AMA releases statement: NTSB ruling – FAA v. Pirker

M U N C I E, IN March 7, 2014 –Bob Brown, president of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, released the following statement in response to the National Transportation Safety Board’s Administrative Law Judge’s decision to uphold the motion to dismiss in the FAA v. Pirker Order of Assessment case.

“We are carefully reviewing the decision and the judge’s findings. Though the ruling deals primarily with administrative procedures, the safe operation of unmanned aircraft, be it for commercial or recreational purposes, is the primary concern. The members of the Academy of Model Aeronautics have operated unmanned aircraft (model aircraft) in the national airspace for decades and have set the example for operating small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in a safe and harmonious fashion.”

“This current situation underscores the immediate need for programing to support and govern this activity. The Academy stands ready to lend its expertise and to assist the FAA in developing a safety structure that will enable and allow all sUAS to operate safely and responsibly in the national airspace.”

The Academy of Model Aeronautics has been the nation’s collective voice for approximately 164,000 modelers in 2,400 clubs in every state and Puerto Rico since 1936. A nonprofit association headquartered in Muncie IN, AMA sanctions more than 2,000 events and competitions each year under the auspices of the National Aeronautic Association.


Contact: Rich Hanson

765-287-1256, ext. 271


  1. So at this time what is the standing with drones uav with the judges decision

    1. On Friday, 3/7, The FAA appealed the Administrative Law Judge’s ruling to the full National Transportation Safety Board, which has the effect of staying the decision until the Board rules. So for now it’s still the status quo.

      FAA Press Release

      1. “staying the decision” in this case means there are NO laws and FAA authority governing model aircraft/small UAS. The ALJ merely confirmed the fact that no mandatory regulations exist and upheld the motion to dismiss on these grounds. Staying this ruling does not change the precondition here. Feel free, just be safe and use common sense!

        1. Though it can well be argued that there are no laws or regulations that prohibit the operation of unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes, it should be understood that under US Title 49 the FAA has authority over the national airspace and is responsible for maintaining the safety of the national airspace system (NAS). FAA policy still stands and the AMA does not recommend or endorse operations outside FAA policy.

          Those who choose to do so should realize that there are other ramifications for doing so. There are both criminal and civil implication that could come into play should something go wrong or your UAS operation come into question.

          Rich Hanson
          AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs

  2. While the decision may be stayed regulations that do not exist cannot. As such the FAA is on thin ice right now when it comes to the subject of sUAV’s.


  3. The Administrative Law Judge just drove a truck over the FAA. Basically what he was saying was that the FAA doesn’t get to make its own law. Despite what our current corrupt Administration thinks, the Executive Branch cannot make its own laws. Any law must have its origination in the Legislature. This includes Rulemaking, which must follow very specific procedures. It is vary encouraging to see that at least one judge understands this. The AMA needs to visit the NRA and take a few lessons on standing up for our model aviation rights instead of thinking that they are going to somehow negotiate with an FAA that is clearly well outside the intent of Congress.

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