They way I understand it is this, the 400ft is an all encompassing limit for all “model aircraft” irrespective of type which are flown LOS.
In place and for a number of years now there has been an exemption for FPV flights.
The exemption was put in place by the CAA after FPVUK members lobbied their local MP’s against a proposed ban by the CAA.
The matter was raised in parliament, and after a lot of work by FPVUK chairman Simon Dale and exceptional engagement by the CAA, the CAA allowed FPV flights only if you were a member of FPVUK.
The BMFA were quite hostile to FPV flying at that time but shut up when FPVUK was granted to be the only body under which you could be insured and legally fly FPV. The conditions were that you had to have a “competent observer” and fly no higher than 400ft.
The CAA by appointing FPVUK were able to put the “eggs in one basket” so to speak and after a couple of years they were able to have the necessary data as to how safe FPV was; and by this time the BMFA had time to rethink its position regarding FPV and my guess is they thought if you can’t beat them join them.
It followed that there was only one incident during that trail period that led to prosecution; we all thought that after that incident the FPV community had had it, but to our surprise the CAA raised the altitude limit to 1000ft, I think it was the following year.
If you use goggles altitude limit is 1000ft with a competent observer, the pilot and observer remain bound by the LOS rule to maintain unaided visual contact with the aircraft at all times.
At the end of this month any model aircraft “irrespective of type” weighing more than 250g and flown “line of sight” must be flow at or below 400ft.
I believe that it makes sense that the various model flying associations will be lobbying for exemption for their members regarding club activities such as the highest altitude reached by competitors in gliding activities etc.
I believe that the CAA has an eye out for a legal framework for UAV flight altitude corridors to accommodate for military and commercial interests that will operate at “beyond visual sight” That framework does require the registration of all “UAV” weighing more than 250g.
I think that the next generation of DJI “UAV” may end up with a transponder that can be “pinged” by let say an airport perimeter scanner, the scanners are already being tested. The scanner will be able to identify the owner and also tap into the video and telemetry.
I don’t know how registering will work, my question is, is it just for “multicopters” or any type of model aircraft? or will it be if the “model aircraft has a camera”? I have deliberately avoided using the “Drone” word.
Sorry, I’ve gone on a bit eh! Please correct me where I’ve my facts wrong.