On February 17, the US Senate passed S. 223, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, sponsored by Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Additional help in shepherding the bill came from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, and Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma was instrumental in including an amendment to the Bill that provides an exemption for aeromodeling activity “conducted in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization.” We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Senators Rockefeller, Inhofe and Hutchison for their support and efforts on our behalf.
This was a huge step forward in AMA’s efforts to protect model aviation from unnecessary and potentially debilitating federal regulation.
Although this was a significant accomplishment, we are far from being out of the woods on this issue. A similar amendment needs to be filed and passed by the House of Representatives before going to conference committee. AMA and our political liaison will be working diligently on accomplishing this in the next couple of weeks, with the hopes of having the amendment included in the bill when it leaves Congress.
What can you do to help? AMA has initiated a Congressional Awareness Campaign, aimed at educating Congress on the social, cultural and educational attributes of model aviation and making it aware of our concerns. In the suggested letter to Congress on our website is a paragraph advising that “We are pleased the U.S. Senate has adopted an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill exempting the operation of model airplanes from unnecessary federal regulations.” And, “We urge you to ensure that this amendment is included in the legislation when it is sent to the Executive branch for signature.”
Please be sure to take a minute to make your voice heard and submit the suggested letter to your congressional delegation.
– Rich Hanson, AMA Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs Representative