AMA’s Response to the U.S. DOT announcement

In a press conference on Monday October 19, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced its intent to require registration for certain small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS).

Led by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, a concept was laid out calling for the creation of a task force to develop a plan to implement the registration process.

AMA was represented at the press conference by Government and Regulatory Affairs Representative Rich Hanson who offered comments on behalf of our organization. Representatives from the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) and the Air Line Pilots Association also provided input. A video of the press conference can be found here.

AMA has also been invited to participate in the task force which has been charged with completing its work by mid-November 2015.

The DOT is looking at the full spectrum of sUAS that would be subject to registration, and AMA agrees that registration may be appropriate at some level; however, before the process can be established, AMA believes that a threshold must be identified that will determine which platforms, what aircraft with what capabilities, will require registration and which will not.

AMA believes that traditional model aircraft, as well as the “toy-type” drones with minimal capability would fall below the threshold and not be subject to the registration process.

In a prepared statement released yesterday, AMA was clear in its position that any required registration process “should not become a prohibitive burden for recreational users who fly for fun and educational purposes and who have operated harmoniously within our communities for decades.”

AMA does not and will not support any proposal that calls for the registration of any sUAS that fall below an established threshold and is resolute in its position that all forms of traditional model aircraft must remain exempt from the registration process.


  1. This response is weak, to say the least. It appears the AMA is trying to protect the fixed wing RC people and throwing owners of quads like Phantoms or Q500s to the government wolves. Remaining “resolute” that people who fly Blade Nanos shouldn’t be registered is not a very courageous position.

    C’mon AMA. Quad pilots pay dues just like everyone else. We deserve representation as well.

    1. Yes you should be represented, however who is getting thrown under the bus is traditional model aircraft we never caused any problems. We don’t start our airplanes up at 2am and fly them into the White House we can’t take off the hood of our car and interrupt Fire fighting aircraft that are fighting a fire. So who is throwing who under the bus?

      1. If registration is good for the quads then it should be good for the fixed wing for exactly the same reasons so either support everyones rights or accept what comes next.

        1. I agree with T. I have no interest in quads, but if they are registered, you’re darn tootin all model aircraft will be registered. If not today, then tomorrow.

          Fixed wing are reaching the point, out of the box, that they can fly themselves too.

          And the Government bureaucrats are not going to see the difference between semi-autonomous and hand flown

          I too think AMA has taken too week of a position.

          In the Government’s mind: Registration today, registration tomorrow, registration forever!

        2. You can fly a drone anywhere. Fixed wing need some sort of flying field for line of site and take off and landings. With a plane you cant take off at a concert and fly around and get video. You can fly your “Drone” anywhere. that’s the difference.

          1. I suppose you haven’t seen the videos posted of flying wings being launched almost vertically out of a person’s hands without even a throw. Those are fixed wing aircraft used for automated mapping and do not need a flying field for line of site and can be flown almost anywhere.

          2. ” With a plane you cant take off at a concert and fly around and get video.”

            Yes, you can. And that is why this should not be based on capability because planes can do everything except land vertically.

            If you want to exempt items based on them only being flown at specific fields that would be different but, in that case, that should also apply to a quadcopter that is likewise restricted.

      2. But you have the potential to start your airplane up at 2am and fly them into the White House, therefore you are subject to the same regulations. Be pissed about that, not at fellow responsible quad fliers.

      3. “we never caused any problems”

        There’s this thing called Youtube, you should check it out.
        To date the deaths in the RC area have all been caused by “traditional gas powered planes or helis”.
        Nothing from the multirotor arena, you can also find videos of plane strikes on Youtube, by none other than “traditional RC”.
        Google it…

    2. Makes sense, go onto r/c groups and you can see the multirotor guys being pushed on an island and every other sub forum, mainly the sailplane guys, blaming those “idiot Drone users”. Being thrown under the bus is appropriate.

      With DJI’S CEO not caring about registering (interview), 3DR letting users beta test from day one (iris/solo), and yuneec not real world testing (gopro integration RF problem) were roadblocks to the AMA agenda in doubling membership. There are more drone users that AMA members now. And that AMA didn’t condone those drone users that did business under the “free service” & leveraging AMA insurance & rules backfired (heck it’s common practice among fixed wing “commerical hobbyists”).

      What FAA/DOT sees is disruptive tech and concluded:
      A. Drone users didn’t self regulate
      B. Drone vendors didn’t self regulate, nor addressed the faa’s concerns (rth not the best solution to faulty features like DJI’s no fly zones geofence)
      C. AMA agenda to court drone users backfired
      D. DoD came in and proved they have no idea on multirotor tech (their rpv/fpv $$$ fixed wing experts ONLY)
      E. Commerical pilots were against drones from the start, autonomous drone tech would deprecate their $250k training.

    3. I joined the AMA to be insured and represented when flying any type of model aircraft that I choose within there safety bylaws….period!

    4. Here’s an idea… How about non AMA members only register. AMA members are all responsible. It’s the individuals who are not affiliated that are causing all the problems.

    5. I am old enough to remember the course Radio Control had to take. First, the person operating the aircraft had to have a station operators license. Then the “license free band” (27 mc) was created when only a station license was required. This meant all transmitters had to be registered. Then the 72 mc band was added. Now we operate in an open environment. This status was earned by responsible use and a sturdy insurance program from the AMA. Currently there is a great deal of highly irresponsible behavior by multi-copter operators. AMA cannot afford to insure this category as long as the irresponsible behavior continues. AMA membership does not automatically cause responsible behavior. There must be a transition period when multi-copters operate under special restrictions.

      1. I think it’s fair to say that the people that are irresponsible users of drones are not the ones that will be joining the AMA.
        Do you honestly believe that after registration is in place it will be removed at a future date?

    6. 14 CFR §91.15 Dropping objects.
      No pilot in command of a civil aircraft may allow any object to be dropped from that aircraft in flight that creates a hazard to persons or property. However, this section does not prohibit the dropping of any object if reasonable precautions are taken to avoid injury or damage to persons or property.

      What should be most concerning is that FAA Administrator Hueta does not even know his own departments regulations. I refer to his answer to a reporter on a gun firing drone during this press conference.

      AMA may become redundant if model registration is required and Section 336 of PUBLIC LAW 112–95—FEB. 14, 2012 can be so easily ignored by our rulers.

    7. Wait a minute, guys!! The whole issue here were at FTC (Federal Trade Commission) fault because they are the ones who allowed the businesses to build or allowing entering the ring of having the drones. FAA should have spotted well enough. The FTC should have consulted with FAA and our congress to approve these notices. Now you guys were really barking mad. We should have FAA points the fingers at themselves!! Now the FAA are asking DOT to get involved and AMA. What a frack!! You all will see a lot of blaming and finger pointings in our midst. You all better STOP and THINK first. Who is responsible for these inventions of the drones?? Which department are the responsible ones to regulate the rulings here. NRA?? I suggest that DOT should be asking all of us to register like we buy handguns nowdays, because of couple of nutballs out there to fly to damn close to comfort to our airports. The nutballs think that they know it all. We should take the bloody test like gun laws requires us to do.
      Now to all our congressmen and women, please take a full reconsideration carefully like grandparents test. Like Bill Clinton’s quotes.

      Ken Kressler

    8. Bickering among ourselves is counterproductive. WE HAVE 15 DAYS to come up with a cohesive plan for AMA to champion in the committee.

      Talk is cheap- and being on a committee is right next to cheap. My first question is: Just how far will AMA go in taking the responsibility for implementing and managing the registration of the portion of USAS that are determined to be “non-recreational”? AMA has more history and expertise in this matter. The NAS has already thrown out the reference to AMA’s position that basically “all these drone owners should be members”. The hobby should educate and police itself.

  2. Why should RC Aircraft remain exempt.
    I guess you want to look at where 95% of your business comes from and the hell with everyone else. I really regret I just registered for 24 more months in your Hobby Shop.
    Sincerely, Randy Pence

    1. Probably because big multi-rotors being operated by idiots with no regard for rules are causing 100% of the problem.

  3. As I have previously posted on multiple websites. If multirotors are required so should ALL model aircraft. There are just as many fixed wing and helis flying with cameras as there are quads. So that makes it a UAS. Requiring multirotors to register and not any other model aircraft is no different from being racist and partial.

    1. I am currently in a trI’ll membership if this is the support our group will get, I will not become a member and start a new racing league that does not require AMA. I did auto racing and events for many years. Liability insurance for events is not hard to get.

      1. I hope the AMA realizes just how big FPV Quad-copter racing is becoming. In this game, we fly as low as possible. We would like to be around long enough to become “traditional.”

    2. I absolutely do not agree with you. Fixed wing model aircraft have been around for many decades and there have been very few incidents of people being injured, killed or of them interfering with full scale aircraft. Multi rotors have been around for only a few years and have been involved with 100% of the interference with full scaled aircraft and incidents are increasing every month. The irresponsible operators of these vehicles are casting model aircraft in a bad light.

      I do not agree that hobbyists’ multi-rotors should require registration and I agree with the AMA’s position and response to the FAA’s proposal.

      However, if the FAA ultimately requires registration of hobbyists’ multi-rotors, traditional model fixed wing aircraft and helicopters should NOT be included. If fact, as you know, the Congress specifically exempted them from regulation by the FAA.

      1. I thought Congress specifically exempted ALL RC Model Aircraft from regulation by the FAA.??

  4. I feel sUAS (is that the correct acronym now?) Should be “registered” just as soon as all the guns in this country are registered! I’ve never heard of such a ridiculous concept.

  5. First, the notion that anyone should “register” any R/C aircraft is absurd. Second, who defines the aforementioned threshold? In my opinion the AMA should vehemently resist ANY attempt to register anything. AMA cannot walk the fence here. Finally, we’ve been waiting for the FAA to come up with some rules for how long now? This is America right? Government agencies must not be allowed to arbitrarily impose unenforceable regulations and pretend that there is a law.

    1. You got it exactly right, this is unenforceable! Yahoos who fly recklessly for fun certainly won’t register. Therefore I will not register either (I don’t fly my quads recklessly). Let them come and get me. I’m sick of this crap over and over in every facet of living. Law abiding citizens are punished for the acts of criminals by regulation after regulation. ENOUGH!

      1. As an R/C helicopter and quad hobbyist and aspiring personal pilot, I partially agree with your statement. I do feel that we are constantly subject to regulations that are more reactionary and “feel good” than anything else, but do personally believe in this particular circumstance that we have a major problem with RTF “drone” users and that there should be some sort of regulating agency (preferably non-governmental but with governmental support).

        I, for one, would love to know what the enforcement will look like. We can pass all the laws we want, but unless we have folks driving around with enough equipment to 1.) read the registration number off a flying device and 2.) track down the source of the signal (or follow the device home), I just can’t see any regulation or enforcement being practical. Heck, (un-permitted) fireworks are illegal in practically every city around Dallas, TX, but you see them going off every 4th of July and New Year anyway.

        Perhaps we’re heading down a path similar to amateur radio where hobbyists make a game out of triangulating and tracking down unlicensed users and reporting them? I might be game for that – as long as we do have some sort of line drawn as far as the size/weight of the model. I mean…having to register my $19 hexacopter that is smaller than my palm…that would be ridiculous.

  6. It’s amazing to me how we keep hearing how serious the “drone” threat is but there is almost never concrete information on exactly how threatening the incident was or any real data to back that up. That’s about like accusing someone of threatening to kill you but no evidence to support the accusation. With all the video cameras out there you’d think there would be all kinds of picture/video proof. I’m not convinced there is any real threat and until I start seeing “real” evidence I’m not going to buy in to the “sky is falling” bull.

  7. once again the ama is not standing firm and using terms and toys and helping back the FAA with yes some drones will need registration which doesn’t help the commerical industry with saying that. Around the world drones fly commerically and have few restrictions let alone they are registered…..

  8. If the FAA’s only purpose is to know who the “drone” belongs to, as a member of AMA, I already am required to include that information on ANY plane, quadcopter, helicopter that I fly including my AMA number and name, if the FAA would follow the same idea as the AMA or use the AMA number in there database, we already have complied.

    1. This current AMA safety rule requires that you must have EITHER, your name and address OR your AMA number on or inside the aircraft. Not sure if that was the exact intent but that is what is says.

  9. I realize that I my view is an exception. I view my membership in AMA and my placement of my AMA number, Name and contact information on my planes as a type of registration already. It is required in the AMA safety code and I am fine with that. I do not find that to be a problem in any way. I am taking responsibility for my actions and my aircraft.

    In my view the right move is not to fight registration but to make it simple, easy, and cost very little. For me our AMA membership, placement of our info on or in the aircraft per the safety code, and a periodic forwarding of the AMA roster to the FAA should in fact be sufficient registering for AMA members. Something similar could be done for non AMA members by the FAA at very low cost with a requirement that they affix their name, FAA registration number and contact info on every aircraft. Separate registration of every aircraft is not needed. The FAA wants to be able to quickly identify ownership if there is a problem and to encourage responsible behavior by taking away anonymity from those few who are problems. I can support that.

  10. Greetings all. As a AMA member, now, I feel that if the registration comes about, then those of us who fly the UAVs shouldn’t have any thing to worry about, but the ones that are wining about it all, then I say they have something to hide or guilty for not following the rules, and or law.
    Its just like having a background check, and I have for my TWIC card, to say not the least, for my job, I had nothing to hide and came out smelling like a rose, no problems. Whats the big deal, about background checks. There should be more of them because too many people are guilty of something and hiding it will still bite you in the ass when caught, and or arrested, and then you get red carpet treatment for a background check, awh, what they can find about you.
    Me, I would register both my quade copters just to be safe from the other a-holes out there that are making it bad for those of who are doing the right thing, rules and the law as far as flying. The ones that brake the law should be felt with and say if they have a registered bird and crashed or flying in and around a area that is off limits, then when caught,they loose every thing, go to jail and pay a BIG fine…
    Yes I agree about the government sticking their nose in ware it doesn’t belong, but its our fault for putting them in office in the first place.

    1. What? Don’t you realize you are registering with the Federal Government? Furthermore, don’t you realize this is just an excuse to charge a tax? How much more are you willing to pay to continue in this hobby?

    2. What laws are you talking about?

      How about if the FAA requires you to pass a $150 written knowledge test, and another $150-$250 practical exam with an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner or FAA Aviation Safety Inspector. And requires a fee for your pilot certificate, let’s say $35. And a fee for your registration certificate, one per aircraft, say $45 each. Then there could be a fee for your annual aircraft inspection, to show it is airworthy, $100, for each aircraft. And if you built the aircraft yourself, an FAA inspector would have to periodically review your work prior to issuing a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category.

      And a Biennial Flight Review, $150.

      And a medical certificate (once every 24 months for those 40 and over, once every 60 months for those under 40) by an Aviation Medical Examiner, $150, that shows you are in good health, have reasonable blood pressure, good eyesight, aren’t taking any psychotropic medications for diagnosed conditions, haven’t had any heart ailments or strokes.

      This sounds ridiculous, but I would bet there is one FAA person proposing such conditions. And you are happy to oblige?

    3. It’s not about the fact of registering my quad. It’s about paying dues to an organization that states that they are here to insure and protect you for said fee. Then the first issue comes up, and they can’t stand firm to support the quad owners. But made damn sure they wouldn’t stand for the old farts with ” traditional aircraft ” being included to register. But they damn sure don’t mind getting our money. Sorry but quads are the future, this will become their way of survival, so best start standing up or prepare to shut down. I’m already in the process of starting a new organization to race quads with more liability coverage than AMA without having their membership to race.

  11. Model aircraft should remain exempt because the FAA modernization and reform act of 2012 explicitly says that model aircraft should remain exempt. The FAA has since been doing its best to endrun around the legislation by its attempts to reclassify everything so it is no longer a model airplane, but an “unmanned vehicle.”

    I hope the FAA will hear about this nonsense from Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) who personally sponsored the model airplane exemption provision in the 2012 law.

    That, and the FAA’s attempt to redefine the National Airspace from the original 700 feet and up, (a definition that has existed from the 1950’s and tested many times in court) to anyplace higher than zero altitude AGL.

  12. not sure how registration finds anybody unless you crash. then if an AMA member your name should be on or in the model/multirotor. All AMA members are complying with that requirement – Yes??

    1. A crash could generally be ensured if local authorities used a 900 MHz/2.4 GHz jamming tool such as the one proposed by Battelle (the “DroneDefender”). Such a device is probably not legal because it generates “malicious interference” and disrupts a wide variety of activities, including cordless phones and internet WiFi connections. It exhibits a fairly wide beamwidth, and, according to the company, disrupts both the uplink frequency (2.4 GHz) as well as GPS. With a >400m published range, it likely could disrupt GPS on some airliners on IFR short final. Hopefully the FCC will never allow this dangerous piece of equipment.

  13. I believe that in other countries the threshold for regulation is the presence of a camera on the aircraft. No camera = traditional model aircraft and not subject to regulation. Camera = Non traditional model aircraft and subject to regulation.

    To that we can add relief for rule abiding AMA members by allowing operation of camera equipped models at AMA fields.

    In other words, any aircraft that has a camera and is not flown within the confines of an AMA flying field should be regulated. Seems pretty simple to me.

    Sure would be nice to get this issue resolved and the FAA off our backs and onto the backs of those that need more guidence in the safe operation of their aircraft.

    Just one mans opinion.

    1. Ok. What about all the “traditional aircraft” equipped with cameras? There are just as many of those as camera equipped quads. Hell that’s where the idea come from.

    2. Why does having a camera make it less likely to crash?

      Defining it based on whether it has a camera makes no sense at all.

  14. I just want add my voice to those who are disappointed that the AMA isn’t standing up for “non-traditional” model aircraft. While there have been have been some issues with “drones” there have also been issues with traditional model aircraft. Google “incident involving rc plane” and you will find articles about injuries and deaths. If AMA isn’t going to represent my portion of the rc hobby spectrum I will be canceling my membership.

    1. I just searched for the “incident involving rc plane” key you suggested. Very few reports exist of such incidents in the US. I believe that there are fewer than 10 deaths in the US over the entire history of modeling, and only one case of an incident involving a model and a manned aircraft (which occurred under a poorly supervised non registered airshow).

      The real point regarding registration is that AMA members are already registered. The safety code requires that we placard our aircraft, irregardless of type, with our AMA number, name, and address. This provides an opportunity to recover a lost aircraft after an inadvertent flyaway, and also identifies the owner of the aircraft.

  15. I couldn’t have said it better…

    Rob Nelson October 21, 2015 at 16:40
    First, the notion that anyone should “register” any R/C aircraft is absurd. Second, who defines the aforementioned threshold? In my opinion the AMA should vehemently resist ANY attempt to register anything. AMA cannot walk the fence here. Finally, we’ve been waiting for the FAA to come up with some rules for how long now? This is America right? Government agencies must not be allowed to arbitrarily impose unenforceable regulations and pretend that there is a law.

    I started building and flying FPV type quads over the summer.. I too am also on a trial AMA membership. If this is the kind of weak support I get for my money I won’t be buying into the full membership.

    I was thinking about moving into my first fixed wing plane, but I’ll wait and see what happens with this debate.

  16. I think that the number of drone sightings is likely extremely inflated. I would love to have an Airline Pilots Association member point out a Phantom 2 drone 3000ft below him while he is traveling at 300mph, really! I have an Inspire quad and at a distance of 1000ft it is a speck. So when I hear that a drone was spotted at 10,000ft I am highly suspicious of the reports. It couldn’t be that drones operations are going to cut into APA members jobs could it? We as a hobby are going to be dragged into this and charged a fee to register your rubber band powered free flight. Whats next NTSB investigations when we have an incident, FAA inspectors to see if that prop strike would call for an Xray of your engine’s crankshaft? Licensed builders and Certificates of Air Worthiness when you scratch build? Good grief!

    1. 1000ft and a speck sure doesn’t sounds like VLOS (and a AMA rule) in the first place.

      Not knocking, but no one has done the right thing on this (drones) issue.

  17. This is a very slippery slope, and should be fought tooth and nail. I believe that this could be far more sinister than what we are being told, and once we proceed down this path of registration, what’s next? Background checks? Ludicrous. It’s time to start reigning in these power hungry politicians. At the very least, this will surely become a money grab for the greedy government!

  18. It appears that a few idiots that have the ability to buy quad copters and are not AMA members are causing the problem for the rest of us. Is a shame that we all have to suffer for their irresponsible behavior. If the fools that caused the problem wold guidelines of AMA we never would have had this problem. I think the federal government should require everyone who owns a large quad become a member of AMA and require them to follow our guidelines and we would never have a problem.

  19. I’m a drone owner and a private pilot, I don’t believe putting tail numbers on drones is the answer because it doesn’t address the issue of the uneducated pilot. I believe just like a car, motorcycle, boat in most states, or a plane some education must be taken before operating. There should be at least an online training/education program required before the sale or a person flying any RC copter/fixed wing drone. You would need to show proof of completion before you could fly or buy.

  20. I fly a DJI Inspire 1, and my typical flights are 1,000 feet (horizontal distance) and occasionally up to 2,000 feet. As said before, at that distance, it becomes difficult to see. So how the heck are these airline pilots able to spot one thousands and thousands of feet away?!

    My Inspire 1 is GPS enabled, and I have kept the safeguards on (max altitude 400 feet) and the DJI Pilot/GO App will not allow me to fly in No-Fly Zones, such as near Airports, Washington D.C., etc.

    I am a recreational flyer. I have not, and will not fly commercially. But I believe that those who do (fixed wing, or multirotor) should register. But not us recreational flyers!

    Help us AMA, you’re our only hope!

    1. You occasionally fly up to 2000ft? Why? This is exactly why the whole subject of registration has come up in the first place. You should never ever be flying at 2000ft. I’ve been flying for almost 6 years, planes and helis. I have never flown that high and don’t need to fly that high!

      1. Asking AMA for help when not even following their guidelines, LOS, no autonomous, 400ft ceiling.

        Gps has created this false sense of security, all dji products completely relies on perfect gps functionality and it does fail with no recourse. And don’t count on the pilot in manual atti mode at 2000ft….

      2. In reply to Ron who wrote
        “You occasionally fly up to 2000 ft? Why?”
        Many times my RC sailplanes will climb that high or higher..

        AMA member for 9 years, Commercial Pilot

      3. I think you misunderstood Michael, as I did at first. I think he meant typically 1000ft horizontal, and occasionally up to 2000ft *horizontal*. He said he uses the 400 ft (vertical) safeguard.

    2. Michael said he limited his altitude to 400 feet and flew horizontally 1000 to 2000 feet. That’s still too far to see it well enough to have any control. LOS is not, IMO, just being able to identify a spec but to be able to see its flight orientation. At that distance it’s either FPV or autonomous. Just the same, please read the posts carefully before responding so you are clear on what was said.

      On the other hand, restricting sailplanes to 400′ AGL will essentially eliminate thermal soaring.

      AMA member since about 1981

  21. What part is gonna be the serialize part that’s registered the receiver, the servos, the fuselage. You can make any of those or buy any of those anywhere. If I turn dollar tree foam into a flite test plane it then is needs a registration. Give me a break.

  22. Registering R/C planes (or quads or whatever) will make the same contribution to aviation safety as registering laser pointers. The very same people who would point a laser at an aircraft are the ones who would fly a quad copter without regard for any rules or regulations. The problem here are the non-aviation types whose only qualification is having a credit card. How do you educate the unreachable?

  23. Since they will be registered aircraft, then I assume that I will be able to fly them at untowered airports, and maybe even class D airspace, just use a Unicom frequency or tower freq at class D, just like every other registered aircraft.
    If we crash our RC aircraft, will it be investigated by the NTSB, and the FAA?
    One other question, can I get a registration number for my Frisbee?

  24. Some more thoughts, if I crash my RC aircraft, and change the configuration, such as motors, props, controller, radio, etc., does that require a revision of the data the FAA will have on my registered aircraft?
    If someone knocks my multi rotor out of the air causing it to crash, will it be a federal offense, since it is considered an aircraft?

    This whole thing is so ridiculous. The want to register little flying toys! How absurd is that?
    Who has died, who has been injured by one of these toys, some with flight times of 5-10 minutes. What is wrong with the FAA?

  25. This move by the FAA has nothing to do with education. That is a red herring.

    If education were the goal, then Public Service Announcements, like the Indian one from the 1970s concerning litter would suffice.

    This is about enforcement actions by the FAA.

    The FAA probably wants registration numbers on the body of model aircraft, visible from the ground, that would allow Mr. Joe Rumplepants to complain about “careless or reckless” operations of those infernal models he doesn’t like.

    Once Mr. Rumplepants lodges a complaint against the local flying club, the FAA will have the impetus to pursue an enforcement action against the offending pilots. Regulators write rules and enforce them, that’s their only job.

    Enforcement action could be pursued for something as simple as failing to notify the FAA of a change in your permanent mailing address within 30 days.

  26. I posted first on this thread and as I thought, the AMA trashed my post and did not post it. All I can say is this is exactly what I thought the AMA’s response would be..they rolled over on this just like a lap dog…we need less government intrusion not more…so much for your $75!

  27. Take a look on you tube and see how many drones are flying above the clouds. Those are the people that are responsible for getting the government after the law abiding flyers. I haven’t heard of any of those people being arrested for flying over the altitude limit. I would think they are easy to find after posting their videos.
    I wouldn’t want to be climbing through a cloud and hit a drone with my plane.

  28. After 60+ years an AMA member and 40 years a CD, I also wish AMA were more effective at supporting and promoting my favorite form of model flight. But, I am also realistic. AMA has had many successes at keeping us as free as we are today. After trying just about all forms of model flying, I still much prefer Control-Line.

    Many of the comments seem to miss a point about registration – the ID of the flier is not the registration of an aircraft. One “full-scale” (people-carrying aircraft) pilot may own more than one aircraft. His license does not register each one; each is separately registered. That would be an even greater hassle for us.

    Our membership card used to be a “license” to fly according to AMA’s equipment and safety standards, and to compete by approves rules if we wished to. I don’t know if that still applies – our cards state membership, not licensing.

    Today, sUAS are very popular. Many really enjoy them, and defend them strongly. Great! Enthusiasm like that should improve acceptance for any and all of us. The “rogues” who fly them without regard to safety, other people’s privacy and safety, and in dangerous ways are the problem. I’d be in favor of excluding them from any AMA protection, whether an AMA member or not. Punish the offender, NOT the law-abiding enthusiasts.

    1. Oh, and another – briefer – thought…

      We license truck drivers, electricians, carpenters, pilots and many others who use their skills commercially. For sUAS fliers, fliers of the larger, camera or sensor-equipped, GPS, birds etc., might be where licensing of some kind would make sense.

      Model flying, as a hobby and recreation, is NOT commercial. May that ever remain true!

      (OBTW – earlier post typo, it should read: “…to compete by approveD rules…” )

  29. You guys realize that the AMA is essentially nobody in the big picture, right?
    If you are ignorant enough to think that the AMA has any clout, enough money, or enough backing to battle with the FAA and DoT as a whole you are absurdly living in a dream world.

    There is little to nothing the AMA can do(other than help the sUAS defintion) to stop whats coming.

  30. We don’t have a Federal mandate to register guns. It has been reported that gun accidents injure or kill 23,000+ Americans a year! Unmanned drones kill how many?

    The solution is to get the NRA involved and reclassify a sUAS as a non traditional gun!

  31. It’s really a shame. A wonderful thing happened to the AMA. A huge number of people suddenly, and unexpectedly, became interested in our dying hobby – flying remote controlled aircraft. And it’s been a terrible burden for everyone…

    1. Well on the one hand you say “A huge number of people suddenly and unexpectedly became interested in our dying hobby”
      Exactly! Even though I have many RC sailplanes, helis and warbirds (electrics and EDFs) I also see the appeal and excitement for new RC flyers in these computer/accelerometer/GPS controlled multi rotors. I built, and own one myself.
      So it’s not “a shame”. Like it or not it may be the way to generate interest in RC for new generation of model flyers

  32. I am with Panama Red. Someone should talk to the NRA, we have over 4 million members and have been fighting this for a long time. Commercial use I can see some sort of license, for the hobby guys that would be silly.

  33. registration of drones will be a more complicated process .
    The use will be to register a vehicle that is less than a pound and are many of those.
    How will they get the hundred thousands of drones that are already purchased to register. since their a federal agency will they deny registration to persons that have criminal background?
    Will you have to have an endorsement for first-person view Flying?
    how we control a 10-year-old with deep pockets to act responsible?
    Will his parents be held accountable? Will they issue a registration card that can verify the registration?
    Why not use the AMA organization to add an endorsement to your AMA card instead of federal registration.
    AMA could establish a separate membership card for drone operators.this could increase their membership more.
    There’s so many holes in the idea of this registration it’s going to take them several years to get it right.
    At this point it’s too early to get excited about this remember this is the federal government and nothing happens fast.
    It is my opinion which I know the system to start a whole can of worm’s is that first-person view flying should be handled with a buddy box system reversed. A person that is wearing the goggles should be using the training box and the person that is the safety man should be on teaching box. this would provide some safety as a first-person view cannot see behind or beside them while flying.

  34. If we are to have registration, then I think it should be per pilot not per aircraft. One registration, one identification number to be displayed on all ones craft.. This will make it simple when selling, purchasing or making an aircraft.

  35. At the LEAST the FAA can do is exempt AMA club/members from registration since technically, we’re already under “rules”. The only thing that would probably change is to make it mandatory to have your AMA # somewhere on the aircraft. That’s the way it’s suppose to be anyway.

    Anyone agree with this? I hope AMA does and at LEAST push for this agenda. If not? I’m going to wonder why I’m in the AMA!

  36. “…Any required registration process ‘should not become a prohibitive burden for recreational users..?” Really? I think that registration is going to happen, and the sooner we get on board and start supporting DOT/FAA instead of trying to carve out special considerations. What is so burdensome about filling out some information on a DOT/FAA web page and putting a DOT/FAA issued registration number on aircraft, from park fliers through 100lb turbines? That’s hardly burdensome.

    1. Registration could be odious if each model has to be registered and a fee is charged. As an example, I own more than 25 models of various types, including helis and quadcopters. If required to register each at, say, $10.00, it would cost more than $250 to register the entire fleet. The DoT would consider this a trivial fee, considering the cost of registering a man-carrying aircraft. For those of us on fixed income; however, it might well drive us out of the hobby. If the FAA follows its usual pattern, each registrat.ion would have to be renewed at some time interval, perhaps annually. Even if the cost per model were $5.00, it would still cost me $125 annually for the “privilege” of using the bottom of the NAS.

      Another issue regards the amount of information required by the DoT. Name, address, telephone number and likely the registrants social security number would certainly be required. When the DoT or FAA database is hacked (not if, but when), this information will be compromised. Talk a security nightmare.

  37. Bottom line no regulation or anything. The people that show no regard to the safety of others, throw them in jail for assault or attempted assault with a deadly weapon. Maybe then these idiots will start using theirs brains. Of course you know the saying, “can’t fix stupid.” That very well may apply here. It’s just to bad that all of us who have been flying safely for decades and are serious about the safety of others have to bear the regulatory effects of the stupidity of a few. Maybe a jail sentence would make them think before they fly.

  38. For starters I’ll say this, I WILL NOT REGISTER MY AIRCRAFT.

    Yankee Big Brother GO HOME.

    I promote compliance with the AMA Safety Code and I fly responsibly ALWAYS. I’ve been flying off and on for 35 years so I know a little but I can guess the rest.

    I fly R/C Sailplanes as well as powered R/C. I know I have flown thermals at altitudes about 1500 Ft and more. I will continue to do so! Never a problem to date.

    The lifelong hobbyists ARE NOT AND NEVER HAVE BEEN THE PROBLEM!

    The problem is the idiot “toy-buyers” at Wally world that go out to the parking lot install AA cells and fly at the store or otherwise unsafely.

    Unthinking, uncaring and demanding “instant gratification” persons are fools hurting the real hobbyists by behaving as anti-responsible idiots.

    If I fly quads or “drones” as a responsible hobbyist I’d refuse to register those too.

    The AMA membership has always self policed and will continue to do so. It is our ONLY HOPE in the age of the surveillance security state of today post “Patriot” Act. Pigs on parade at the flying field for “enforcement” of a policy not a law.

    If registration were only applied to commercial/Police uses – FINE! I can support that.

    By demonstration of intent for DOT the press conference shows this is not the intent of the “policy”.

    I do feel the AMA could be more proactive and less reactive.

    My feeling borders on and flirts with betrayal by the AMA.

    Jim Hackett

  39. I recognize this is a hot button issue. Unfortunately in our present culture the facts weigh less than the perception, so if there is a perception of a problem, then we still have a problem. Time is short and I believe the best approach is to pull with the AMA and work for the closest thing to rationality we can engender from the FAA/DOT. To that end here are my thoughts on some criteria that might serve as a starting point. If I read the AMA comments carefully I think the AMA is perhaps headed in a similar direction.


    Any unmanned aerial vehicle that is not mechanically tethered to the ground or an individual controlling its operation.

    Model Airplane

    • Any UAV meeting the statutory requirements for model aircraft as defined by the FAA Modernization act of 2012(P.L. 112-95), section 336.
    • Any tethered unmanned aerial vehicle meeting the statutory requirements for model aircraft as defined by the FAA Modernization act of 2012(P.L. 112-95), section 336.

    UAVs requiring registration with the FAA

    • All UAVs used for non-recreational purposes as defined by P.L. 112-95.
    • All UAVs weighing over xx oz. and which are capable of navigated flight beyond visual range by any means including on-board autonomous closed-loop navigation, telemetry downlink, or video downlink.
    • All UAVs weighing over xx pounds.
    • All free flight balloons exceeding xx oz in payload or xx cubic feet in volume at launch.

    UAVs not requiring registration with the FAA

    • Model airplanes marked with owner identification.
    • Model airplanes marked with membership identification in recognized community based model airplane associations pursuant to P.L. 112-95.

  40. Ouads are what got me back into the sport after 25 years out! I now have 3 helicopters 5 quads and 4 fixed wing aircraft. The local hobby shop explained the need for AMA membership, so I joined. Then I found the local flying club and joined that too. All my aircraft have my name phone number and AMA number on them. If registration were waived for AMA members it could turn out to be great for the sport! I have never flown anything higher than 475′ and only at the clubs AMA field.

  41. I’m an airline pilot that also advocates for UAS. I disagree with the current proposal for registration as I feel it was poorly vetted and the result of a “do anything even if it’s wrong mentality” which for me pretty much defines bad governance. We must resist the urge to grant the DOT the moral high ground any claim along the lines of “You must be for this if you are for aviation safety.” This plan simply has too many structural problems to have a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming effective legislation, especially not within the next two months. We will likely never know what went on behind the scenes but my suspicion is that the DOT told the various groups “We’ve been directed from on higher ground that we do something. This is it and it WILL happen with or without your help. You can choose to stand and support us and be allowed in the room during the discussions or you can refuse and watch from outside the locked door.” Registration will do nothing to help find an offending pilot if you don’t have the UAS in hand. Asked about this during the press conference the administration completely failed to acknowledge that the vast majority of the time unless the drone crashes they have virtually no way of identifying it. In the case of a mid air there likely wont be anything left to find or identify. I do wish the AMA had gone further in defining exactly what they mean by “traditional model aircraft” I personally hope that means ANY device flown under the guidance of the safety code.

    Having said that, the amount of illogical argument I see daily surrounding our hobby saddens me. On the one hand we have many, not all, old school RC enthusiasts that want multis banned outright simply because some, not all, pilots showed poor judgment. Some of these guys want the AMA leadership strung up because they wont divorce themselves from the multi/FPV users. What a lot, not all, of these guys fail to understand is that the history of model aviation is full of new innovations that expanded the capability of our models often to the refrain of many, not all, of the older members claiming that this weeks new development was going to be the end of the hobby. As I see it the hobby is presently in danger of shrinking out of existence due to simple economics and the fact that today’s youth are presented with so many other options for where to spend their time given a highly preprogrammed school and social life that the ability to commit the amount of time it takes to truly master aero modeling is rarely available. Against all odds occasionally some kid who’s heart simply aches to fly shows up at an AMA field with a quad in tow. We should not be shocked when after being looked down upon by some, not all, of the guys he meets like a vermin that deserves to be squished that he never comes back but shows up instead in a local parking lot with no guidance whatsoever.

    OTOH we have some, not all, multi/FPV pilots, who for years have been proclaiming their right to fly whatever, whenever, wherever, they see fit with no regard for anyone else. Some of these guys, not all, have never been members of the AMA and ask before even finding out youth membership is free “what the heck has AMA done for me lately”

    Everywhere you look you see logical fallacies that completely fail to help the situation. They either ignore or exaggerate facts and the real world complications and solutions that complex problems demand. Global statements like ” 100% of the problem is caused by these guys or those types of models, or combined with personal attacks like “All Quad pilots are idiots, All plankers are old and grumpy, All the FPV guys want to do is look into other peoples bedrooms, the AMA is led by fools. Enough already. Either find a way to unearth some common interests that will help defend our hobby from within or kiss it goodbye while external forces slowly whittle it down to nothing.

    BTW, You can’t see a small quad from several thousand feet away but rest assured I can 100% positively identify a sUAS when it passes under my nose at any speed. It may be true that there are some airline pilots that don’t like UAS for the possible long term ramifications but not all of us feel that way by a long shot. It will likely be a long time before we see unmanned passenger flights in this country anyway and I don’t think many of the current generation will be affected by it. There is a much larger group of us that are very concerned that some UAS pilots fail to understand that the federal government has granted us exclusive use of small chunks of airspace in the interest of keeping legal users of the NAS alive. Claiming a sUAS will just bounce off or be ingested with no damage to the engine couldn’t miss the point any farther than had you flown to Chicago and ended up in Los Angeles. In the interest of not embarrassing yourself publicly you should probably stop trying to argue along this tack. IME the vast majority of airline pilots are honest and concerned citizens, in many cases veterans. Many of us began long careers in aviation through aeromodeling. Making accusations that automatically call out members of my profession as liars simply because there is no evidence once we leave the offending intruder miles behind is as offensive to me as it would be were I to make the same unwarranted claim of a member of your family.

  42. AMA should forward all these comments above to the FAA. November 6 is deadline for input from the community.

  43. This smells like an eminent domain campaign to appropriate the “lower airspace” for commercial business interests (e.g., Amazon and commercial drone manufacturers) who can profit more and thus pay more taxes from drone activity. The FAA and DOT are currently focused on eliminating “bad” drone users by garnering public support for their activities (AKA dangerous drone sighting publicity) and regulation. However, if they want to make commercial drone activity “safe” I expect them to evict all of the occupants on the block including some longtime model aircraft fields eventually. Please do not help them with their divide and conquer strategy AMA.

  44. Ben Franklin said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

    If the AMA does not create a separate level of membership for quad/drone users then certainly these members must have the same rights as fixed wing enthusiasts in the organization. And, since there is strength in numbers, this turns out to be a good thing.

    The quad/drone hobby is a burgeoning industry expected to do ten’s of billions of dollars in business over the next 5 years. Rather than abandoning these enthusiasts when they need the AMA the most I would think that the AMA would embrace these members, since they are clearly going to be the future of the AMA membership (assuming the AMA wises up). Why not jump in with both feet? Educate the new users on safety and proper etiquette while reaching out to existing fixed wing members and attempt to educate them in this new hobby. Shouldn’t the AMA be guiding it’s members into the future rather than trying to stem the tide?

    But most importantly please don’t split the community by attempting to represent us differently. Suggesting that only some vehicles need to register is doing just that. I would suggest a model of support based on personal behavior not vehicle capability. (E.g. If YOU are going to do xyz with your vehicle, then you need to register. Rather than if your VEHICLE can do xyz, you need to register.) At least that way responsible member enthusiasts (new or old) won’t feel like they are not being supported by the AMA.

  45. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. In the corporate world the best way to garner acceptance of someone who is against you is to invite them to be on your task force. Entering the task force under the guise that there WILL be registration is wrong. The correct approach should be to determine if registration is needed, if so then decide how to accomplish the task. This proposed process is way to rushed.

    My response to the comment is as follows.

    Does the government need to require registration of consumer products?
    What about your toaster, your lawnmower, your computer?

    The DOT recently established a task force to set out the guidelines for registering everything that flys in what is called the National Airspace (NAS). This would include a paper airplane, a small helium balloon at your child’s birthday party, or even a crumpled up ball of paper you toss through the air.

    While registration “may” be appropriate at some level, a need must be demonstrated, and a threshold must be identified before the process can be established. This will determine what platforms, and capabilities will require registration (if any). I would hope that traditional model aircrafts, as well as toy drones would fall below the threshold, and therefore would not be subjected to the registration process.

    To garner acceptance and even compliance of the general public, truthful information, and a demonstrated need, not sensationalized hype must be shown. Any required registration process should refrain from becoming a costly, and prohibitive burden for recreational consumers who fly for fun and educational purposes. These users have operated harmoniously within our communities for decades.

    With the recent DOT press event, our government is rushing, and using fear tactics to scare the uninformed public into believing the sky is falling. The purpose being to generate support for mandatory registration of consumer toy helicopters, model airplanes and yes even paper airplanes. The general public has been lead to believe that in order to fly safely every aircraft is under some kind of air traffic control, but the opposite is true. If you look up in the majority of the USA airspace, you will see clear sky with little to no air traffic (especially at 100-400 ft.). Contrary to most American’s understanding, aircraft don’t even need radios to operate, and pilots don’t need to communicate with air traffic controllers in order to fly in most places around the country.

    This proposed registration is not an issue that needs to be dealt with right now. In fact, it has already been addressed in the current 333 exemption process and the new FAR Part 107 rules that should be released next summer (the FAA is late with these). The new Part 107 is the long awaited regulations that will govern unmanned aircrafts operations in the NAS. As a private pilot I am in favor of the new Part 107, especially the education it provides the new operators, and I believe it is a step in the right direction for some aircrafts. Is it necessary for the formal registration of toy model consumer products to take place without the public being properly informed of the impact on the NAS, prior to spending tax payer dollars on a program that serves no purpose?

    There was a very small audience available to ask questions during the widely published announcement of the task force being formed. The limited questions that were asked were regarding registration concerned the legality of the DOT, FAA and the Judicial Branch, and their ability to enact and enforce a drone registration policy without going through the required due process. These questions were never fully answered by Secretary Fox or Administrator Huerta.

    The necessary protocol for the DOT to ‘make a new law’ is called the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA Pub.L. 79–404, 60 Stat. 237, enacted June 11, 1946, is the United States federal statute that governs the way in which administrative agencies of the federal government may “propose and establish regulations”. The APA would require the FAA to follow the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) process to enact this costly policy. This process takes time should not be rushed (as is being done) and could not be enacted properly within the next 30-60 days (the stated goal of the DOT). There is an emergency procedure that could be followed to establish policy without following the APA, however the question becomes, “does drone registration raise itself to a level of what constitutes an emergency”? Based on a careful study of the FAAs own near miss data conducted by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the answer is no.
    I am concerned that the erroneous drone incidents with manned aircraft presented by the FAA and pushed to the media, was done to allow the DOT and FAA to falsely raise drone issues to an emergency level. This could allow the DOT to bypass the APA, and should not be allowed. Once you analyze the data, as the AMA has done, it is easy to see that out of the 764 reported records released by the FAA, only 27 were identified as a near miss or near mid air collision. Nearly all of these, especially the most serious, actually involve government- authorized military drones not the toy model aircraft this registration process is clearly aimed at. Other reporting in the document appears to show people flying responsibly, and within the FAAs current recreational guidelines but they were included in the reporting, why?

    What about all of the birds? Will they also now need to be registered and regulated? Firm and lengthy FAA statistics show that these creatures are far more of a threat to air traffic than toy helicopters. Not one single incident of a toy model helicopter causing an accident has been reported, however bird strikes numbering over 7000 a year are a fact.

    The proposal for mandatory registration of “drones” would intrude upon the privacy of millions of Americans by requiring them to submit personal information to the government without good cause. The scale of a registration process like the one being described is a waste of tax dollars, a burden on retail store owners, if it were to be implemented, and not legal under the current process of law.

    I think that this registration initiative was purposefully done, especially with the widely distributed foreknowledge and media attention published over this past weekend aimed to scare the public, and to lessen the Christmas purchases of toy model aircraft. Parents hearing this news have one more reason to cower in fear of their government and avoid purchasing an educational toy aircraft as a gift.

    This new task force comes at an unfortunate time, and this proposed registration could have two outcomes. The negative publicity generated by the DOT and uninformed media outlets, business owners will have to decide if they need to cancel incoming Christmas inventory, and lay off the sales people. On the other hand, it could have the same affect that the gun scare had over the past couple of years, which caused the public to rush out and buy drones before the registration process starts.

    This is America, a great nation where we innovate, design, and create the some of the greatest technology in the world. If the DOT would pour the money into positive education, instead of over burdensome regulations, this incredible industry could thrive bringing positive benefits to society just as it has in other countries.

    Cliff Whitney

  46. I’ve been operating a variety of model aircraft (some free-flight, a lot of small electric fixed-wing, some rotary-wing, and a few quads, both scratch-built and COTS) over the course of 20 years; during that time, I’ve been an on-and-off AMA member, but always flew in compliance with the AMA safety code. Frankly, depending on how the FAA/DOT regulations turn out, I may be getting out of the hobby altogether.

    Posters above have pretty much covered the topics of ineffectiveness, impracticality, etc… These are definitely points of irritation, and I too question how registration actually is supposed to prevent airport incursions, etc. However, the concern I have (which I haven’t really seen mentioned above, and which will be the deciding factor as to my finding another hobby) is this: What is the criteria for when/how law enforcement can access the registration database?

    For instance, I’m NOT overly uncomfortable with an arrangement where use of the registry is limited to cases where a serial number has been recovered, and law enforcement wants to know who is belongs to. This seems to be a common-sense approach.

    On the other hand, I’m extremely uncomfortable if the database is ‘open’, such that a quad being spotted (not recovered) near an airport or other sensitive facility would result in law enforcement using the registry ‘dragnet-style’, calling/visiting registered owners in an X-mile radius, trying to find the operator. I realize that this approach would be exceedingly inefficient at actually finding the offender, but given how inefficient the whole registration program is likely to be, it is a serious concern to me.

    If the final regulations do not have some nominal safeguards to prevent what amounts to ‘drone profiling’ (ownership and location being sufficient probable cause for investigation), it is my intent to quit the hobby, and take up ground-based robotics, or something similar.

  47. The AMA should be filing a suit against the FAA for violating H.R.658 Sec336.
    They should also be seeking a federal injunction to prevent any changes by the FAA until the case is heard.

    1. Amen to holding the US Government to it’s own law.

      A wiser position than some.

  48. The AMA should also be attempting to join forces with the drone and other rc manufactures and retailers to form a partnership with the resources (read money) to lobby against this.

  49. This is just a thought but wouldn’t it be more feasible to just have the manufacturers of RC radios incorporate GPS Technology into their radio systems that would prevent ANY RC aircraft from operating within 5 miles of an, listen carefully now,INTERNATIONAL airport and keep it below 500 feet? I’m sure if they used GPS Technology, it could be programmed into the parameters where an Airports coordinates are located and that would prevent the aircraft from operating within 5 miles and keep it below the 400 feet. In essence, it would make the aircraft fly below 400 feet before it gets within 5 miles of an Airport. And once it gets inside the 5 miles of the airport, it just simply shuts down and or turns around and go back to its original location. Not only would it prevent devious acts, it could also be tracked back to the person flying it and know where it came from. I don’t like ANY kind of regulation myself but I’m sure there is a solution to this where both sides would benefit. Just a thought, comments welcome!

    1. Alan- Doesn’t this solution assume that there is a stabilization system (auto-pilot) and navigation computer on-boar? Many that fly just by remote control with no “intelligence” on-board would not like to absorb the additional cost, complexity and weight of these additions. Would an integrated system that had all these functions weigh less than an ounce and add only $10 or so to the cost compared to a current 7-8 channel receiver? I am wondering if it would be 5-10 years before this solution could be generically applied to all model airplane type UAS.

      1. I hear ya! I’m sure it would more than likely increase the radio equipment cost at first, like anything else that is new on the market. But after awhile, the price would come back down considerably when its more common place (Think back to the first cell phones and the airtime costs) Personally, I just don’t like ANY regulation at all. #1, You give the government an inch, its just a matter of time before they take 10,000 feet! #2,trying to regulate only regulates those who are causing no harm to begin with. All its going to do is just limit or do away with your rights to fly. A person that has Ill intentions doesn’t give a flip about ANY regulations. They are going to do what they are going to do and doesn’t care if they know their identity or not. It’s the same thing with guns. Same story. I agree with AMA’s take on this. The public and especially the government, needs to be educated what the difference is between a drone and an RC aircraft. At the very least, if they are mainly concerned about the airports, maybe they can have the radio manufacturers install a GPS located into the transmitter itself, much like a cell phone. A radio is supposed to transmit only so far…legally right? So if they required the radio manufacturers to install a GPS chip in the radio only, at the very least, they would know the location of the radio and maybe the perpetrator who was behind a devious act near an Airport. Just a thought, maybe they can debate that for another 10 or 20 years. And while they are debating, we can all still exercise our freedoms and…….FLY

  50. Is it certain that the FAA can require registration of any model operating under paragraph 336 of P.L. 112-95? Interestingly enough requiring registration would be promulgation “of a rule or regulation regarding model aircraft” which is specifically excluded from the purview of the FAA. In the absence of federal rules or regulations, there should be no justification for local enforcement to act on any of our modeling activity. Note that we must operate under the strict interpretation of paragraph 336. Operating in gray areas might constitute sufficient rationales for local enforcement intervention. All of the rules of the “community based organization” (AMA, safety code–COS) must be followed, especially the requirement for placarding our models with our AMA number, name, and address.

    OTOH, neither the location of our operations (except near airports, etc) nor the altitude at which our models may fly are specified (except that the models must be kept within the visual line of sight); nevertheless, we should always exercise good (or exceptional) perspicacity when flying our craft. In this regard, note that the COS only specifies an altitude limit of 400 feet when operating within 3 miles of an airport. In most cases, the FAA would like us to remain 5 statute miles or more from an airport, unless the airport operator or air traffic control has been notified.

    In short, fly safely and fly cleanly.

    1. Simply amazing how the FAA and DOT somehow forget the LAW that Congress passed concerning model aircraft. They can interpret the law any way they want to, criminals interpret it the way they want to and they go to jail. The FAA and DOT don’t make laws. They enforce laws just like a judge is supposed to do. If my memory serves me correctly, a judge threw out a $10,000 fine against a Quad/Drone operator the FAA said was operating illegally. The judge said there was no such law but the one the FAA said they interpreted from their own “Rules”. The judge said the pilot wasn’t breaking any laws and dismissed the case. Interesting, isn’t it?

  51. One problem with displaying tail numbers on models just occurred to me. Many of us are engaged in fine scale modeling of specific aircraft. In contests, every detail of the prototype must be represented, including its registration number. If FAA requires these craftsmen to display a foreign N number, perhaps not consisting of 5 or so digits with a letter displayed on most aircraft, the work will be downgraded on static judging. The whole point of fine scale modeling is to accurately represent the prototype, which, in many cases, is still extant. I sincerely hope that the AMA can lead the registration task force to resolve this issue. Obviously, accepting a placard inside the model with the members AMA number, etc., as “registration” would solve the problem, and be consistent with paragraph 336 of the FAA Modernization Act of 2012.

  52. Has anyone noticed the fact that our currently posted safety rules state we are to notify the airport if flying within THREE miles of the airport while our KNOW BEFORE YOU FLY promotion, in conjunction with the FAA, states FIVE miles? Shouldn’t we (AMA) immediately change our safety rules to comply and match?

  53. Folks it occurs to me that there is another angle we haven’t been discussing and should be prepared to deal with whether we like it or don’t. Simply put, P.L. 112-95 that we hang our hat on, stipulates that a “model airplane” is flown within the line-of-sight of the operator. What is our response to a position from the FAA that an UAS flown beyond line-of-sight of a “registered” model airfield is NOT a model airplane and therefore subject to the commercial UAS rules (current or whatever evolves). One might argue that it would be easier for all (FAA included) to register airfields as opposed to aircraft OR operators. A “registered” airfield would include AMA fields, fields designated by states, towns, etc. and others approved by a TBD process. Thus any UAS, above a TBD size, seen by the FAA, pilots, or local law enforcement not flying at a “field” would subject to immediate enforcement. I am not sure I like this or not, but while we are focusing on UAS/operator registration this could become another line of “attack” in terms of solving the rogue operator problem. This approach is perhaps heavy handed but would be simple enough to be understood by all very quickly.

  54. US Government on board…..????
    Sorry Not In My Life, a choice I make.

    The choice is akin to my voluntary compliance with the AMA Safety Code,

    ‘Don’t tread on me!” is a discarded creed today.
    I’ll maintain the radios I use now.

    An deny the “right” to tread on me by any means.

    Fully supportive of the AMA Safety Code and complying with same.
    Cooperative effort not “treading on me” with policy as opposed to forced GPS intrusion.

    In the words of John Mellencamp: “You gotta stand right up for something, or you’ll fall for anything!”
    Semper Fi

  55. October 29, 2015. A large, the size of a football field, military blimp goes loose in eastern Pennsylvania affecting power-lines to go down. I don’t have an doubt that the blimp was registered, etc . Are there going to be a repercussions towards the military from the FAA, DOT, etc for such an incident is anyone’s guess.

  56. The AMA should take a leaf out of the NRA book and stick up for their members.
    It doesn’t matter if you like drones or not just as it doesn’t matter if you like guns or not. They are personal OPINIONS unique to an individual, so finger pointing is just plain childish.
    I fly a large home made Hex for fun and have never come anywhere near being able to be accused of spying, invasion of privacy, interfering with a real aircraft or any other such accusation. Why must I be punished for another persons’ crime (read idiocy)?
    Any testing I do is out in the deserts where the only thing that could be damaged is my Hex or a cactus. I am just as responsible as the fixed wing guys I fly with at a local club.
    Come on AMA, give me a break. This is not the answer.


  57. We all know irresponsible drone use has cast the unwanted attention on our hobby. It is generally not the fixed wing and heli guys. My solution would be to require all sellers of RC aircraft to prohibit sales to people without AMA membership. This would put a huge dent in the number of irresponsible users. (I’m not talking about toy grade micro stuff either. That should be exempt)

    We all as AMA members know it is against the rules to operate RC aircraft in an irresponsible manner and I bet most irresponsible users of RC aircraft never even heard of the AMA.

    If someone is caught with a RC aircraft without AMA membership they get a large fine and model and equipment is confiscated. If a seller sells an RC aircraft to a non-AMA member they get a very large fine too.

    Also registering individual models is not going to work. The individual’ users should be registered via their AMA membership.

    1. Excellent way to do it. A valid ( current ) AMA membership number required to purchase and fly the non-toy grade aircraft whether it be fixed-wing or not. This should apply to kits, ARFs, PNPs, RTFs at the point of sale whether it be at a local hobby shop, online, swap-meets, etc. . And in the case of online sales across international borders, AMA membership number would still be required in order for that merchant to be able to process and ship the order/sale. If this extends to other countries, then that country’s equivalent to AMA membership number would be required to likewise process the sale for shipment to that country as well. Furthermore the operation of the aircraft would require having a card with AMA number, name, address, and telephone number of the operator placed inside the aircraft at all times.

      In the event of lapsed AMA membership, the AMA should be required to keep all records in their database and not purge it.

      1. I don’t feel that just having them join the AMA is the answer, in fact it might do more damage to the cause. The solution lies in getting them to fly at a club or sanctioned flying field where the environment is controlled. If they were to join the AMA, and go do something below par somewhere and something really bad were to happen. You would then have the backlash that would be ” well he was a member of AMA and look what happened” I think we have to separate ourselves from the general public to preserve what we have.

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