Site Rules

1. Noise

As a general principle the Centre is operated under the terms of the DOE Code of Practice for the Minimisation of Noise from Model Aircraft.

We are in the fortunate position at the National Centre of being able to adopt some flexibility in the overall consideration of noise, this does not of course mean that we can disregard noise as a potential issue, in fact the opposite is true if we are to maintain our positive track record of problem free operation.

Controlling the noise generated from the site is a primary aspect of maintaining the existing positive relationship with the local community and our near neighbours.  As a core principle the aim should be to make aircraft as quiet as possible for the type, some aircraft types and disciplines are of course easier than others, however, the responsibility rests with all flyers, don’t be the person who generates a noise complaint.

The noise output generated by a model aircraft and its potential to cause a “nuisance” is a product of a number of related factors, and aspects such as flying style, area of operation, duration and timing all play a part in addition to the actual noise output.

The key routes to addressing potential noise issues at the Centre are, appropriately silenced engines, clear start and finish times for IC powered aircraft, designated silent flight/quiet flight days, designated silent flight/quiet flight events, continual monitoring.

2. Hours of Operation

Please familiarise yourself with the timings below including the additional notes: 

Day Designation Timing for IC operations
Monday Priority Free Flight/Silent Flight No timing restriction *
Tuesday General 10.00 – 18.00
Wednesday General 10.00 – 18.00
Thursday General 10.00 – 21.00 **
Friday General 10.00 – 17.00
Saturday General 10.00 – 17.00
Sunday General 10.00 – 17.00  (16.00) ***
Bank Hols Silent Flight only No time restriction

Note * Mondays are designated as priority Free Flight, this includes the operation of small IC engines up to 1.5cc as this activity falls outside of the Noise Code due to the limited duration engine run.

Note ** Thursday evenings have been allocated extended IC operating hours as an experiment to increase opportunities to fly this type of aircraft - the operation of IC aircraft is permitted to 9.00pm with the following conditions – aircraft must be below 7.5kg – aircraft must be well silenced.

Note *** Sundays have a stated finish time of 5.00pm for IC operations – for aircraft over 7.5kg and aircraft powered by gas turbines it is 4.00pm.

Additional notes

IC = internal combustion (engines)

Engines should not be “ground run” outside of the stated IC times.

The timings stated are for IC powered aircraft, silent flight/quiet flight aircraft may be flown outside of these times with no specific restrictions other than the general site rules, this includes gliders, electric powered aircraft (below 7.5kg) and Free Flight aircraft powered by engines of up to 1.5cc.

A small number of electric powered aircraft will need to be considered as IC powered for the purpose of noise control, for example, some EDF powered aircraft and some aircraft with very high revving in-runner motors and small propellors generate significant noise and represent an example of where the Noise Code falls short, it is expected that owners of such aircraft make a common-sense judgement.

Events are subject to the timings indicated above unless specifically agreed with a senior member of the National Centre staff.

Additional restrictions may be applied on an occasional basis but will be notified in advance.

3. Access and Parking

  1. The site may only be accessed from the Sewstern Lane entrance.
  2. The whole site is subject to a 5mph speed limit.
  3. Visitors must report to Reception/office on arrival *
  4. Vehicles to be parked on hard areas only (see notes below for exceptions).
  5. The primary flyers parking is Carpark A.
  6. Vehicles may be taken along the southern boundary for access to the grass CL areas subject to any restrictions due to ground conditions.
  7. Vehicles may be taken around the site perimeter for access to Free Flight launching areas subject to prior agreement on the day.
  8. No vehicles to be taken onto grass areas unless with prior permission.
  9. Absolutely no vehicles to be taken onto close mown areas (runways/CL circles).
  10. During the Winter months or extended periods of wet weather it may be necessary to restrict or prohibit vehicle assess to grass areas, this is indicated by the placement of cones to prevent access, cones are not to be moved.

*Vehicles may go straight to the appropriate car parking area if part of a 3rd party event under the control of a Specialist Body or named Contest Director/Event Organiser or if reception is closed.

4. Season Ticket Holders Arrangements

  1. A Season ticket provides access to the site outside of normal operating hours (when a member of staff is not on site).
  2. Season ticket holders will receive separate information in relation to access codes and gate protocols.
  3. The website site status provides details of season ticket holder access.
  4. A season ticket also provides access to some organised events.
  5. Events organised by third parties may be subject to an entry charge for season ticket holders.

5. Campsite Rules

  1. Please check-in at Reception before pitching.
  2. No fires.
  3. BBQs must be off the floor (no grass scorching).
  4. Generators must be turned off by 10.00pm and must be positioned and used with due consideration for other campers.
  5. No model aircraft of any type to be flown in campsite (includes multirotors and drones).
  6. Vehicle movements within the campsite and around the site should be kept to a minimum.

6. Flying Rules – General

  1. All pilots are responsible for lawful operation.
  2. All pilots must show proof of BMFA or equivalent liability insurance if requested to do so.
  3. Specific rules will be implemented and briefed for individual events as appropriate.
  4. All pilots/visitors must check in at reception prior to commencing flying (unless alternative arrangements are in place for the day).
  5. All pilots should familiarise themselves with site layout/operating rules prior to flying.
  6. Pilots must observe the specified ‘dead airspace’ for each flightline/pilots box.
  7. Flightline/pilots box in use for R/C flying will be designated/established at the start of each flying day but may be subject to change to reflect changes in wind direction/operating conditions/additional usage.
  8. Vehicles are not to be taken out onto flightlines unless with specific permission from Event Organiser, Flightline Controller, or duty staff member.
  9. All rubbish and debris must be removed from the flight line and flying area.
  10. Damaged/scrap lithium polymer batteries must be disposed of appropriately, do not place them in general waste bins, seek guidance from duty staff member or remove from site completely.
  11. When mixed activity is taking place, it is expected that all parties will communicate effectively to ensure safe practice and best utilisation of facilities.
  12. The General Flying rules and principles detailed in the BMFA Members Handbooks apply at the BMFA National Centre.

7. Radio Control

  1. Flying must take place only in designated areas.
  2. Pilots should ensure that they are appropriately briefed on the operation and orientation for the day.
  3. Pilots should familiarise themselves with the dead-side (no fly zone) for each runway and pilot box (see airfield maps).
  4. For general flying 2.4GHz and 35MHz equipment may be used.
  5. All transmitting equipment must be compliant with the relevant UK law.
  6. Aircraft must not be flown close to or over the buildings, car park or camping areas (this rule is relaxed for dedicated silent flight events, but aircraft must not be flown at low level over the referred to areas).
  7. The flight paths must be kept as far as possible to the west, north and east of the site (and NOT to the south).
  8. All powered R/C flying must be outside of the runway “L” (see site plan for reference).
  9. Before retrieving aircraft from outside the site boundaries ensure that the event/flightline controller/duty staff member is aware of your intent and is in possession of your contact details.
  10. When retrieving aircraft from outside of the boundary all possible steps should be taken to mitigate crop/property damage.

8. Turbine Operations

  1. Turbine aircraft may only be operated on designated JMA turbine days (see calendar for dates).
  2. Turbine operations must be carried out in accordance with the practices outlined in the JMA code of practice.
  3. All turbine operations/events must commence with a pilot’s briefing carried out jointly by the event organiser and Centre Manager or appointee.
  4. When operating aircraft powered by gas turbines a spotter is compulsory.

9. Over 25kg Aircraft

  1. Over 25kg aircraft may only be operated by LMA members subject to prior arrangement and permission.
  2. Permission to operate over 25kg aircraft at the National Centre must be obtained a minimum of 24 hours before flying from the Centre Manager or appointee.
  3. When operating over 25kg aircraft a spotter is compulsory.
  4. When operating over 25kg aircraft all CAA paperwork must be available on request.

10. Free Flight

  1. Flying must only take place in designated areas.
  2. Launching to take place from within designated area advised by the flight-line controller/organiser for the day/flying session.
  3. Before retrieving aircraft from outside the site boundaries ensure that the event/flightline controller/duty staff member is aware of your intent and is in possession of your contact details.
  4. When retrieving aircraft from outside of the boundary all possible steps should be taken to mitigate crop/property damage.
  5. Motor vehicles are not to be used for model retrieval within the site boundary.
  6. Motor vehicles may be used to transport retrieval equipment within the site boundary (poles, ropes, ladders etc) but must only be driven around the perimeter (never on the runway or control line areas).
  7. Electric bikes/scooters/pushbikes may be used for retrieval of models within the site boundary but must be routed predominantly around the site boundaries as far as possible.

11. Control Line

  1. Flying must only take place in designated areas or alternative locations with permission from a member of staff.
  2. A line pull test must be carried out where appropriate.
  3. No pulse jets.
  4. Hard Circle usage must be pre-booked and authorised by a member of staff.
  5. Hard circle must be cleaned after each flying session (fuel spills).

12. First Person View

  1. All equipment must be compliant with relevant UK requirements
  2. All FPV operation must be in accordance with the terms of the current Article 16 requirements for FPV flight.

13. Rotorcraft

  1. Where practical and appropriate rotorcraft will be allocated to a dedicated flightline.
  2. Rotorcraft flight may take place on a shared fixed wing flightline with the agreement of all parties.

14. Indoor

  1. Suitable aircraft may be flown in the events building by arrangement.
  2. No running of internal combustion engines indoors.
  3. No naked flames.
  4. Battery charging permitted with supervision.

14. Mixed Activities

  1. On occasions where mixed usage takes place it is important that all parties communicate effectively to ensure safe operations.
  2. For sport flying activity the responsibility rests with all individuals.
  3. For organised events or competitions, the responsibility rests with the event organiser, contest director for each discipline or a senior staff member.
  4. The priorities are:
    • No endangering of persons or property takes place.
    • The operating area and airspace limits for each discipline are established and agreed.
    • The site is used effectively and safely.
    • The site is used fairly.

15. Designated Free Flight and RC assist days

  1. Mondays as designated as “priority free flight days”, this means exactly what it says, when free flight activity is taking place, the activity has first priority in terms of location on the field and flying orientation.
  2. Limited RC flying will be permitted on Mondays with the following restrictions/conditions.
  • No IC powered aircraft (electric powered aircraft or gliders only).
  • Maximum weight limit 5kg
  • Pilots of RC aircraft must communicate with the FF flyers prior to commencement of flying.
  • Effective lookout must be maintained particularly in respect of persons retrieving free flight


  • RC aircraft must not be flown at low level over persons (this is potentially endangering).
  • The runway (if required) may not be that favoured by the wind direction.
  • RC flyers may occasionally have to delay a flight or modify their flight pattern to ensure safe


In practice these arrangements have worked well with no conflict.

A small number of days have also been designated as Free Flight and RC Assist (marked as Power Strugglers on the calendar), for these days aircraft types will be specifically limited to the designated activity.

16. Incident Reporting

  1. If you are involved in an incident at the National Centre or witness unsafe practice this should be reported to a member of staff at the earliest opportunity, out of hours contact numbers are displayed on Reception front and side doors for out of hours use.
  2. Additionally, any incident falling within the Article 16 reporting requirements should be reported through the BMFA portal at (a member of staff will provide guidance on this aspect).
  3. Any matter relating to site security, equipment damage or unauthorised activity should be reported to a member of staff at the earliest opportunity.
  4. If you witness a security incident or unauthorised access, please report immediately using the out of hours contact numbers and also record time and date as well as any additional details in order that security camera footage can be reviewed and saved, and a crime report can be submitted if required.
  5. If you witness possible unlawful activity close to the site boundaries (such as off-road trespassing or hare coursing) then this should be reported immediately using the out of hours contact numbers, again noting as much detail as possible (for example vehicle registration numbers) but under no circumstances should members enter into communication or conflict or put themselves at risk.

17. Full-size aviation

  1. The National Centre benefits from BMFA & LMA permissions for the operation of over 7.5kg and over 25kg aircraft.
  2. The site benefits from an entry in the AIP (Air Information Publication) which indicates operation of over 7.5kg aircraft above 400 feet (agl) the site also benefits from a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) as an aide to “visibility” to full size traffic.
  3. These do not legally represent segregated airspace but form a warning to air users of unusual or hazardous activity.
  4. This means that effective lookout should still be maintained at all times flying is taking place.
  5. It is also worth remembering that the length and orientation of the main runway could make it an attractive proposition for a full-size emergency landing, and also for a sailplane/glider requiring a landing location.
  6. If a full-size aircraft is spotted in the circuit or on approach models must be landed/flown clear immediately.
  7. Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times.

18. Site maps and No Fly zones

The maps below provide the general layout and key for the National Centre as well as the standard no-fly areas for each pilot’s box – changes to the no-fly areas will be agreed and briefed on an individual basis with event organisers/competition CD’s.

Click the site maps below to view an enlarged version