In a recent email an AMA member asked if we had a ‘right’ to fly model aircraft… ?
It’s an interesting question… And in fact yes, we do have a right to fly!
Though we do not have a specific right to access the civil airspace as part of our constitutional rights, we do have the right to navigate the US National Airspace System (NAS) by Public Law.
49 U.S.C. § 40103 states, “A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace.”
The FAA has been tasked with developing “plans and policy for the use of the navigable airspace and assign by regulation or order the use of the airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace.” And the law does allow the FAA Administrator to “modify or revoke an assignment when required in the public interest.” However, the FAA cannot unilaterally exclude any specific aeronautical activity from the NAS unless it can first show that it is in the “public interest” to do so.
Of course with this right to fly comes personal responsibility. We all have the responsibility to follow the rules once legally established, to operate our model aircraft in a safe manner and to not endanger the life and property of others. Failure to do so risks revocation of our personal right to the NAS.
AMA is committed to protecting aeromodeling’s access to the national airspace and will continue to fight for your “Right to Fly”!
AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs