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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Yes, after the angular position of the rudder is set relatively to the compass, they rotate together (they are on the same axis)- that is how automatic steering works. This is important because slope wind also blows in one direction, you set the rudder so that the airplane should fly facing the wind. You are correct, if you say that a vector points to a location then it's waypoint navigation.

Ok, I didn't even know that I've built UAVs since 1997 :-)))))
Thanks Varga for the explanations and nice photos.
I'm stunned. That's the coolest thing I've seen all day! I had no idea such things existed---I assume those are electronic compasses hooked up to a servo and not incredibly powerful magnetic compasses?
Well, 99% of F1E gliders is controlled by a 12*50 mm (~0.5*2 inch) AlNiCo alloy magnet rod (it doesn't even need to be too strong) but some guys in Italy (Maurizio Tomazzoni) and Switzerland (Andreas Tschanz) uses electronic magnetometer control with rudder servo - I wanna build one like that since I have traditionally controlled ones.

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