This is certainly a more important subject than some might imagine. For those who may not know, it’s not the local flying club that makes the rules on noise, it’s The Department of the Environment (DoE), under their Noise Code! And, here’s a useful article published by the BMFA…
“In addition to the occasional scrutiny of model flying by Magistrates referred to in the section ‘Legal Controls over Model Flying’, Planning Authorities are constantly making decisions on whether to allow change of use for model flying sites or whether to issue clubs with a licence to fly on Local Authority land.
When they are taking these decisions they have a statutory duty to ensure that the activities on the site are not a potential nuisance to the surrounding area. When considering possible noise nuisance, the document to which they will most likely refer is the DoE Code of Practice.
If a noise complaint is made against your flying site, the Local Authority will probably send an Environmental Health Officer to investigate. He or she will arrive armed with a noise meter and a copy of the DoE Code of Practice.
If the noise your models make is going to be judged by anyone, then the Code of Practice is most likely to be the standard that it will be judged against. For this reason alone, you should take careful note of the conditions laid out in this document because you never know when it may be applied to you.
Finally, the model flying knowledge of the Environmental Health Officer who may turn up will vary from nil to extremely good and, strange as this may seem, the same may apply to their knowledge of the Noise Code. Read and absorb the Code and it’s likely that you will know as much (or more) about it as they do, which would certainly be to your advantage”.
The Code can be downloaded from: Code of Practice on Noise from Model Aircraft.
LAM’s rules state that, “All IC models, electric ducted fan (EDF), and high-speed electric models must be noise assessed and the results entered in the Noise Assessment book in the cabin. Before flying such a model that has not been previously assessed, the member must contact a member of the club committee to arrange a noise assessment. Models above 80 decibels at 7 metres distance are not permitted to fly”.
We must be ever conscious of the noise our models make, especailly as the sound can be carried quite some distance. We certainly don’t want any complaints made to the Local Authority nor a visit from an Environmental Health Officer! So, if your model is one of the above, or you think your model may be overly noisy, contact the committee and arrange an assessment.
The BMFA provides advice on noise testing and this can be viewed here: BMFA Advice on the Noise Test.