I’m writing to provide you with an update on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s UAS registration task force. As you may be aware, the task force met for several days last week and AMA’s Rich Hanson represented our members’ interests in all of the discussions.
We’re limited in how much we can divulge about these meetings because all task force members agreed to a set of ground rules. These rules prohibit us from publicly discussing any details of the task force’s internal deliberations. With that said, there has been some misinformation, as well as some inaccuracies surrounding this issue, so we want to provide you, our members, with as much information as we can while still respecting the integrity of the process.
During the task force meetings, AMA strongly argued for our members to be exempt from federal registration, as Congress intended with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. This special rule states that the FAA does not have the authority to promulgate any new rules on recreational users operating under the safety guidelines of a community-based organization such as AMA.
AMA members have been flying safely for decades, and we made it clear that our members are not the problem. With our stellar safety record, AMA can be part of the solution, but our members shouldn’t have to bear the burden of new regulations. Meanwhile, as our members know, AMA already has in place its own voluntary registration system.
For the new legions of consumer drone users who are not AMA members, we do think that registration makes sense at some level when UAS technology meets an appropriate threshold of weight, capability and other safety-related characteristics.
The task force’s detailed recommendations to the FAA are scheduled to become public on Friday, November 20. AMA intends to make our views explicitly clear in these final recommendations and we will continue to advocate for our members to be exempt from registration if the final recommendations state otherwise. And once this information is made public, we will also be able to more openly and publicly address the registration proposal.
In the meantime, we encourage our members to submit comments on the FAA’s registration proposal through the regulations.gov portal. Although comments were due by November 6, the docket remains open and the U.S. Department of Transportation has indicated that it will consider all comments received. To submit a comment, click here: https://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2015-4378-0022.
We thank you for your continued support of AMA and look forward to working alongside you on these important issues.