FAA Bill Issues Protection for Radio Control Model Aviation
MUNCIE, ILL. – Recently congress passed the first FAA Reauthorization bill in more than four years. President Obama signed into law the legislation that includes a special provision for model aircraft protecting it from FAA regulations. “The law recognizes community-based safety programming as an effective means of managing the modeling activity,” said Bob Brown, AMA President. “We believe this is a common sense approach to allowing hobbyists to continue as they have for generations.”
The model aircraft section of the FAA Reauthorization Bill establishes minimum criteria for safe aeromodeling operations and specifically directs the FAA to not enact rules for modeling activity conducted within the safety programming of a nationwide community-based organization, such as AMA.
“The culmination of AMA’s efforts over the past four years in achieving this recognition and obtaining the legislative safeguard is a great accomplishment for the aeromodeling community,” said Rich Hanson, AMA’s representative for Government and Regulatory Affairs. “This recognition will help with our continuing efforts with the FAA to improve safety in the national airspace to which we remain strongly committed.”
Recognition is also due to AMA members who went the extra mile by sending 90,000 letters of concern to their congressional leaders, making phone calls, and supporting the AMA with donations used for this campaign. Hanson and his government relations team have been working with the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Program Office for almost four years, refining safety standards. For other developments for the aeromodeling community, visit the Academy of Model Aeronautics for details.
FAA Reauthorization Bill – SEC. 336. SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT.
In General.–Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including this subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft, if:
(1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
(2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;
(3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization;
(4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and
(5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport)).
(b) Statutory Construction. – Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of
the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who
endanger the safety of the national airspace system.
(c) Model Aircraft Defined. – In this section, the term “model aircraft” means an unmanned
aircraft that is:
(1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and
(3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.