URGENT – Write the Senate Now!

The U.S. Senate is currently considering amendments to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2016. We need your help today to ensure this proposed legislation fully protects the model aircraft community.

Click here now to urge your Senators to support Senator Inhofe’s amendment number 3596 to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016.

As you know, we are pleased that the Senate’s proposed legislation preserves a community-based approach to managing the recreational community by maintaining the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. However, at the same time, we are concerned with additional provisions in this bill that could detrimentally impact our community.

These new provisions would require all UAS, including model aircraft, to meet new FAA design and production standards and impose unnecessary regulation on hobbyists who often build their own models at home. The bill also requires modelers to obtain permission from air traffic control when flying within 5 miles of towered airports which could jeopardize hundreds of existing flying sites. And if passed, the bill would require model aircraft enthusiasts to take an online FAA safety test and carry proof of passing the test when flying. These new directives would undermine the model aircraft activity and detract from the creativity, innovation and enjoyment of the hobby.

By supporting Senator Inhofe’s amendment number 3596, you can help stop this from happening. This critical amendment would maintain the basic intent of the Senate’s proposed legislation, while lessening the negative impact on the model aircraft community.

While we are still in the first few steps of this legislative process – as always, we thank you for your support of AMA and your efforts to protect our community.


  1. Could you provide us with the language of the proposed amendment we’re being asked to support?


      1. Chad:
        So if I interpret the rule correctly model aircraft would be exempt from the construction/inspection requirement? You guys had better be really clear on this point, because as an A&P student and soon-to-be mechanic, an ill-written regulation would instantly make me a criminal for having built literally hundreds of models, and flown them, without having met the administrator’s approval for design and construction. After 50 years of building and flying model aircraft, I think (as do many others) that Mr. Huerta’s experience with acceptable practices might be sadly lacking. Has anyone asked him directly just how many models has he himself built? This point in particular is critical in getting the beaurocracy to understand that in this case we builders know far more than they ever will on the subject, and imposing the FAA’s criteria for materials and practices, plus the enormous burden of the associated engineering requirements will be the absolute death of this hobby; no individual has those kinds of resources, not even Bill Gates. Just to build a model airplane. REALLY? Paul K. Guillow is spinning in his grave. Model airplanes were the reason I became a cabinetmaker, among other things, and taught me many of the skills I have used over the years, and to take that away from a boy, is absolutely criminal. If you cannot make him see that, then we the people need to ask him to kindly step down from his post. This has gone far enough. In any case, I plan to continue designing, building and flying MINIATURE AIRPLANES as long as I can draw breath. Damn the politicians who say I can’t! And thank you for the opportunity to rant a little, and you have my permission to show Mr. Huerta this letter; I’m sure he will find it amusing.

  2. I just got done using the link to write John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. I tried to compare the amendment 3596 to the cached bill from March 9 and it was not exactly jiving with the amendments strikes and additions but I’ll have to trust that the AMA has it correct.

    The version of the bill I’m looking at…

    Are they voting to send it on today?

    Thank you for the hard work. Perhaps mass email this and text the link to the opted in AMA members. Also post on the forums.

    Kindest Regards,

    Lee Coleman

      1. Thanks Chad. I have read the amendment comparing it to the correct version. I’m pleased with what you, the AMA and stakeholders have proposed. I hope it gets in. Feeling better now.




    1. In addition to the efforts of our staff, volunteer members, and Executive Council, we have been using a law firm in DC who specializes in advocacy and aviation.

      1. Chad,
        I was unaware of the lobbyist, I offer apologies. That’s good news. Are they indicating confidence that we will overcome?

        1. They were a valuable resource in preserving and strengthening the Special Rule for Model Aircraft in the House version. For the Senate, they helped us resolve a lot of the concerning language in the draft bill and submit amendments to resolve issues like the 400′ ceiling height. Inhofe’s amendment should resolve many of our other concerns. Even if the amendments are added to the Senate Bill, we may have to justify our position again with the conference committee.

  4. This whole thing is a travesty in my opinion. The FAA wants to certify a model aircraft that I might design, or certify my scratch-built model before I fly? I’ll have to take a safety test??? Are these guys from Mars or what? Do I sound upset? Well I am.

    Just how much is this going to cost the taxpayers for enforcement, whether at a Federal level or locally? The FAA has already stated that their outreach hasn’t been effective, so how will this help?

    How much will it cost the modeler to go through the certification process?

    How much is this going to cost the manufacturers of models that will be passed on to us?

    And the bottom line is, will we be any safer? Those that wish to do us harm aren’t going to do this stuff. Uninformed people aren’t going to this stuff.

    As mentioned by others before this is going to hurt the future of our hobby.

  5. So the altitude limits and testing remain in the bill. So how is this a win for us??

    1. We have an amendment in place to resolve the 400 foot limit. Ideally we want the limit removed entirely, but initially the Senate only agreed to accept an amendment that exempts community-based organization members like the AMA. This amendment is not part of the Inhofe amendment, but it is in place through a manager’s amendment.

      Know that we are still early in this process. The House hasn’t voted on their version yet, which isn’t quite as onerous and actually includes some extra protections we submitted. Then the two bills go through another round of revisions and amendments with a whole new committee. This newly revised bill may go to a final vote later this year and eventually get signed by the President, but considering this is a key election year there is a chance this process may stall and roll into 2017. As a reminder, the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act process started in 2010.

      1. Chad,

        So if I understand this correctly, if the bill is not passed until later this year or until 2017, we need to abide by the CURRENT laws, which are to register ourselves as flyers, abide by the 400′ limit, and NOTIFY, rather than ASK PERMISSION from an airport before we fly. Am I correct?

        By the way, thanks for all of the hard work that you and the other AMA staff are doing to protect and preserve our hobby. Without all of you, I think that the FAA would have shut us down by now.

        1. Hi Bob,

          After the Senate votes, Congress must wait on the House bill to pass. The House version mirrors 336 with a few additions we requested. Then the two bills go to another committee and another round of revisions and votes. Once that version is passed, the President signs the bill into law. There is still a chance this could all happen this year. Until then, we need to abide by the current law.

          1. And to be clear, as of today there is no such thing as a “400-foot limit” that applies to AMA members. Correct??

            1. Yes that is correct. The FAA and the Know Before You Fly Campaign offers a safety guideline that encourages modelers to stay below 400-feet. This is a good safe altitude limit for most modelers, but modelers operating under our safety program are permitted to fly over 400′.

          2. Chad,

            Is it DOCUMENTED anywhere that AMA members are permitted to fly higher than 400′? The last thing that I saw on the FAA web site stated that model pilots must stay below 400′, and it did not say “unless you are a member of a Community Based Organization.”

            1. We do have a manager’s amendment with the Senate to resolve the 400-foot limit in this Senate bill.

              You can also read our communication with the FAA about the current 400-foot guidance at https://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amagov/2016/01/18/faa-advocacy-meeting-january-15-and-16/.

              The 400-foot ceiling limit on your UAS certificate says the limit is a “safety guideline” not a must or regulation. You can read FAA’s mandatory language at https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/plain_language/articles/mandatory/.

          3. So, do we have a document with the FAA seal on it that says the FAA acknowledges and agrees with the AMA’s procedures for flying above 400 feet?

            This is very important for us that have operations within 5 miles of an airport. Airport managers only abide by what is published by the FAA, not the AMA.

            1. If you are having an issue with a local airport, please contact us so we can resolve it. We will provide clarification with the tower and engage the FAA UAS Office of Integration if needed.

          4. So the AMA telling us to register was for what reason???????????????????????????????????????????

          5. When you register you agree to the 400 foot limit. How can you post that we may fly over that limit?


            1. Hi Mike,

              The FAA acknowledged that AMA members should continue to follow AMA’s community-based safety code. We also discussed and the FAA confirmed that the language on the FAA registration site is a guideline, not regulation. This guideline is not directed at the AMA community but rather, it is a simplified set of safety guidelines geared to the general public. We specifically addressed the 400 foot altitude limitation and explained how under appropriate circumstances some modeling activity necessarily occurs above 400’ and other activity occurs at altitude to protect modelers and spectators on the ground. The FAA understands that this community flies higher than the guideline and acknowledged that AMA pilots can abide by their own safety code which is proven to provide safe aeromodelling operations.

              You can read about the FAA mandatory language at https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/plain_language/articles/mandatory/.

      2. So if this passes, is it the position of the AMA that only paid members can fly above 400 feet AGL?

        1. The absence of a response certainly sends a signal – One wonders if AMA planning on using this as tool to compel membership.

          1. Hi Frank,

            A quick count indicates you and I have had this same discussion nine separate times through emails, AMA tickets, and blog comments over the past few weeks. We have addressed you and your question numerous times and need to respectfully allocate our resources to address other members.

            As a reminder, the short answer is that in order to comply with our safety programs you need to be an AMA member which allows us to provide communication, education, and insurance benefits.

  6. To me this appears to be spiraling out of control and sounds much worse than our last update. I have not read the exact language of the amendment, I probably wouldn’t understand it anyway. FAA certification of model aircraft sounds pretty ominous. I think this would probably include all equipment which would add costs and liability to all manufacturers products. Some would likely fold vs. comply. At this rate an FAA mandated annual inspection by an A&P would not surprise me. Crash investigations, medical exams, no changes to certificated aircraft, where does it end. I have to wonder what the manufacturers and distributors of this hardware are thinking right now. An exit plan??

    1. This section is receiving a significant amount of push back. In addition to AMA’s work against it, there are other organizations and manufactures strongly lobbying to remove the language.

        1. Amendments are still being reviewed and we may not hear any updates until early next week. We have staff on the Hill this week talking with Senators and Inhofe’s office addressing concerns and explaining the need to approve the amendment.

  7. I support the knowledge test, requirement to carry proof, and requirement to present to LEO on demand. If our folks are as good as we’ve been told, and know so much about flying as we’ve been told, then it should be a trivial matter to prove it on a test.

    1. As long as “testing” is done similar to how the FAA handles their air safety courses or certificate to fly in the Washington ADIZ, I think it will be OK. Online, takes 20 minutes, and you get a paper certificate to print and it’s free. If it’s any more than that, then I have issues with it.

  8. Well done Chad!
    Let’s hope this approach influences the Senate to wake the FAA up.

    1. The credit also needs to go to our Executive Council, Rich Hanson, Dave Mathewson, our legal firm in DC, and other AMA staff and volunteers.

  9. I retired from the US government after 35 years. I can vouch for how screwed up they are.
    Before I could submit my comments I was asked for “additional information”.
    My title – Mr.
    Subject – the closest I could come was “commerce”. Maybe should have been transportation.
    MY MIDDLE NAME Really? This is the information my congressman needed?

    The government requests comments and input from the public and industry. Then the government does what it wants.
    Sorry to be negative but I have fought the good fight for most of my life. Your politicians are interested in votes.

  10. This amendment would completely (and specifically) kill the rapidly growing (and completely incident-free) segment of FPV racers out there. How is this acceptable? Is there an amendment in place to address this as well?

    I want to support the AMA, but this feels all rather convenient. It’s no lie that the AMA has been less than welcoming to new technologies in the past, getting the government to ban it sure is an easy way to enforce those tendencies.

    1. Wouldn’t FPV racers be operating as model aircraft? They are typically flown within line of sight or usually at least in sight of someone that can communicate with the racers, thus they fit the role of being flown within LOS of operator. I think the FAA just doesn’t want people running them off into the wild blue yonder. Staying within a park and such which FPV racers do is fine. They are for recreation and if I am reading the amendment correctly, the whole section would not apply to model aircraft. I feel like the rule was put in place to help curb commercial and just needs clarification which the AMA and other entities are helping with.

      1. The section in question does not single out commercial manufacturing or usage. Unfortunately intent or current use does not matter, the way the amendment is worded is such that anything capable of operating outside of line-of-sight would be subject to airworthiness inspections. If you can fly it from behind a curtain, it’s technically out of sight.

        In the absolute best-case scenario, your interpretation is correct and I would be a happy man. However, this is coming from the same organization that constitutes throwing a paper airplane as “Introducing it into national commerce and airspace”. I’m not hopeful with that kind of record of broad interpretation. Worst-case scenario means that anything that’s capable of accepting FPV equipment is subject to the same rules…. so pretty much everything.

        1. What is the AMA’s take on this? Would Inhofe’s amendment cover FPV racing as a model aircraft or would we be forced to be “certified”.

          The amount of scratch building and repairing and upgrading racers do would be well beyond anything actual FAA certification could keep up with.

          1. The Senate’s proposed Special Rules for Model Aircraft (SB2658 section 44808, page 100, line 3) recognizes exemptions for models “not flown beyond visual line of sight of persons co-located with the operator or in direction communication with the operator.”

            Pulling this line out of context is admittedly a little confusing and can be interpreted differently by the FAA, but the use of a person co-located with the operator mirrors the FPV spotter language in AMA document 550 that we shared with the Senate.

    2. BTW, I am a quad pilot and FPV racer so if we aren’t covered under the amendment that is provided, then I would also very disappointed in the current state of things.

      1. When working with the Senate we described elements of our safety program including document 550. The Senate’s proposed bill may allow for a spotter mirroring our safety program so no amendment is needed.

  11. I have sent my email to my Senators as well as an acknowledgement to Senator Inhofe thanking him for his support. I tried to call our most responsive Senator yesterday but did not get through.

    Model aircraft required to meet FAA design and production standards? Will my repairs to an existing airframe be inspected by the FAA? Modifications to “approved” designs a violation? We need late night comedians to look at this…lots of great material.

    Chad, in spite of my frustrations, I will try to be patient and really do appreciate what AMA is trying to get accomplished. I have registered and will continue to fly safely…as always.

  12. I just got off the phone with “Mike” at Senator John Cornyn’s office here in Dallas and expressed my utter frustration as to how absurd anyone in their right minds could come up with such out of control and over reaching legislation. I will be patient and call or write as required but this doesn’t look good long term for our sport.

  13. Constituents of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (AMA District V) are represented in Congress by Resident Commissioner, Pedro Pierluissi.

    All AMA members residing in the island are US citizens.

    Having full federal jurisdiction over the island’s airspace and all relevant air operations, the FAA will also enforce all amendments to current regulations locally.

    The link provided by AMA via the recent “Member Call to Action” email, to support amendment number 3596 proposed by Senator James Inhoffe, does not recognize USPS’s zip-codes assigned to the island.

    This issue will leave countless AMA members from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, unable to support Sen. Inhofe’s amendment.

    Also, please take note that Sen. Inhofe’s name is misspelled in the AMA page and subject line of the support letter.

    Your attention to this matter is deeply appreciated.

    Thank you!

    Rafael. U. Irizarry
    Urb. La Campiña
    67A calle 2
    San Juan, PR 00926-9639 USA
    AMA 614558 District V

      1. It also spells out some criteria about the geographical area(s) of the airport which could result in criminal charges and fines if a drone operator violates the rules while in that/those area(s).

        As I read it this area includes the active runway itself, and an area 1/2 mile to either side of the centerline of the active runway, from one end of the runway to the other, PLUS a 1-mile extension of that runway (one would suppose that extension would be at BOTH ends – to accomodate arriving aircraft at one end and departing aircraft at the other.)

        So: Does this mean that NO charges or fines can/will be assessed if said drone operator flies inside the 5-mile protected radius at an altitude of less than 400 feet without first obtaining approval from whatever authority there is who governs the airport?

        And while we’re at it, I have not been able to find anywhere in the regulations where the 5-mile-radius protected zone applies only to those airfields that have a control tower. IF that zone does apply only to those airports what rules apply to non-controlled airports?

  14. Could this get any more stupid . Why are you even trying to negotiate ? When are you going to start with a lawsuit ? Half of our hobby involves experimentation . You are getting no where with this . I sure cant tell anyone to support something no one understands . You gave us a bunch of jibberish to read that has to be dissected and rewritten to understand .

    First thing you need to do is not support Multicopters . They are not a great thing and you will not get many members joining that only fly these . That is all your worried about , money .Three clubs I visit in a 50 mile radius , including my own , say there are not many multicopter flyers , if any , joining clubs . So forget the money already and quit supporting something that’s killing this hobby .

    There is nothing that needs to be changed in the current legislation other than sticking Sec.336 right back in there . What you going to end up having is rewritten law that will be such jibberish that it will be subject to interpretation or in other words very vague and screw us hobbyists

    1. Yes Mike – it’s stupid now but don’t be surprised – it can get more stupid beyond your wildest imaginations. These people have more serious problems ( if you catch my drift ) than these problems they keep creating, for no good reasons or rhymes, and throwing in the public’s face !

  15. Chad,
    You are doing a fine job dealing with a difficult issue facing AMA members. You have my support.

    Rusty Kennedy
    AVP, District IV

  16. I’m still confused about the 400 ft rule. My flying field is 4 miles away from an airport and the airspace within their 5-mile radius is class D. When I called the control tower I was told to stay under 400 ft AGL. I said I was flying under the AMA safety code. He said there is no exception to the 400 ft rule for model aircraft. If not, then in what airspaces does the FAA acknowledge the AMA safety code and allow flying over 400 ft? Is it only outside the 5-mile airport limit?

    1. Sometimes airport towers do not have the manpower to be educated about all of the rules and documentation about model aircraft. FAA’s AC 91-57A and and Section 336 of the 2012 Special Rule for Model Aircraft do not limit your flight to 400 feet. Please give us a call at 1-765-287-1256 and we can help guide you through this process. If necessary, we can engage the FAA UAS Integration Office for assistance to educate the tower.

      1. Chad: Thank you for responding to my question posted on April 14, 2016 and listing the relevant documents. There is no reference to the 400 ft limit in Section 336 of the 2012 Special Rule for Model Aircraft. But I find it troubling that in the FAA’s AC 91-57A dated 09/02/2015, Section 6e states the following: ”Model aircraft operators should follow best practices including limiting operations to 400 feet above ground level (AGL).” To me, that statement sounds like a show stopper. I just might be contacting you for further guidance on this matter. Thanks again.

      2. This AC 91-57A Section 6 sub paragraph e. Section 6 is titled “Model Aircraft Operations”.

        e. Model aircraft operators should follow best practices including limiting operations to 400 feet above ground level (AGL).

        You always tell us this does not apply and if we have a problem with airport operators, you will help us. Can you outline the “process” you describe above? Suggestions have been made to have these operators call the AMA. Only the people who are working in towered airports are FAA personnel. General aviation airport managers are typically employees of some local government or maybe the owner of the airport.

        A guide sheet detailing our justification and procedures for operations above 400 feet from the AMA would help us working with these people. This document should refer to specific FAA publications.

        1. Hi Ray,

          We believe the 400-foot ceiling height is a good general guideline for most modelers. While 91-57A also suggests modelers should stay below 400-feet, this is not law or regulation. It is a guideline per FAA’s legal team and https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/plain_language/articles/mandatory/. We and the FAA acknowledge there are modeling activities that may exceed 400-feet and have done so safely for decades following AMA’s safety program.

          Currently there isn’t a lot of clearly defined rules or language from the FAA regarding our models and airports. The FAA UAS Integration Office typically resolves any conflicts between modelers and airports on a case-by-case basis. This week we are again meeting with the FAA requesting a document that clarifies AMA’s exemption from the 400-foot suggested ceiling height to help resolve many of these reoccurring issues.

          1. What is really unfortunate is that the FAA had to include AMA members in this latest round of rules making. They lumped us in with all of the non-member “drone flyers”, and now they keep telling us that most of these new rules don’t necessarily apply to us. I’m all in favor of the FAA trying to reign in the people who fly unsafely. You only have to look at the collision of an airliner and a “drone” at Heathrow yesterday to see that something has to be done. But they should have only required us to register and put a registration number on our models for easy identification. That would have saved a lot of legal wrangling and confusion, not to mention a lot of hassle in Congress trying to keep unnecessarily restrictive rules off of our backs. They just needed to come up with a set of rules for flyers who don’t belong to a Community Based Organization.

          2. Chad,

            Thanks for the answers. I know this is a long process. But, a LOA between the AMA and the FAA on these two important subjects would help many modelers. First is the 400 foot rule (below 400 and above 400) clarification. Second is notification vs. getting permission from full scale airports for RC operations within 5 miles. Simple letter with two signatures is the first step to keep us all legal.

            1. We are in talks again with the FAA this week and plan to address this topic with their senior staff.

  17. So what progress has been made on the amendment, up or down as of this time?

    Sadly, due to the nature of my employment (think Hatch Act) I am unable to write my Senators.

  18. This thing is SNOW-BALLING folks ! Just writing to these bought-and-sold politicians, by special interest groups, is not going to cut it at this point in time. It looks like more time in the courts is what’s needed.

  19. I took a little time to contact people at Tower Hobbies and Horizon Hobby to see if they were even remotely aware of the latest developments concerning what is currently transpiring with the FAA as it impacts the flying community and especially the latest issues. To my surprise they are not aware nor did they seem alarmed.

    I think the part of the flying community which involves the manufactures, distributors, etc should start putting some weight behind this. Why is it that these people haven’t or are not getting communication about this struggle the flying community is now embroiled in. With such an important matter you would think so.

    1. We have been in touch with both of these organizations, as well as many others. I can confirm both of these businesses are aware of the situation and have offered to help. Perhaps not all of the customer support team has been updated.

      1. That’s interesting, given that whether this passes or not substantially impacts their business. One has to wonder how extensive the effort is if their employees don’t know that they’re legislation pending that could have a big impact on whether they have a job or not.

        1. Good point Frank M; good point indeed. Seems these days people are not jolted to the point of waking-up unless it hits their pocket-books. TRULY SAD BUT TRUE. Where has the NATURAL awareness gone to; oh where oh where can it be ?

  20. Chad; that’s probably it. Calling in as a nobody ( regular peon person ) without clout and simply reaching customer service people is what probably happened. Good to know you at the AMA have made the higher-ups AWARE and UP-TO-DATE on the issues of concern. The more aware the better.

    1. I did the only thing I could think of to get the big hobby vendors attention, I emailed them and said I was some not making any more large purchases from them until the final rule is out. I encouraged them to get behind the AMA in big way, unless however they just want to sell cars and boats. As much as I have my eyes set on the new arf’s, I have more than enough aircraft to fly this season.

      1. Steve; as I mentioned above to Frank M, people these days don’t seem to wake-up unless it hits their pocket-books. With such SERIOUS issues now confronting the flying community you would think the business end of it would be up-in-arms about this whole fiasco. Come on – let’s see some teeth from the business end, manufactures, and suppliers. WAKE-UP people !

  21. We (the AMA) should find out (if it is not already known) who is behind this drive to take away our freedom to build, fly and have fun as a hobby. The individuals behind this need to be exposed and put in the public light. Is it possible that there’s a hidden agenda? I am tired of reading ” the FAA proposed this rule or that regulation” which by default becomes law. It is not the “bureaucrats at the FAA”. The bureaucrats do what their told to do. The bureaucrats know who is behind this, why don’t we? Is it Michael Huerta? Raymond Towles? or possibly Ravi Chaudhary. The members and the public should be reading articles in the papers and publications why they want to take away our freedoms.

    1. Rich; it has been mention before – a good start would be Dianne Feinstein ( California senator ) and Charles “Chuck” Schumer ( New York senator ). From what others have previously mentioned, Feinstein has been pushing it for some time now.

    2. Rich – yes there has got to be a bigger agenda behind them taking away our freedoms or otherwise they would not be so preoccupied with it. Just remember; these people don’t think in rational terms as the rest of the public does. They see themselves as above others, like royalty, and feel hell-bent on doings as they please. For one thing; most don’t seem to know what living and enjoying life is. While our passions are with aviation, the joy of flying, and enjoying comradery with others, these people seem to get their joy by the pain and misery they inflict upon others. NOT NORMAL in any sense of the term of what normal is. What’s doubly troubling about their behavior is that they preoccupy others, like us, who are sensible and rational people when instead we can be doing more constructive activities. In short, they indirectly drive us towards their insanity by preoccupying us to correct or halt their insanity, if it’s even correctable or stoppable to begin with (?).

      1. Not every piece of legislation and/or government regulation is driven by some darkly-hidden conspiracy (“agenda”) or promulgated in some smoke-filled back-room meeting of “powers that be”. Some constraints actually make sense – like trying to insure public safety by keeping 5-pound unmanned aerial which-a-ma-call-its out of the engines of big metal birds that are carrying dozens of people.

        No – to my knowledge we have not had any such incidents (yet). But should we wait until we DO kill a bunch of people before we start working on ways to TRY to eliminate the hazard in the first place?

        Sure, it DOES put some limits on our hobby, and nobody likes that. But we have to admit there are those in our field of interest who just don’t have the common sense NOT to fly up near full-scale aircraft or to fly around airports. I’ll even bet there are a few of those types who are members of AMA.

        What we REALLY need to do is get involved with our LOCAL government officials and WORK WITH THEM to implement safe, well-thought-out parameters concerning our hobby – parameters which promote the good things the hobby brings and, yet address the rights, privacy, and general good relations of those in our neighborhoods not of our chosen hobby interest.

    3. This is easy Rich. Follow the money. Who looks to benefit from eliminating modelers from the airspace? Commercial delivery by drone (Amazon.com, et al) and anybody else who sees using a RPV for doing business: surveyors, real estate, construction, law enforcement, and on and on.

  22. I wrote to both of my US senators and my US representative when this was in the House subcommittee. I only heard back from one of them. But that one always corresponds with me. At least I can talk to her, and have, in person, on a few occasions. At least she has listened to where I stand.

    1. And just who might that be Larry ? Care to open up and let the rest of the flying community here know ?

      1. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Remember everyone that they only talk to people from their own state or district (US Representative). We don’t always agree on everything, but at least she does listen to me.

  23. My AMA # 811885 I fly with in 400 ft. If you can’t here the sound of your engine your too high or far away. Keep me informed on any other AMA rule changes.

    1. Richard – good to know you are trying to stay informed with the fast pace of developments. The sound now being made by those who have created this fiasco is actually drowning out the sound of your engine at even 400-feet ( 122-meters ) below AGL.

      1. Scott – engine or no engine / motor or no motor according to FAA the maximum ceiling is 400-feet ( 122-meters ) AGL ( Above Ground level ). From my understanding; AMA is trying to get a provision approved whereby AMA members would be excluded from this. Whether this would apply only for those actually flying at a club site or not is not clear at this point. I’m only going by what Chad recently posted here. Please see ” Chad Budreau April 18, 2016 at 16:27 ” posted above on this blog.

  24. Has AMA been tracking the number of hits on the letter writing link? If so, can we get the number of letters submitted?

    1. Over 30,000 messages were sent to the Senate so far. Thank you for your efforts!

  25. So reading the new proposed regulations, it is certainly better than before, but there are still questions specifically for the MultiGP crowd.

    The first thing is here:

    “(g) Prohibition.–It shall be unlawful for any person to
    introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate
    commerce any unmanned aircraft system manufactured after the
    date that the Administrator adopts consensus safety standards
    under this section,

    [[Page S1923]]

    unless the manufacturer has received approval under
    subsection (d) for that make and model of unmanned aircraft
    “(h) Exclusions.–This section shall not apply to unmanned
    aircraft systems that are not capable of navigating beyond
    the visual line of sight of the operator through advanced
    flight systems and technology, unless the Administrator
    determines that is necessary to ensure safety of the

    This covers traditional model aircraft which is a good start, but how would an FPV racing quad be covered? From this it sounds like my little 250 racer may still not be covered unless a simple camera without any GPS capability would not be considered an “advanced flight systems/technology”.

    I would certainly be operating my quad like an LOS aircraft (I keep it under 400 feet and within an area of essentially LOS), but this still brings the question of FPV

    Or does the new MicroUAS rule cover anything under 4.4 pounds as long as it operates within line of sight? I would say at least 90% of racers are under 4.4 pounds, and again are operated within the realm of the microUAS role.

    Overall, many of the amendments seem to be in place which is certainly helping our cause, but there are still a couple unsettling ones for the quad racer crowd.

    I got back into RC because of quad racers and the experience of “being in the cockpit”. It has been a nice alternative to paying for the full cost of an actual aircraft.

    Curious how this is being handled, if at all.

    1. Or are racers operated as “model aircraft” which can bypass the initial rules if they are not operated in such a way that goes beyond VLOS of the pilot or persons co-located or in communication with the pilot.

      Obviously if this is not addressed, the entire MultiGP chapter would be in question. I believe racers are becoming a fairly large segment of the hobby. As mentioned above, I got back into RC because of them.

      I do agree that the traditional multi-rotor has caused issues, but I hope that there is a distinction between a 250 Racer, and the typical Phantom that people purchase.

      1. We interpret the language to mean the FPV operations can continue if there is a spotter co-located with the pilot similar to AMA document 550.

        1. Thanks and good to know.

          First of all, thanks again for all your hard work. I imagine SA 3679 would look a lot worse without all the work of the AMA and many others involved in protecting the model aircraft world.

          Based off the exact wording, would the certification requirement be covered by the MicroUAS section 337? Since we are under 4.4 pounds, I guess we don’t need certification, and with a spotter, we are operating with visual rules, which would be covered under model aircraft? Therefore our 250-350 class racers are safe as long as they are under 4.4 lbs

          I guess the only issue is if you want to build a UAV that is bigger than 4.4 lbs and and want to mount FPV on it. I assume that would be the scenario that would put it under the realm of certification? Or could we clear that as long as it was operated within the realms of AMA Document 550?

      2. How does this relate to the “interstate commerce” requirements on UAV’s? Would the Micro UAS rule allow you to bypass that with an FPV racer as long as it’s operated within an LOS type environment? (AMA 550).

        I think the rules for operation are one thing but are nullified if you can’t buy anything because it’s prohibited by the certification rules.

  26. I want to continue Andrew’s last line from above: or “unless the Administrator
    determines that is necessary to ensure safety of the airspace.”
    The FAA has implemented that paragraph. That’s why it happened in the first place and is happening again, it’s still in the language.

    Can someone explain the lobby aspect to me? the situation got worse not better.

    These individuals are power hungry and want to control all aspects of our rights and freedom because they know best.

    Please refer to the Educator-Aviator April 19, 2016 at 00:08 comment and then Scott April 19, 2016 at 14:48

    The leadership of the AMA has done a fantastic job but it’s not working. The FAA threw the efforts into the waste basket by ignoring the requests and are now ignoring the leadership by imposing MORE RESTRICTIONS, TESTS and BUILDER MODEL REGISTRATION.
    The time has come to realize the way the FAA was approached was wrong. All the efforts at meetings, talks and convention attendance turned out to be useless.
    What is the status of the appeals process? Is there an appeal?
    A more aggressive approach needs to be taken or we will be limited to free flight (under 400 ft?) or control line and boats. Maybe not boats if we are deemed to be posing a threat to our Navy.
    Write to the news stations (The ones that care) to expose this fiasco. How about this headline?

  27. my colleague needed to fill out a form several days ago and located a web service with lots of fillable forms . If others are interested in it too , here’s https://goo.gl/lWFn4m

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