Congressional Process Stalls

Congress is in the process of updating FAA’s goals and authority, which includes regulations on model aircraft.  To accomplish this task, the Senate and House must separately draft and pass their version of FAA’s reauthorization bill.  The two bills then go to a conference committee to resolve any differences. After modifications are made, the conference committee submits the final bill  to a full Congressional vote which if passed is sent to the President to be signed into law.

While the Senate has passed their version of the FAA reauthorization bill, the House has not yet voted on their bill.  Until then the legislative process is at a stand-still.

We explain more in the video below and will continue to keep you updated as things progress.

VISIT MODELAIRCRAFT.ORG/GOV FOR Government Relations updates.


  1. Not surprised that Congress is dragging their feet on this issue. I am trying to find out what the FAA laws are going to be. I found a website, but it isn’t up and running yet. I’ll keep looking here and at other sites so as to not run afoul of the law.

    1. the safest way is to count on (as far as modelers are concerned) is to look at

  2. (continued from above)
    HR-336 as it read when it left the Senate on 4/19/16.

    The H of R can not begin to discuss the Bill until the Ways and Means Committee kicks the tires on it first. Currently the Bill is not listed on the “W and M” Online Schedule which only shows about a week ahead. When calling the number it goes to voicemail, night or day.

  3. Excellent update on the stalemate in Congress. Let the House prevail.

  4. So… I scratch build a plane. Maybe from 70 year old plans, maybe from some thing in my head. Am I the “manufacture”? Must I build my plane to some rule/law written by the senate? Must my plane be “safety inspected” by a FAA inspector or designee? I’ve been flying now for some 50 plus years…. Will I have to pass a test to fly now? Have I now become unsafe just because of this proposed senate version of the law?

    1. Hi Marty,

      The Senate version tasks the FAA to create design and safety standards within one year should that section of the bill (2124) become law. At this time, it is not clear what will be part of the safety standards. If not amended, the language in the bill could be interpreted to apply to modelers like yourself to be considered a “manufacturer.”

  5. The FAA does not make law, Congress does. The FAA makes rules to follow the laws passed by Congress. Whatever Congress tells the FAA to do, the agency still has to go through an NPRM process before making new rules. The entire process takes years. The Part 107 rules for sUAS operators began life in the 2012 FMRA and at appears that we will see the rules published in June of 2016. Four years from law to rules is bureaucratic light-speed. Part 103 Ultralight rules took 8 years from NPRM to Effective.

    You will get opportunities to comment on new rules.

  6. It STILL boggles my mind! Federal regulation of model airplanes – by those model airplanes ASSociation with multi-rotored models of nothing. How many other “freedom-touting” nations have to deal with crap like this???

  7. Is it correct to think that the congressional language is unfavorable to model aviation and this standstill means there is still an opportunity to influence the outcome?

  8. This is silly the FAA does not need to be involved and how the modelers build their aircraft I understand they’re trying to do better regulations because of the so-called drones but this is getting too much

  9. Excellent video update, Chad. It’s revealing to hear FAA funding had to be extended temporarily 20+ times while the 2012 bill made its way through Congress. We may be in for the long haul with the 2016 (2017?) FAA Modernization Act as well.

    1. This could be another long process, or Congress could suddenly try to push through the bill this summer. At this time it is hard to gauge, but as each day passes, it is becoming more likely the bill will stall at least until next year.

  10. I would really like to know ,Democrat or Republican ,By name ,who is voting against R.C. modelers interests or against the recommendations of the AMA —————

  11. Sick of hearing that designs will have to be certified by FAA and especially in hearing that scratch builders are included. FAA certification? Engineers? Wind tunnel testing? aerodynamicists? structural analysis? YOU ALL DO UNDERSTAND WHAT FAA CERTIFICATION IMPLIES… Right? I think that it’s time to play hardball “right back at them” (they “are” playing hardball) and draw up an class action lawsuit against them on behalf of all AMA Members… say $1,000,000 each. For writing and imposing Mal intended bureaucracy. intended to wear down the AMA by attacking it’s (OUR) war chest ($$$). I’m appalled and embarrassed at and of our Governments “absolute” stupidity! Sick’em!!!

    1. Two thumbs upon your comment. Just way to much government infringement on the private sector.
      If things keep going the way they are, soon the home hobbyists will have to get OSHA certification for safety procedures in the home shop. You will need to become EPA certified for the purchase of and the handling of dangerous glue and paint products . Of course there will be taxes and fees associated with all of this .
      It’s getting crazy!!!

  12. Now is the time to strike, we need more than just 30.000 mrmberd to weite to our leadership in washington. We need all 180,000 members and their families in the next few weeks write the president and our leaders about this uncalled attacks by the FAA on our hobby because of a few people who will never change what they are doing to make all of pay for their stupidity……….

  13. There are agencies in our government that are shipping weapons to ISIS and guns to narco traffickers south of the border in operation “Fast and Furious” but me and my kit built .25 to .61 powered sport models are what need regulating? What has gone wrong common sense? I absolutely am just bewildered and I don’t believe I am alone in my bewilderment. An activity that required nary a thought about interference from any part of the government. Me and my fellow club members always focused on enjoying the wholesomeness and excitement of aerodynamics, always with a nod to staying safe. Now as Mr. George Edwards has stated in his comment, We are having to worry about “running afoul of the law”.

  14. I am pretty much done listening to this crap. They can just come and get me! I’ll be da_ _ed if I will knuckle under to a bunch of know-nothing bureaucrats!

  15. I worked in Government contracting for 30 years as a civilian. You never can tell the government “what to do”. Instead you “help them do what you want them to do”. The decision makers are reasonable people but they need to have a reason to make the decisions we want them to make. In the case of Congress it’s voters opinions that make them take action because that’s how the stay in office. The public needs to be educated on who this bill will effect and then the voice of public opinion will join ours and declare that this is unnecessary legislation. Then and only then will it be changed and have a positive result for us and the modeling industry.
    BOTTOM LINE: React swiftly and with acumen when the AMA asks us to contact our representatives . Remember “Help them do what you wan them to do”

  16. We all need to understand their perspective, for one, the Senate needs to be taught something that they have little interest in. Just like children they don’t want to listen. to the Hobbyist,or Business persons. Our interests or concerns mean little to them because they think we still play with our Toys. Also approaching the subject with a Neanderthalistic attitude, such as swearing or threatening, Posture Posing Loud Mouth displays, are interpreted as a low level of intelligence to a governing body. Have a little patience.. they’re sorting things out!..soon.

  17. Those drones started this mess in the first place there are a lot of irresponsible people who own them and I new they were going to be the death model airplanes………….

    1. I think its all a crock but nothing new. AMA dropped the ball by thinking they were pals with the FAA in the first place. OH and hey George “those drones” didn’t mess things up it was the aholes doing stupid things with drones. Just like guns nothing wrong with a gun until you put it in a killers hands. I am not going to support the AMA when I have felt for a long time they were out of touch old men running it. And hell I am 47 years old! I don’t need the AMA to fly rc planes or drones nor do I have to be in a club. I can fly to my hearts content at my ranch without anyone to deal with.

    2. Let’s not turn this into infighting. The problem is not the craft, it’s the people that saw an RC aircraft as a way of doing something else and have no respect for the hobby. I fly planes, I fly helicopters, I fly “drones” as you put it. I’ve never seen a hobbyist ‘drone’ flier do anything like I’ve seen photographers attempt.

      People are attacking the wrong target, and driving away potential members of the community over something as silly as aircraft configuration. I hope we get over it soon, because it could turn out poorly for everyone if people cling to old prejudices.

      1. We have a debate in a few local clubs about a number of requests from drone operators who need a field to “practice and train”. One of the clubs has said no to all new members who are “pure drone”. Another club has allowed a few new members in that are “pure drone”.
        The glaring issue is that “pure drone” pilots never had to learn anything, never know the sting of crashing a plane that took 6 months to build. Some of these folks are otherwise good citizens but who know absolutely nothing about aviation and consider that the $1000 they spent on their drone is the limit of their liability and loss. No regrets, no nervousness, no sweat equity, never heard of flight safety. They barely understand the user’s manual, let alone be able to operate the device safely or properly.
        After seeing a few very serious close calls this spring, I pack up and leave that field if a drone person shows up. Even if an instructor is present, the drone person often changes software configuration from one day to the other “to make it do cool things”, and what flew well on Saturday, is now a lethal “pit missile” on Sunday.
        If bad things happen, they laugh and shrug it off. Even tight regulation can’t cure that!

        1. I guess that shows you how many ‘pure drone’ pilots you know. Let me guess, they all flew their shiny white phantoms? One might have a walkera or a 3DR?

          Seriously, the good ‘drone’ pilots, the ones that actually know what they’re talking about, shy away from AMA fields because of the ridiculous prejudice they face from NIMBYs and old-timers that can’t get over the fact that balsa and glow is not king anymore. These are the sorts (myself included) that spend days fretting over sbus vs PPM, hardware vs software ESC handling of PWM signals, dedicated gate driver software vs software handling, thrust efficiency ratios for a given ESC/motor/propeller combination. They design frames, nitpick over magnet grades, and debate the merits of various firmware brands to load on their flight controllers.

          We deal with enough trouble from the uneducated public, the last thing we need is for pointless infighting to drive out an entire portion of potential productive members because of misconceptions and bias. I’m sure you can contrive whatever horror stories you like to confirm your views, but that makes you no better than fox news and the other tabloids that exploit the hobby for pageviews and advertising money.

  18. 1) Online Aviation Test – What, afraid to learn something new about aviation?!? There’s sure to be an online course outlining what you need to know for the test. It would be a great Rite of Passage for teenage modelers to earn the privilege of flying in the National Airspace and could even be a potential gateway to a lifelong aviation career. Teenage Amateur Radio Operators have been passing FCC exams for years in order to have the privilege of transmitting on the public airwaves. If you think you’re too old to pass the test, you probably shouldn’t be driving either!

    2) ATC Permission to fly – During Special VFR conditions, pilots often fly what used to be called a Contact Approach during which they may only be flying 1000 ft. or less above the ground and are dodging clouds in poor visibility on the way in to the airport. They don’t need to be dodging our model aircraft besides! During Special VFR, the answer is always NO!

    3) FAA design standards – Dude, read the Bill! This only applies to Commercial and Governmental Operators.

    1. FAA design standards….yes, this is written for only commercial operations. We need some words to protect the people who fly as a hobby.

      Remember the process, the House and the Senate must come to an agreement, then the President signs the law. Then the FAA writes the regulations to enforce the law. The intent of the law and the words of the regulations can differ. That is why we need as much protection for the hobby that we can get in the law.

      ATC permission… some minor corrections. A pilot can request a “special VFR’ clearance from ATC to fly when the weather is below VFR minimums. A “Contact approach” is something an IFR pilot requests during an instrument landing approach procedure when he has the runway in sight and can proceed to a landing.

  19. If it weren’t for the immature, idiot drone pilots doing stupid stuff, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Model airplanes and helicopters was never a problem until morons got a hold of drones. Don’t need all this regulation on fixed wing and helicopters – just go after the idiots causing the trouble. Now big government has to get into our lives even more.

  20. Funny that all other countries already worked this out and everyone is happy . Why cant we do the same ? Our govt is a joke anymore .

  21. This reminds me of Congressional efforts to modernize the National Flood Insurance Program. In the case of flood reform, congress extended the previous flood programs 20+ times. In fact, it was even used as a political hot potato. If past performance is any indicator of future results, we can expect the same with the FAA’s reauthorization bill. Unfortunately, aside from something catastrophic happening, this is not an issue that is likely to get any play during a reelection year. See you in 2017.

  22. We all know what these proposed rules are for,does the word isis mean anything?

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