rchelicopterhub.com / rchelicopter.hu
01 February 2019

No-Deal Brexit consequences
As the hobby can be affected

After recent debates in the House of Commons we have to realise that, most likely form of leaving the EU is a No-Deal scenario or crashing out and falling back on WTO rules. But what happens to the hobby in case of disordered leaving.

No-Deal Brexit consequences
BREXIT / Source: europa.eu

Unfortunately the position of the United Kingdom in the European Union interpreted by MPs is not correct. The country is much less important in the continent than it's broadcasted by British media or political parties, and this is obvious to everyone following not just British sources. The EU representatives have decided already, Brits must be punished for their decision to set up a precedent in front of countries and people considering similar decisions, otherwise in case of a successful Brexit, the risk of losing more countries will be higher. 

But this article is not about the political analysis of Brexit. Let others do that instead of us. And this is not a political declaration either, the article below tries to predict the effects on the RC helicopter modelling (and aeromodelling) in general.

It's certain, many areas of the hobbies will be affected a lot. Not just prices or businesses, everybody. This is not just financial question, this can be administrative as well. We tried to sum up the most important changes.

What happens to UAV rules

This area is going to be the least affected. Rules introduced already and the future rules will remain unchanged (mostly). Yes, they are forced and declared by EASA, and this is not going to change, even if the United Kingdom is not member of the EU anymore. The only difference is that, the country will have no say officially, for example: BMFA cannot do anything for us in the future.

But how is it possible when we are out? Do you remember GDPR? Those magical four letters caused a huge headache everywhere in the world within IT industry, whilst this is an EU regulation only. But if any company wants to provide anything into the EU, it must comply with these rules. this example shows the power of it. This is exactly the same in air traffic regulations. If the airlines want to fly between EU countries and the UK, the regulations have to match EU requirements. And I'm quite certain, making aeromodelling easier in the country will not be a reason to comfront EU authorities. Why not opposite? There is a "nice" phrase to this situation:

Stronger dog f...ks

Models and prices

As long as a model or spare parts come from outside of the EU (like Align, XLPower, GAUI, Blade) even now, only one thing can change: the delivery time. It is supposed, the increased number of customs case will increase the processing times as well, so each parcel will take longer to receive. Might be few days or a week more. This is going to be true if you buy something through a local shop or directly from overseas. But prices will not be affected - except if the pound plunges a lot, but that can happen in case a no-Brexit scenario as well.

More interesting question is the products form the EU (like: Mikado, SAB, Soxos), or when you are shopping at a shop in an EU country. Now everything comes with the VAT used in that country, without customs fees. If the country fall back on WTO rules, this will change. In some cases it could be better, but this is just a theory, this could work when a product ordered from EU is invoiced with no local VAT as it counts as export for them. You will pay the British VAT and customs (between 0-4.7% depending on the product you ordered). When the VAT is higher in the country of origin, than in the UK, you will pay less - however this is not so typical in EU. German VAT is 19%, Austria 20%, France 20%, Switzerland 7.7%, Spain 21%, Italy 22%. So you will pay less VAT on the prices of the products from the last two countries only. But EU stores (now including the UK ones) don't bother with VAT-free sellings and claiming the VAT back, therefore it can happen, you will pay the VAT in the original country, then in the UK as well, then on top of them the customs tariffs (including the delivery costs), so at the end of the day everything from the EU can be more expensive by 20% or more per cents. For instance a SAB Goblin 770 costing 756 pounds now, can get up to 907 pounds - plus delivery fees exceeding one thousand pounds all together.

Shops in the UK

Many shops of the United Kingdom sell a lot to Europe as well. These shops have to say 'good bye' to almost all EU customers, because they will find German, Austrian, Italian and Spanish retailers instead of the UK ones, as these ones will be more expensive and - of course - much slower than now, due to processes of the new borders. EU customers expecting everything as fast as possible won't wait for 1-2 weeks more for their products.

And local shops will have to increase prices on the products coming from the EU to make at least a similar margin as before. I bet, few of them will close down, and the range of the products will be smaller than now. Real losers of a crashing out will be the UK stores.


A no-deal scenario is not good for the hobby, the outcome is going to be devastating, and no doubt, many of us will be shortly giving up on the hobby.