The AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs team has been hard at work to fight for all aeromodelers. We are happy to accept your questions, and have placed top priority on continuing to keep our members in the know when it comes to the NPRM and government actions related to model aviation. Several of you have asked about the five mile rule associated with the new FAA reauthorization bill signed by President Obama last week.
Rich Hanson, leader of AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs weighs in:
Q: Now that the FAA reauthorization bill is signed into law, should we start contacting the airport/ATC when operating within five (5) miles of a public airport and should clubs begin establishing operating agreements for established flying sites in this region?
A: No, at least not yet.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding how the MA provision in the Bill will be enacted and what oversight authority the FAA will continue to have on us. There is no doubt that the FAA is tasked with maintaining the safety of the NAS and we will need to come to an understanding as to what criteria the AMA member will need to follow in order to operate within the national airspace in the future. As such, it’s probably a little too soon to start reacting to the criteria established in the model aircraft provision in the Bill. AMA will be working directly with the FAA in establishing procedures for setting up these agreements; however, this will take some time and it will likely take several weeks, if not a few months, to iron out all the details.
For now I would suggest business as usual and continue your site operations in accordance with the AMA Safety Code as you have in the past. If you already have an agreement in place then certainly continue to operate under the provisions of that agreement. However if you currently fall within five (5) miles of a public airport and you don’t yet have an agreement, unless approached for some reason by the airport or ATC, it’s recommended you hold off on pursuing an agreement until the AMA is able to provide a form and format for doing so.
As it stands, it’s unlikely there will be an impetus for an established agreement until the issues surrounding the proposed sUAS rule are resolved later this year; however, if you do get approached by the airport authority or someone from the FAA, please contact the AMA for assistance.