Government Lockdown – COVID- PANDAS Flying Site Closure Thursday 5th November 2020

As everyone will know the government are bringing in a new lockdown from tomorrow (Thursday 5th November 2020). It is due expire on Wednesday 2nd December.

The lockdown rules / guidelines are once again confusing, with mixed messages coming from different government ministers.

The media then complicate things by saying these are the rules, when in fact it is a guideline, that has no legal standing.

Most people want to stay safe and help stop the spread of the virus.

The significant difference to the first lockdown are the conditions that people can leave their house. You can leave for exercise and recreation (there is no definition of recreation). I would say, that flying model aircraft is recreation (that is my view only and there is no legal definition to confirm that).

However, there is a rule (it is the law not a guideline) that all inside and outside sports venues must close (this includes golf courses and outside tennis facilities). Model flying is classed as a sport and this usually works to our advantage in any negotiations. We fly under the umbrella of a licence from Wakefield council and from a legal point of view, the flying site is therefore classed as an outside sports facility. In the current climate and under this new lockdown legislation, the fact we are classed as a sport, seems to have worked against us and forces the club to close the PANDAS flying site during the lockdown period.

If any person wants to visit any open public space (this also includes private land), as long as they have permission to use it and comply with the current flying laws, I think you can legally fly a model aircraft.

The problem we have, is that we fly under a licence and from a legal point of view, the field is classed as an outside sports facility. These must close under the current new lockdown legislation.

The field will therefore be closed from Thursday 5th November until we can legally reopen (currently Wednesday 2nd December 2020 but that could change).

The BMFA and LMA advice is that club flying sites should be closed.

If anyone has any questions or needs to clarify anything, please feel free to call or email me.

Martin Lynn,
PANDAS Chairman.
Mobile: 07802 725 231

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