Science & Technology Committee’s Enquiry – Part III

This was aired on Tuesday 9th July. The first part of this programme had Gemma Alcock, Founder of Skybound Rescuer; Prof. David Dunn, Intl. Politics Univ. of Birmingham and Dave Phipps, BMFA. The second part was Baroness Vere on her own.

For session one:

• Prof. David Dunn, well I think you need to watch and make up your own mind on this one, my thoughts are quite simple – ‘imbecile’. Suffice to say he wants model flyers out of the air. He didn’t offer much to the discussion other than liking to hear himself talk. But as I say, make your own minds up re him.

• Gemma Alcock was level headed, talked about educating drone flyers, and had a good grasp on what she was talking about.

• Dave Phipps was very concise but very restrained, he gave the impression that he was hog-tied and told to keep quiet although at one point the Chair did refer to his considerable contributions to the discussions which was good.

Certainly not what I expected to watch, but having suffered Baroness Vere in part two it is perhaps understandable, you can only beat your head against a brick wall for so long. So to summarise part two. The Government is set in its path to aid the industrial aspect of drone development. Along with all her other commentary it is clear that the industry side want us out of the low level air-space and she and her department will do whatever they can to assist them to achieve this, after all they are business and have money to make, we are mere model flyers, flying for enjoyment. They appear to be steam rolling ahead regardless of anyone or anything in their path. The last one to do this was in Germany, 1942.

One major point they joked about, it has long gone past the point of having anything to joke about, was the fact we didn’t wish to pay £16.50. They are right, we don’t because we already have everything they require in place through our Associations, why should we have to pay again? Even EASA knows and acknowledges this. She managed, whilst making light of this sum, to state it was a guesstimate and was flexible, which we all knew, but has now been confirmed from the horses mouth.

We all know they have their sums wrong due to their estimate of numbers flying and who will register, so if nothing else this proves a level of incompetency at the outset. If everyone were to register, I would think they would be lucky to get about 30,000 registrations and that’s being generous. So let’s have a play with the level of miscalculation they are set to inflict on the model flyers. They announced that they need £2.5M to finance their computer system and we have to pay for it. However £16.50 times 170,000 equals £2,805,000. Oops that’s a little bit of profiteering isn’t it or is that to cover Parliamentary expenses :)? Lets just continue to use their figures and assume that is the target they are looking to achieve to buy their super duper laptop and a copy of excel spreadsheet which we all agree would be sufficient to run their wanted database system. Hell they could even go for a top class desktop and still have £2.8M in change. So £16.50 is a miscalculation to start with but by how much? If we continue to use their figures, we have £2,805,000 divided by 30,000, equals £93.50 for each person that registers to achieve the same budget target. Some miscalculation, but hey no problem this figure was flexible we’ll just get you to pay let’s say £95-£100 just to be safe. The next query has to be then why is this supposedly per annum? Don’t forget this is also to replicate what we already have in place within our Association schemes.

There is only one way to look at this – it is a heavy handed taxation of our hobby. Why?

Taxation today is used as a tool to achieve a goal. Take car tax as an example, they want electric cars so petrol and diesel get higher road tax. People move to electric. So they tax our hobby with a view to forcing us out of the air. Because big business want the lower air space which has been openly stated in the enquiry and they are already experimenting with building safe corridors for business use in Wales. We are in the way and they want us gone. Take a look at the BMFA club map. Not all clubs are on there but just the 480 odd that are give the picture to back this argument. Have a look at Wales, very few clubs shown, an ideal area to play at establishing business corridors in low level airspace, do you agree? Now go and look at the rest of the country. Lots of clubs all over the place so a nightmare to navigate. Cure? Let’s get rid of the clubs and subsequently the model flying hobby. They are not aiming at the rogue flyer or the terrorist flyer because that is not their goal in all of this, just the excuse.

These are my views from watching and listening to what has been released over the recent months. As always you must make up your own minds from what you are presented with, I hope I have provided seed for thought if nothing else. I would urge you all now to learn everything you can that has happened so far because we are facing a fight for the future of model flying like no hobby has ever faced before and if we all don’t unite as one we will fall. It is time to stand by our beliefs and our rights, against what is fast becoming a dictatorship.