This briefing was presented on Saturday, February 11th, three days before President Obama signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act into law. Though this law goes a long way towards protecting model aviation from regulation it should not be viewed as a total exemption from regulatory oversight. The FAA will always have the authority over and the responsibility for maintaining the safety of the national airspace, Modelers have the responsibility of operating their model aircraft in a safe and responsible manner and will continue to be subject to the policies and procedures governing MA operations in the national airspace whether they be part of AMA’s community-based safety program or regulatory in nature.
There are a lot of unanswered questions as to how the MA provisions in the reauthorization bill will be enacted, and we are still very much in the early stages of working through these issues. AMA believes the Act clearly reflects the view that aeromodeling is a relatively harmless activity and expresses Congress’ recognition of the level of safety the community has achieved through voluntary compliance with a community-based set of safety guidelines. As we move forward we will seek a viable means of enacting this legislative provision and establishing a mutually agreed upon set of criteria to ensure the continued safe operation of model aircraft in the national airspace. This unfortunately is very slow process and it may take several weeks if not months to iron out all the details.