FLYING MAG: New FAA Drone Policy Disaster in the Making

Giving local law enforcement power over UAVs is a desperate move.
by Robert Goyer / Published: Jan 13, 2015
The FAA has just released new policy on how the underfunded, understaffed agency plans to police the many more than 100,000 new aircraft that are already starting to appear in our skies. It is, unfortunately, not the arrival of hordes of people-piloted craft but swarms of drones I refer to. Understandably the FAA wants to stand tough in its enforcement of remotely piloted aircraft, and to do that it either had to add thousands of inspectors to its payroll or do something else. The something else it chose to do was enlist local law enforcement in the effort. I think that was a huge collective groan I just heard and not only from pilots of airplanes and operators of remotely piloted airplanes but from local law enforcement as well.
The amount of money that goes along with enlisting law enforcement in this effort is, you guessed it, nada. Again, that is the budget that the FAA had to work with, so it’s hard to blame them for that part of it, unless you take into account that our law enforcement across the country is already busy enforcing a lot of less esoteric law, laws that with a few arguable exceptions really matter to all of us.
I won’t go into the details of the guidance the FAA issued to help law enforcement do this new work, but it’s really complicated, far more complicated than just about any other law that local police have to deal with, and that’s already a lot to be aware of and enforce.

FAA UAS-PO LEA Guidance 010715 PDF-TH

AMA Expo 2015 – part 2 from La Mesa Air on Vimeo.

AMA Expo 2015 – part 1 from La Mesa Air on Vimeo.

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  1. I think Rich Hansen gives good information to everyone. Staying positive about hobbyist operations is a must. Flying your equipment within AMA rules is a must. I would like to see a special department started in the AMA for just uav/hobby operations.

    1. I\\\\\\\’d love to see the AMA start a propaganda campaign to separate Model Airplanes and Helicopters from Drones aka Multi-rotors altogether. That way the FAA focuses only on the drones, those accursed devices that have been a thorn in the sides of the rest of us.

      1. Exactly why are multi-rotor, “Drones” so “accursed to you?” As a flyer of all things RC ,ie planes, helicopters, AND multi-rotor “drones,” I find fun in flying them all. And that separating association from one to the other will not work. Its one for all and all for one.

  2. So, did Congress override AC 91-57 or not?
    What is the ceiling for model aircraft, therefore…is it still 400′ AGL ?

    1. The altitude guidelines for modelers operating in accordance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress (AMA members) are contained within the AMA Safety Code and related documents such as the See & Avoid guidance document 540-D. For those not participating within AMA’s community-based safety program, altitude guidance is provided in AC 91-57.

      Rich Hanson
      AMA Government and REgulatory Affairs

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