FAI instances. You would then eventually face the same procedures commercial UAV running companies have to go through to get a valid (and probably expensive) license. Unless you go completely illegal and then face complaints or risk charges.
Overall, this exclusion of UAVs from the model flying representation at the FAI would somehow mean the death of the recreational UAV activity. Finally, who knows if this very and cherished blog would not be at risk facing attacks because it promotes the recreational UAV activity?
Sgt. Ric: FAI and CIAM are worldwide organizations, they have influence on FAI events. However, I don't understand why they don't want to deal with hobby UAVs, since the characteristics of a hobby UAV can be defined just as well as a normal model.

Reto: they mean that the plane controls itself. The only exception is F1E, which is a free flight category with autonomous compass steering. I'm an international competitor in that since 1997, here are some vids (MUST SEE, THEY ARE ALMOST UAVS):

My video (taken in Romania):

Video of a Polish competitor:
Sounds like the AMA in the states... they do not allow FPVs on their flying fields and do not cover a member through insurance if the aircraft is flown beyond unaided visual range.
(This would then apply to UAVs flown beyond line of sight)
Thanks for the nice footage. I discover this category and it looks very nice and calm. Please do not take offense or anything, but could you maybe explain why the FAI is not considering the autonomous compass steering in your free flight glider a "device which allows it to be flown automatically to a selected location" as it is said for UAVs?
And as the other statement says "the raison d’etre of model flying is to represent the skill of the flyer", how does this sentence apply to F1E.
I very well understand that the light F1E gliders may not do as much harm when falling down than a heavy loaded UAV airframe, but at least the UAV has a return to launch failsafe.
Finally, I'd like to add that free flight aircraft are completely uncontrolled aerial vehicles once in the air, whereas UAVs in auto mode and in proper legal range can be brought back in RC control at every moment.
I think if recreational UAVs would be as old an official model flying category as the free flight models, we would have a permanent UAV comitee in every national official instance!
Not if UAVs are not considered flying model aircraft anymore, though!
As I said, this FAI decision is absolutely not logical. Maybe these people in the workgroup didn't even know what a UAV is. In my opinion, the growth of administrative work is not an excuse -I mean maybe they thought that all RC categories would have an UAV version? Maybe they didn't even hear about the outback challenge, whose rules they should adopt to F8.
Is Outback Challenge a FAI event?
An F1E is not able to fly a path with waypoints, it only keeps direction with the help of a compass which is located in the nose. You can set the angular position of a small nose-rudder relatively to this compass.
Varga, an additional question about F1E: once the glider is flying by itself, does the compass modify the rudder position automatically?
I understand the compass is only giving a direction. But if the answer to the above question is yes, then this compass is to be called a "device" to fly the glider toward a specific location, though the location would here be a geographical vector, and not a geographical point.
Understand me well, I do not intend to "declass" F1E at all (how could I). I only try to bring up a weakness of one of the FAI argument. At some point, counter arguments will be needed to defend UAVs.

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