Update on AMA’s petition for review of the Interpretive Rule

On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, the DC Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a motion to hold the petition for review in abeyance. This ruling puts on hold our request to review the FAA’s interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress.

The court ordered that the case be put on hold until the FAA completes its review of the public comments to the Interpretive Rule and has satisfactorily resolved the comments. The rationale for the motion was based on the FAA’s stated willingness to accept and consider comments to its Interpretive Rule. Although the FAA has not indicated its intent to revise its interpretation, it’s believed the agency’s review and response to the comments may provide relevant information to be considered during the judicial review. The FAA did not oppose this motion.

The order directs the FAA to complete its review of the public comments and to provide the court with 90-day status reports on its progress. The order also allows the AMA to submit additional motions for legal proceedings upon completion of the review and allows immediate action to be taken should the FAA take enforcement action based on the Interpretive Rule before completing the review process.

The AMA did not concur with the motion and believes that putting the case on hold only serves to delay the judicial review. In its notice in the Federal Register, the FAA only offered further “clarification” in its review of the public comments and it’s unlikely this review will resolve the fundamental issues stemming from FAA’s misinterpretation of the Special Rule. However, the courts provision to allow legal action should the FAA begin enforcing the Interpretive Rule alleviates most of AMA’s concern.

AMA will continue to monitor this case closely and will explore any and all means of resolving this issue as quickly and amicably as possible.

Click the link below to read the court order:

U.S. Court of Appeals Abeyance Order


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