FAA Small UAS Rule with New Commercial and Civil Guidelines

We want to congratulate the FAA on publishing the final small UAS rule today. The final rule will be highly beneficial to the industry overall, as it resolves many uncertainties in the law and creates an improved regulatory environment. We look forward to seeing widespread commercial and civil operations of unmanned aircraft take flight.

We are also pleased that the final rule codifies parts of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, therefore helping to maintain an exemption for model aircraft from burdensome regulation. The Special Rule was passed by Congress in 2012 and allows community-based organizations, like AMA, to lead risk mitigation and the development of appropriate safety guidelines for the operation of model aircraft devices.

Since 1936, AMA has been managing hobbyists across the country with safety guidelines and training programs. We are constantly evolving our programming to accommodate new technologies, new modeling disciplines, and a diverse community of more than 188,000 members that range from age 6 to 96. Our members have a stellar safety record due to these well-established educational programs.

We will continue to advocate for and protect our longstanding, fun and educational hobby of flying model aircraft. In the months ahead, it is critical that Congress strengthen and improve the Special Rule for Model Aircraft in the next FAA reauthorization bill. At the same time, we look forward to continuing our work with policymakers and industry partners to help increase educational opportunities, especially through the Know Before You Fly campaign.


      1. Just spoke with the AMA government relations department and that seems to be the case – commercial use requires FAA certification. If that truly is the case then why can’t these government people just simply say-so in CLEAR language what they mean. It’s always this part and that part and so-on. We the people pay them with out tax dollars to be CLEAR and TRANSPARENT. After all; they work for us or don’t they ?

        1. The Line-of-site stipulations are also clearly outlined in the sUAS rule. And, defined separately from First-person-view.

        2. But from what I’ve read, FAA *have* stated in clear and transparent basic legal language in part 107 that part 107 specifically excludes hobby activities and is targeted only to commercial operations. Further, they reference a part 101 – not yet approved – which will codify the existing public law from 2012. Perhaps it would be simpler to read the summary section in the entry in the federal register, which was referenced in the email which I received from FAA announcing the final version of part 107. I received that email due to the fact that I have a UAS registration number with FAA.

          Please stop spreading fear and anguish about FAA. FAA are working hard for us and the full scale aviation community, and have been doing so all along. The only folks you need to fear screwing up on this are in the senate and the house.

  1. Vetted by the TSA is the biggest joke. Your privacy will be compromised and the TSA is not going to vet people properly just look at what they do now why would anyone think it would be good? Glad they will leave the RC toy folks alone.

  2. Are we going to have to take FAA flight testing to be able to continue flying? How about continuing to register ourselves with the FAA? Please clarify some of the new rules and how they will affect the hobby.

    1. Hi Larry,

      Part 107 does not require you to go through training or take a test if you are operating within Section 336, the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. Much of this announcement primarily relates to commercial, civil service, and those who do not fully comply with 336.

      While AMA pilots are generally exempt from this rule including the test, pilots still need to comply with the federal requirement to register with the FAA.

      1. You said, pilots still need to comply with the federal requirement to register with the FAA
        I don’t believe that is true anymore. Section 336 specifically states the FAA may not make any rules or regulations for model aircraft.

        1. Except for the fact that they framed it as an extension of an existing requirement for all aircraft. 336 says “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft” which means rules and regs specifically targeting models.

          Because it doesn’t single out models (“it applies to ALL aircraft), they feel they are in the clear saying “Ooops, we forgot to tell you, you need to register”.

          I feel they skated onto thin ice when they said, “oh, ok, you have a gazillion models, well then register yourself, instead of each model…” THAT is model aircraft specific… but they could argue they were being “nice”… and the alternative, which they could argue is consistent with full scale practice, is “register every model” (yech!)

          So, for the time being, registration is still the regulation in force.

          We could argue that it’s wasteful and pointless OR we could ask congress to specifically exclude models from the definition of “aircraft” thus pulling the rug from under their blanket reg for registration. Time will tell if either approach grains any traction.

          1. I would suggest a couple of approaches. First of all, the AMA should approach Congress with both options you state regarding registration. And second, the FAA does not have a ‘registration’ requirement for pilots (they have a licensing/certification process), but they do have a regustration requirement for aircraft. So if they don’t wish to see reason, then I would suggest we register EVERY SINGLE MODEL AIRCRAFT in the US. I am fairly sure their computer systems would not be able to handle the huge number of additional registrations this would add to the FAA base.

        2. Don’t expect us to get off the hook that easily. They’ve already got us where they want us to be and I don’t expect them to let go. After-all, they’ve already got the ball rolling; why stop now.

          1. And, don’t claim a conspiracy where there is none. Airspace issues are important. So are privacy issues.

          2. AMA #919518 … A ‘ leave ‘ vote winning for BREXIT was also considered a conspiracy until it became reality. Now days TRUTH, HONESTY, INTELLIGENCE, FORESIGHT, and THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX are also considered a conspiracy. Insane !

      2. Chad,
        I have read completely through the new FAA document. Please direct me to where it states that registration is required.

          1. Well, then we have an issue, as the FAA website still states that the PERSON must register, and not EACH MODEL.

            I for one will not register until this is resolved, at the least.

            1. Only the pilot needs to register. You do not have to list, register, or pay for each model that you own.

          2. Chad, again I must ask where in the above link to the FAA document in question it states that registration is required?

            I am an FAA certificated pilot, holding ATP and 3 type ratings, and as such am quite familiar with the associated regulations. There is no such requirement for pilots to ‘register”, only the requirement to register aircraft, yet the FAA says aircraft registration is not required? (As per AMA).

            Which is it? Please point me to the specific regulation (CFR) that pertains to a requirment for the pilot to ‘register’.

            1. You are correct, registration is not listed in the new rule. You can choose not to register, but could face civil and criminal penalties. We are still working on the registration issue with the FAA and have a petition with the US Court of Appeals.

          3. Chad, I believe peoples’ disappointment with the AMA is that there is no stated requirement for a hobbyist to register, so there is no civil or criminal penalty to be levied against a hobbyist, yet the AMA continues to advise modellers to register. Frankly this is bad advice. When and if the FAA ever codifies registration for hobbyist operators then yes, it should promote such, but not before.

          4. Chad,

            After doing more digging, and reading the AC pertaining to us, I have a question. The AC (Advisory Circular) states that this regulation is in accordance with ICAO policies. However, ICAO does not consider a model airplane operated for recreation to fall under their definition, and require registration as a civil aircraft.


          5. Sorry, forgot to add the applicable paragraph in the prior link is 2.4.

          6. Hi R Strowe,

            Could you share which FAA AC you are referring?


          7. Subject: Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
            Date: 6/21/16 AC No: 107-2
            Initiated by: AFS-800 Change:

            5.4 Aircraft Registration. A small UA must be registered, as provided for in 14 CFR part 47
            or part 48 prior to operating under part 107. Part 48 is the regulation that establishes the
            streamlined online registration option for sUAS that will be operated only within the
            6/21/16 AC 107-2
            territorial limits of the United States. The online registration Web address is
            https://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/. Guidance regarding sUAS registration and marking
            may be found at https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/aircraft_certification/
            aircraft_registry/. Alternatively, sUAS can elect to register under part 47 in the same
            manner as manned aircraft.

          8. If they are stating model aircraft are “aircraft”, then don’t we need a pilots license and to register each “aircraft” then?

            1. The FAA has allowed for Model Aircraft Pilots to register themselves rather than each individual model. This has allowed modelers with numerous aircraft to only pay one $5.00 fee, rather than a fee for each aircraft in the pilots possession.

          9. Where in the world is John Birch when you need him for this ICAO stuff??
            ATP dude, you’re registered and re-registered “whether you like it or not” (Gavin Newsom) when you comply with 1st class medical exam and flight review paperwork requirements.

  3. As a recreational hobbyist, I appreciate the work and time the AMA likely poured into this final decision. Thank you for helping take the gobermints foot off our throat on this matter. Hopefully this means the registration will be waived and we can continue our stellar record of safety. I have not and will not register to fly a toy, but i will continue to support the AMA untill they themselves take a hand in registering me on their own accord.

    1. Let’s just HOPE that their foot is off our throats. With these people you never know what they will come up with next ? By being part of the government it seems they feel they have all the power in the world to shove anything down our throats.

    2. David, I am with you completely. I will never personally register, but if the AMA handles my registration through their system I’m okay with it. I will never plaster FAA numbers on my aircraft. They are already covered with my AMA number. That should be enough for anyone. This just isn’t about model planes, this is about freedom and government intrusion. This isn’t supposed to happen in America, the Land of the Free. If they tell us we still have to register I am going to turn in my AMA Life Membership. The AMA will have been a total failure in this fiasco. Many thousands of us are still waiting for the AMA to officially state that we don’t have to register. WHERE ARE YOU, AMA? WE’RE WAITING!

    1. TG,

      Any new announcements in the Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems primarily relate to commercial and civil operations. This rule does solidify Section 336 and the Community-Based Organization model, which excludes recreational flight operating within 336 from this rule. At this time, you will still need to register with the FAA.

      1. Why do I still need to register??? Why can’t AMA stand up and say no??? I have read and re-read the FAA rules and find no direct mention of the need to register in the Hobby exemptions… If You can’t point to a direct page and paragraph in the exemption, the rule does not exist… This is not rocket science!!!

        1. There seems to be confusion on registration – the new rule does not preclude registration. The FAA still requires recreational modelers to register and does not believe this is violation of 336. You can read more about FAA’s interpretation of 336 at https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/model_aircraft_spec_rule.pdf. We are working on this issue and have a petition with the US Court of Appeals.

          1. The link you provided does not address my question/statement…
            The final published rule only addresses that we as model aircraft enthusiast are exempt, “not one direct statement that we must register”… If such a direct statement exists in the new published rules, please point to it and alleviate my ignorance…

            Like I said before, ” If You can’t point to a direct page and paragraph, the rule does not exist… This is not rocket science!!!

          2. W.E. Wallace,

            We are still working on the registration issue. For now, whether we like it or not, the answer above is still correct. The new rule does not preclude registration.

            Part 107 is a new rule, not the only rule.

            Yes, Part 107 exempts those who satisfy all of the criteria of 336 from the new rules, but it doesn’t exempt us from existing requirements. For example, we are not exempt from complying with 91-13 (careless and reckless operations) or registration.

            Part 107 does not nullify, replace, supersede, or revoke the registration requirement. The FAA remains steadfast that registration is still required even for hobbyists who satisfy all of the criteria of 336.

            Federal law requires that all aircraft (which includes certain UAS and radio/remote controlled aircraft per my link in the previous comment) must be registered with the FAA. I encourage you to read https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-12-16/pdf/2015-31750.pdf.

            • Section II outlines the registration requirement for hobbyists and clarifies the new rule will only affect non-hobbyist operations.
            • In the comments section (pages 41-42) the FAA recognizes AMA’s objections to registration but states, “The FAA disagrees with the comments asserting that the registration of model aircraft is prohibited by section 336 of Public Law 112–95. While section 336 bars the FAA from promulgating new rules or regulations that apply only to model aircraft, the prohibition against future rulemaking is not a complete bar on rulemaking and does not exempt model aircraft from complying with existing statutory and regulatory requirements. As previously addressed, Public Law 112–95 identifies model aircraft as aircraft and as such, the existing statutory aircraft registration requirements implemented by part 47 apply.”

            We encourage our members to comply with federal laws, which at this time includes registration.

          3. This statement by the FAA: “While section 336 bars the FAA from promulgating new rules or regulations that apply only to model aircraft…” is in error.

            Here is the ACTUAL statement from section 336: “…the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration
            may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model

            Notice the LAW say ANY, not any NEW rule or regulation.

  4. Yes, many of us received a notice of their ‘Final Rules’ from Air Martial Hermann Göring’s Office this morning. However I haven’t found where ‘Model Airplanes & Pilots’ were implicitly or explicitly “Exempted” from these latest Power-Grabbing Rules. I didn’t spot anything supporting this in the Summary; and I haven’t had time to scan their Gigantic 600+ page Document of Complete Rulings. Where is this “Exemption for Model Airplanes”? Otherwise it appears that everyone who wants to fly ANYthing will have to have a Pilots License, PLUS ‘Stay Current’. Yes, it boils down to nothing more than a ‘Gvmnt Money&Power Grab’.

  5. Very happy with this, but unless I missed it. Does this mean we still have to do that whole FAA registration process? can we ignore it? have my FAA, but will I need to re-register again after the 3 yrs?

    1. Yes, at this time you still need to comply with the FAA registration process for most outdoor models over .55 pounds.

        1. Michael,

          To prevent any confusion, I was addressing MpM’s question about registration which applies to models over .55 pounds or 250 grams. Your comment about about 336 is also correct.

    2. MpM – looks like registration is here to stay. As the following excerpt says:

      ” Industry and government officials describe commercial drones as the biggest game-changing technology in aviation since the advent of the jet engine. ”

      from the recent 21 June 2016 main-stream news article:

      ” White House clears small, commercial drones for takeoff ”


      We are in an evolutionary phase of what many have been doing for years. Change is inevitable.

      By-the-way – how to label your aircraft ( Unmanned Aircraft System ( UAS ) ) with your FAA number is described here:


  6. Link is broken to the FAA site to get the final rule. You need a “:” in the URL.

  7. Now that have registered with the FAA what do I do? All of that was for nothing but put a bulls eye on me. Do the people that payed get ther money back and there record of registration removed? It’s nice to see that the government is still running like a well oiled machine. I’m going back to my toys an let the groun ups run the world.

    1. Hi Christopher,

      Most of the news today is centered around commercial operations and does not appear to alter the recreational rules for hobbyists who fall under 336 (the Special Rule for Model Aircraft). The announcement streamlines the exemption process for commercial and civil operators. The Rules for Small UAS do solidify the Special Rule for Model Aircraft validating the Community-Based Organization model. If a pilot is not fully complying with Sec 336, then he or she must comply with the new Part 107.

  8. It will be interesting to read the new Part 107, so far it is not published. How close will the FAA follow 336, I wonder.

  9. Will awards or prizes given at any AMA sanctioned competition (trophy’s, plaques, hobby items, cash) be considered as compensation? If so, must the competitor hold an authorization under Part 107?

    1. Along those lines, do model airplane manufacturers fall under the rules since that is their commercial business? e.g. Can Horizon, Great Planes, etc. make a video with thier multi-rotor aircraft and post it to market their products without using FAA registered pilots and without contacting ATC about any flights? Do model aircraft manufacturers have to follow FAA design and certification standards?

      1. What about model aircraft manufactures from abroad ? What guidelines will or do they have to follow if any ? As you are quite well aware of by now; a lot of the stuff is coming in from abroad. I was VERY PLEASED with two aircraft manufactures from Vietnam – namely Phoenix Models ( got from from Tower Hobbies ) and another VQ RC Models ( got one from Hobby King ( also Hobby People have them too ) ). Quality for the LOW PRICE was outstanding. Would hate to see variety dwindle due to unnecessary hard-ships put on companies like these, foreign or domestic.

    2. Model aviation competitions and sports, including events with prizing, are still considered a recreational activity and are protected under 336.

      1. What happens to the FAA’s Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, published in June 2014, that does imply that sponsored pilots, winning prizes, etc. are NOT hobby operations? Also, what is the status of the legal action AMA took challenging that Interpretation??

        1. While the final rule codifies parts of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, it doesn’t necessarily nullify FAA’s interpretation you referenced. The Our petition in the US Court of Appeals is still ongoing, but is currently in abeyance.

          Sponsored pilots are still covered under 336 and are allowed to operate under AMA’s safety program.

          1. Please cite the government document that supports the statement that “Sponsored pilots are still covered under 336…” The only official document I’ve seen on this topic is the FAA’s interpretation of Section 336, where the spend considerable time explaining why compensation of any type violates the “flown strictly for hobby or recreational use” definition of “model aircraft” in section 336.

            1. In our talks with the FAA, sponsored pilots operating within AMA’s safety program at recreational events are not considered commercial operators. At this time, there is no official government document to cite other than 336 and I do not anticipate the sponsored pilot topic is a high enough priority to merit the FAA to draft and publish a legal brief. While we do not believe it is necessary, a sponsored pilot may feel it is in his or her best interest to comply with FAA’s final small UAS rule.

  10. Whatever the outcome, AMA gets a gold star on their paper for spearheading the effort. I too am confused if registration is mandated to fly R/C airplanes. The FAA people charged with writing these rules most likely don’t fly R/C airplanes and therefore, don’t have a working knowledge of the R/C airplane hobby vs drones and drone photography businesses. To us, the difference is huge. But to non-R/C airplane flyers, the difference is probably very subtle and difficult to differentiate. That’s where AMA comes in. In my opinion, they are saving the hobby. Thank you AMA.

    1. Yes I have to agree with you. The AMA has showed some REAL FORTITUDE ! The membership fee we all dish-out every year has been well worth every penny ! I have a feeling that without the AMA we would have all gotten steam-rolled to oblivion. It’s ESSENTIAL that AMA membership continues to grow. In numbers we have strength to protect what we have always loved to do – and that is FLY !

  11. Here is the really good news about the “Final Ruling” it gives a clear path for commercial small UAS uses. What does this mean to the hobbyist? Mainly the FAA will stop trying to stretch our rules to apply to all forms of remote piloted aircraft. This should have been the path the FAA could have taken back in 2012 or earlier. Thanks to whomever at the FAA who saw the light. Now hobbyist will have a ability to transition to commercial uses and paid performances.

  12. For all the nay- and doom-sayers…Thanks to AMA for getting the special rule in place for us. I have little doubt that, in the absence of this immense effort, we would have been placed under the aegis of part 107, being subject to FAA examination and required to keep a flight log to validate our hours of flight. This might still happen if the Senate FAA reauthorization bill is ever adopted by the house, but it looks like we may be safe during this election season.

    Again, thanks loads AMA. Keep up the good work. Our dues are well placed in your hands.

  13. The FAA has accomplished what they set out to do. They have driven away a lot of potential hobby fliers and they are making everyone register. I understand the need for changes and some regulations. But blanket regulations do nothing more than muck up the waters. As with most Government regulations, they can’t dictate clearly. Hence they leave as many questions as they have answered.

    1. On the contrary Richard. FAA registration is no big deal ( and costs pennies on the dollar ), labeling your aircraft with your FAA registration number isn’t a hassle ( full scale aircraft have them too ), and flying within the AMA safety guidelines still hold. Now for those who don’t have AMA and FAA registration, or only FAA registration, or neither then it’s a whole different issue. The days of flying naked ( no AMA and/or FAA ) are quickly drawing to a close. Think of it this way – with the proper affiliation ( AMA ) and/or registration ( FAA ) you are now flying within a more professional realm which should help to hone everyone’s safety and operational skills, and accountability.

      By-the-way; how to label your aircraft ( Unmanned Aircraft System ( UAS ) ) with your FAA number is described here:


      1. Registering IS A BIG DEAL! It sounds like AMA has given up on getting registration requirements removed. I don’t need my name on yet another government database.

        1. Bill, I’m with you, Registration Is A Big Deal, as well as placing FAA numbers on our models is. The AMA should have pounced on this requirement like a wild cat, and in hind sight it probably should have filed a dedicated law suit against the FAA to stop it. I’m afraid our AMA leadership is too timid to go on the attack like this, and as a result the FAA has gotten exactly what it wanted before Christmas. This form of government intrusion is not supposed to happen in America. The reason the FAA is getting away with it is that they met no real resistance at the beginning. The next leadership elections held by the AMA need to consider the “fighting capability and willingness” of the candidates to “fight the fight”. The present leadership doesn’t display the skill to do this. I wrote the AMA leadership yesterday with my statement: I will remain an AMA member until they announce the registration and number requirement are gone. I will gladly pat them on the back if they succeed in doing this. If they fail and the registration requirement stand I will turn in my Life Membership back to the AMA. I have no need for either the FAA nor the AMA for me to fly a model airplane. The AMA hasn’t helped me, and the FAA is incompetent. I don’t understand why more hobby fliers don’t publicly stand like I do. This whole thing is a government farce. By the way, I just completed a 40 year military/civilian pilot career that included combat flying and military flight test. I worked with the FAA in the early days of miniature unmanned aircraft systems and was a drone pilot as well as full scale test pilot. I started flying models in the 1950’s. I will never register with the government to fly a model airplane. This is America, dang it! That kind of government intrusion is against our Constitution and what this country stands for. Why don’t more people see that?! If it’s not right, fight against it! Show some courage.

  14. As an RC sailplane pilot, I would like to understand where we now stand regarding any altitude limits for our activities. We routinely fly above 400 ft in order to catch thermal lift–in fact the routine launch height for ALES and FAI F5J contests is 200 m (656 ft). Reading through all of the rules and laws has been a very confusing experience. I hope that our activity has not been left to hang.

    1. Hi Richard,

      AMA members operating within our safety program including See and Avoid may continue to fly over 400′. The FAA rule clarifies that many of the guidelines do not apply to those operating within 336.

      The new rule primarily applies to commercial operators, civil operators, and pilots who do not “satisfy all of the criteria specified in section 336.” For those model aircraft pilots, they must remain below 400′ unless they possess a special waiver from the FAA.

    2. Free flight aircraft also routinely fly over 400 ft. The AMA is doing everything they can to unite us. But, I see FPV as a grey area. Happy flying!

  15. Chad,

    The last time I read the bills that are in the House and the one in the Senate, they both state they repeal sec 336 of public law 112-95. So, this appears to be a “place holder” until the problem with the current bills get resolved and passed into law. So, the fate of hobby model aircraft and the requirements are still to be determined.

    We should not forget everyone was stating 336 as a reason the FAA did not have the authority to make us register or have any control over model aircraft. Sec 336 is the only law on record, until it gets changed.

    1. Hi Ray,

      The Special Rule is not listed under Section 336 in either bill, which may cause confusion, but it does remain in both the proposed House and Senate bill.

      1. Chad, help me understand. This is what I copied from each bill. I see 336 repealed in both.

        H.R.636 – Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016

        “44808. Special rules for model aircraft.”.
        (2) SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT.—Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101note) and the item relating to that section in the table of contents under section 1(b) of that Act (126 Stat. 13) are repealed.

        S.2658 – Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016

        “44808. Special rules for model aircraft.”.
        (2) SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT.—Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101note) and the item relating to that section in the table of contents under section 1(b) of that Act (126 Stat. 13) are repealed.

        1. Hi Ray,

          Good question. These sections do not necessarily mean the Special Rule was repealed entirely. Instead this means the proposed House and Senate bills’ version of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft will replace the current Section 336. For example, House bill § 45507 Special Rules for Model Aircraft is nearly identical to the the current Sect 336, but if it becomes law it will nullify and replace 336.

    1. Hi Mike,

      The new rule primarily applies to commercial, civil, and pilots who do not “satisfy all of the criteria specified in section 336.” For those operators, they can only fly at night with a waiver obtained from the FAA.

      AMA members who are abiding by our safety program may continue to fly at night.

      1. I heard that companies like Amazon, Walmart, etc are the ones that are displeased with the current ruling. These companies and the like were expecting an easy go-ahead with their plans for drone package deliveries but it didn’t quite happen as they had anticipated ( so far ). So for those outside of that realm, it was more of a win-win situation thus far ( let’s hope it stays that way ).

        – 21 June 2016 –

        ” New U.S. rules on small low-altitude commercial drones ”


        1. The ‘ line of sight ‘ ruling really seemed to put a dampener on Amazon, Walmart, and the like.

  16. Thank you to the AMA for helping to protect us from the FAA overstepping and the hard work to keep Sec 336 in force.

  17. The AMA, representing the model aviation community and aviation community at large, has shown that we as aviators are a breed apart from the rest.

  18. Is there a definition for Community Based Organizations? Is there an application process to be identified as a CBO? Is there a listing of approved CBO’s?

    1. I have not seen an actual list, but the only organization that I am aware of that would fit the description in Sec 336 is the AMA.

      Feel free to name any others as I may not have heard of them.

    2. Hi Rcman,
      The Congress Conference Committee’s report defined community-based organizations as follows- The term “community-based organization” is intended to mean a membership based association that represents the aeromodeling community within the United States; provides its members a comprehensive set of safety guidelines that underscores safe aeromodeling operations within the National Airspace System and the protection and safety of the general public on the ground; develops and maintains mutually supportive programming with educational institutions, government entities and other aviation associations; and acts as a liaison with government agencies as an advocate for its members. The AMA does fall under the guidelines of a CBO, but an “approved” CBO list does has not been created to date.

      1. While no FAA CBO list has been created, the FAA does refer to the AMA as a Community-Based Organization including in the most recent Part 107 rule with the line,

        “Today, the largest nationwide community-based organization that operates model aircraft is the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).”

      2. “The term “community-based organization” is INTENDED”

        The key word here is “INTENDED”

        It doesn’t matter what is INTENDED

        What does matter is what is on paper and signed into LAW. Everything else is meaningless……..

        1. Anonymous,
          The 2012 Modernization and Reform Act was signed into law, and what Congress meant by community-based organization was defined by the Congressional Conference Committee as stated above. Here is a direct quote from the Conference Committee report which accompanied the 2012 Modernization and Reform Act:

          “Section 336(a)(2) requires model aircraft to be operated within a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization. Congress explained that it intended “nationwide community-based organization” to mean, in part, a “membership based association that represents the aeromodeling community within the Unites States; [and] provides its members a comprehensive set of safety guidelines that underscores safe aeromodeling operations within the National Airspace System and the protection and safety of the general public on the ground. . . .”U.S. House, FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Conference Report (to Accompany H.R. 658), 112 H. Rpt. 381 (Feb. 1, 2012) (discussion of special rule for model aircraft).”

          The FAA mentions this in their “Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft” which can be read at the link below (middle of page 7 in printable version).

  19. This crap gives me a headache! A hobby has now turned into an over regulated crap storm. One person argues this than another that… makes it just not worth it. I haven’t flown anything in a long while, just don’t want FAA looking over my shoulder.

    1. Get use to it Aaron. Didn’t you ever read the book by Aldous Huxley – ” Brave New World ” ( pub. 1932 ) and/or the one by George Orwell – ” 1981 ” ( pub. 1949 ) and/or even the one by Ayn Rand – ” Atlas Shrugged ” ( pub. 1957 ) ? All of these authors were VERY MUCH AHEAD of their times in predicting what was to come because of the PSYCHOPATHIC behavior of a few. So here we are – PSYCHOPATHS who actually belong in mental institutions and/or under the care of psychiatrists watching over our shoulder(s) ! INSANE isn’t it !

        1. SEE FURTHER BELOW on this blog-site. I had already posted a CORRECTION to my mistyping BEFORE you mentioned it. Apparently the CORRECTION got published further below, on this blog-site, instead of directly below my original published writing even though I had placed the CORRECTION directly below it.

          1. CORRECTION was made by me and published ( see FURTHER BELOW on this blog-site ) on: June 23, 2016 at 17:07 .

    2. If you don’t want to log-off the internet and go fly, at least fly a simulator…

  20. The FAA UAS website, the Know Before You Fly website, and the FAA B4UFLY app all seem to say that if you fly even as a hobbyist and not commercially you must stay under 400 feet and if within 5 miles the airport you must notify it first. The AMA safety code seems to require notification of the airport only if you fly above 400 feet within 3 miles of the airport. The just published FAA Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107) says explicitly that Part 107 does not apply to model aircraft that satisfy all of the criteria specified in section 336 of Public Law 112-95. So, if I comply with the AMA Safety Code can I ignore the 5 mile radius and fly without notification above 400 feet as long as I am outside the 3 mile radius? For that matter, if I stay under 400 feet can I then fly inside the 3 mile radius without notifying the airport first? Finally does the weight of the plane matter? That is if the plane is under 0.55 pounds(250 grams)and thus exempt from FAA UAS registration, is it also exempt from the FAA UAS regulations? Do kids flying their Air Hogs or similar registration exempt micro planes in the backyard no more than 20 feet off the ground really have to call the airport (or have Dad call)every time they go out to play?

    1. Hi Harry,

      The AMA Safety Code requires that all models remain within visual line of sight of the pilot/observer. Typically this requirement alone assures most model aircraft operate below 400’. As you mentioned, our safety program also mandates no flight over 400’ when within three miles of an airport without first coordinating with the airport. With that being said, AMA members are allowed to operate their model aircraft above 400’ provided the pilot is flying safely within in line of sight, does not interfere with manned aircraft and is compliant with AMA’s safety program.

      Members are still required to register with the FAA and notify airports within five miles of their operation regardless of weight. If a model is less than .55 pounds, which would include most AirHogs, they would not require registration, but the AirHog is not exempt from notifying an airport. If the child is playing in his or her back yard, the parent can contact the airport once to notify the airport of their permanent flying location.

      1. Chad- You wrote this:

        “The AMA Safety Code requires that all models remain within visual line of sight of the pilot/observer. Typically this requirement alone assures most model aircraft operate below 400’. ”

        I suggest that you take some time while the NATS are on to actually go watch some model airplanes being flown. I especially encourage you to watch the pattern, IMAC, and soaring NATS. Gliders launch to well above 400 feet and can easily be seen at 3 times that altitude. Pattern, especially FAI, flies well above 400 feet for most of their sequence. IMAC could not happen with a 400 foot cap. Jets as well regularly fly well above 400 feet and yet are very easily seen.

        The concept that the VLOS requirement sets a sort of natural altitude cap because beyond 400 feet a plane would be hard to see just does not reflect reality. Another example. One site I fly at has an 800 foot runway. I can tell you that even the smallest foamy is easily seen crossing the runway threshold 400 feet away from our mid-field pilot’s stations.
        The bottom line is that 400 feet agl is not that high and most RC planes regularly fly above it and yet are easily seen. Do some testing with a .40-sized trainer with altitude telemetry and I think you will see my point.

        1. Bill,

          Sorry for any confusion, to clarify my previous statement – models can fly over 400′ if they stay within VLOS and operate within our safety programs. I have flown gliders and agree, those models can be viewed over 400′. My aircraft with wingspans of about 5′ can maintain VLOS at 400′, but most other smaller models should not be flown near 400′.

          1. The 400 ft “recommendation” from the early FAA AC’s was around before most of you were born. It had nothing to do with being able to see your model. Where this “ability to see the model” thing you guys are talking about is something new to me. Full scale aircraft flying in VFR conditions can fly as low as 500 ft AGL over sparsely populated areas. Keeping models below 400 ft in theory keeps full scale and model airplanes from colliding. However, for most of our RC flying history since the 1950’s there has been no way to judge 400 ft, so the AC has in practice been useless. Fliers that data link with their models today might be able to read their models altitude, but don’t think for a moment that the displayed altitude is accurate. I tested miniature UAV’s for military uses for a major military aircraft manufacturer, and the data capability in these vehicles is far beyond the reach of civilian hobbyists.In actual testing on military ranges in clear weather most of us with 20/20 vision started having vision trouble with aircraft orientation at about 1,000 ft AGL. This was with .60 size models with about 6 ft wingspans. Seeing an average size model at 400 ft AGL is a piece of cake. The original 400 ft rule had nothing to do with seeing the model, and it was only for many years an FAA recommendation published in an AC. Only recently has the FAA tried to make it a hard limit, but as in the past, determining 400 ft is a judgement call that any two people may observe differently, and in most cases there is no way for the FAA to enforce it. It’s typical FAA lunacy. Most FAA personnel can’t tell you where the original 400 ft rule came from either, because they’re too young to know.

            VFR full scale aircraft are legal to fly with a 75 ft tolerance in their altimeters. It’s possible for a full scale pilot reading 500 ft AGL above your RC field to actually be 425 ft above your field when he zips past your model that is at an estimated 400 ft. In this case everyone is “legal”. If there was a collision the model pilot is liable, because in all cases the model has to give way to full scale. This has happened a few times, and in FAA court the modeler always loses.

      2. If you are flying a model over your own property that weighs less than .55 pounds and stay below surrounding rooftop or treetop levels, calling an FAA tower or airport operator would not be necessary and would be probably considered a nuisance call.
        Yes, the Administrator has called upon Agency employees to act as sUAS Safety Ambassadors!

        1. AMA426007 is correct in that most airports do not know how to address notification or find it a nuisance. We have been advocating with the FAA and Congress that a more practical notification process should be in place.

          At this time though, there are no exemptions listed in the law or any FAA advisories for the hobbyist airport notification process. A strict interpretation of the law requires all model aircraft operators (regardless of model weight or altitude) to notify the airport. If you plan to conduct flight in your backyard or any other permanent flying location, a one-time letter notification is probably sufficient.

      3. This statement “The AMA Safety Code requires that all models remain within visual line of sight of the pilot/observer. Typically this requirement alone assures most model aircraft operate below 400’.” is completely false as known by anyone who flies models! Most runways at flying sites are well over 400′ in length and any modeler who has difficulty seeing their model as it lifts off at the end of that runway and climbs out maybe should get new glasses or consider flying close in small planes! Any .40 size plane is EASILY visible well over 400′ away (including up).

    2. Bill,

      Section PL112-95 section 336, which is law, defines the five tests, all of which an sUAS must meet to be considered a “model aircraft.” The 5th of these tests says:

      “(5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located
      at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport)).”

      To date, I’m not aware of any document that exempts model aircraft, non-commercial sUAS, “drones,” etc. 5th test. While AMA may require something within 3 miles, if you’re within 5 miles the law requires notification. If there’s an exemption out there, someone should cite it for all of us, as it’s literally rewriting law.

      1. Frank, you are correct in that part 336 #(5) states when flown within 5 miles of and airport, the operator of the aircraft provide the airport operator and air traffic control tower with prior notice of flight. However, the second (2) rule in sec. 336 states the aircraft must be operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization. The AMA safety code, under #2 line (C) states: Not flying higher than approximately 400 feet above ground level within three (3) miles of and airport without notifying the airport operator. So, a notification to the airport is required when flying within five miles of an airport, and the airport must also be notified that you be flying above 400′ within three (3) miles of that airport.

        1. Yes, it’s somewhat of a layers issue. Both requirements are valid.

          What is not getting a lot of press is the FAA has clearly stated that airports / towers etc. have the authority to deny these flights. In the FAA’s “Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft” (4910-13), starting at the bottom of page 13 is this passage:

          “If the model aircraft operator provides notice of forthcoming operations which are then not authorized by air traffic or objected to by the airport operator, the FAA expects the model aircraft operator will not conduct the proposed flights. The FAA would consider flying model aircraft over the objections of FAA air traffic or airport operators to be endangering the safety of the NAS.”

          And, in paragraph (b) of section 336: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system.”

          1. Hi Frank,

            As you know, a modeler must notify an airport within five miles of his or her operations and always stay clear of manned aircraft. Modeling activities can be conducted in a safe and responsible manner within five miles of an airport and a modeler’s mere presence is not enough grounds for the airport to merit an objection. If there are legitimate objections by the airport, especially if modeling operations interfere with manned flight, then a modeler should not conduct flights near the airport. Clearly interfering with manned flight would endanger the NAS.

            Should an airport overreach their authority and erroneously deny modeling activities within five miles airport, I would encourage the member to call the AMA so we can help resolve the conflict.

          2. The requirement for those operating model aircraft to notify airport operators should be revised. Section 336 as written and incorporated in part 101 grants airport operator’s authority they do not normally possess. The FAA spoke to this on two occasions in the comments associated with the new rules release https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/RIN_2120-AJ60_Clean_Signed.pdf

            On page 340 in response to several commenters suggestions airport operators be given prior notice or authority to deny operations the FAA notes:
            “An airport operator does not have responsibility for air traffic or activities outside airport property. The FAA has been tasked with integrating UAS operations into the NAS, and notes that manned aircraft do not have a corresponding requirement to notify airport management. The ATC facility is the proper focal point for approval and notification for small UAS operations in controlled airspace under this rule.

            Again on page 354 the FAA in response to similar suggestions states:
            “Airport operators have the proprietary right to operate their airport in a safe and efficient manner. Under 49 U.S.C. 40103, the FAA has the sole authority to regulate airspace, including airspace overlying an airport. While airport operators have the ability to manage operations on the surface of the airport, airport operators may not regulate the use of airspace above and near the airport. In an effort to safely integrate small unmanned aircraft and manned aircraft at an airport, airport operators may recommend certain areas where small UAS operate, in order to avoid conflicts with manned aircraft. The FAA does not consider the notification of airport operators to significantly enhance the safety of integration with existing operations. The requirement for notification creates a burden on the airport operator with little benefit to users of the airport, because the airport operator would have no requirement to disseminate knowledge of small UAS operations to other
            airport users.”

            As a result part 107 operators have not been required to notify or seek permission from airport operators. For the same reasons neither should part 101 users be compelled to interface with two disparate entities in order to comply with the rule. AMA should lobby congress for this more rational approach to our operations.

  21. How about FPV hobbyists? FPV pilots (fixed wing and multirotor) participating in local/regional/national/international events receiving sponsorship and monetary compensation? FPV is exploding into a multi-million dollar sport/industry. Examples include the recent Dubai event, DRL, and upcoming Drone National’s in NYC to be aired on ESPN. At what point does an FPV enthusiast turn into a professional FPV pilot (Income tax law)? What are the legislative and legal implications?

    AMA. What is your analysis and position on this and are you representing the FPV community in your lobbying efforts?

    Thanks for UR great work…

    1. Lloyd,

      If you are a member operating within our safety program, you are protected by Sect 336. This exemption is noted in the new rule as well. AMA’s FPV safety program is outlined here https://www.modelaircraft.org/files/550.pdf. One key requirement is that you have a spotter assist you and keep your model in visual line of sight at all times.

  22. Q. Do I still have to register with the FAA?
    A: Yes. While the FAA reaffirms Section 336, the new rule does not necessarily nullify the registration requirement.

    This says it all. We were sold down the river. This is exactly where we were at the first of the year. I don’t understand all the warm and fuzzy comments by the AMA. Your privacy is gone.

    1. Perhaps a BREXIT type of thing is what’s eventually needed in America as well ! We shall see !

  23. I have been sifting through this new rule and am still confused about registration for hobbyists? I keep seeing everyone mention 250grams as still being the rule, but if they are holding true to section 336, it says registration is required for models over 55 pounds? it is very difficult to determine whether they are referring to commercial/civil use only for this, or everyone in general? since section 336 refers to hobbyists, and it states that models under 55 pounds are the rule, and I am an AMA member, then why do I need to register if all of my models are under 55 pounds and are solely for recreational purposes? have I misunderstood this ruling?

  24. Chad, I could not respond to your answer above, but wanted to express my thanks for answering the question. I would feel better if FAA would put that in writing, even in something like an interpretation or policy memo, as you and I both know “If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist.”

    1. I have posted this thought several times before. A simple letter with both the AMA and FAA logos at the top and signed by both the AMA and the FAA. Letter must recognize the AMA as a CBO and approve both the AMA safety code and AMA Doc#540-D. This would put everyone in a better legal and a more understandable position.

      As said, if it is not documented, it did not happen.

      It will be interesting see what the FAA writes as regulations as they interpolate sec 336 for Part 107.

  25. Chad, how convenient to be able to post here without a Reply button.

    On June 29, 2016 at 08:51 Chad Budreau said:

    “a modeler’s mere presence is not enough grounds for the airport to merit an objection.” and just who determines this.

    “If there are legitimate objections by the airport” Who defines “legitimate”?

    “Should an airport overreach their authority and erroneously deny modeling activities within five miles airport, I would encourage the member to call the AMA so we can help resolve the conflict.”

    You’ve got to be kidding me. You want us to rely on the AMA to “resolve” a conflict with the Federal Government that could lead to tens of thousands of dollars in fines and a possible jail sentence. Rrrrrrrrrrright!

    Can we quote you when they take us to court?

    1. Hi CRTSR,

      You can find the reply button at the top of the comment thread.

      Each year we help resolve dozens of conflicts between flying sites and communities or airports. You do not have to take advantage of this member service, but I would encourage members to contact us anytime a flying site needs assistance. Our flying site assistance coordinator can be reached at 765-287-1256 x230.

  26. So here is my question I registered myself with the faa
    To fly as a hobbyist nothing commercial what else do I have to do? Do I have to be a member of ama to comply with this statement

    the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;

    1. Hi Roger,

      After August you have a choice – you must either comply with FAA’s rules and certification process listed in Part 107 or choose to operate within the safety program of a CBO. Model pilots must be held accountable and receive education from either the FAA or CBO.

      To operate within AMA’s safety program, you must join the AMA, affirm your willingness to comply with the AMA Safety Code and related safety guidelines. Operating within our safety program also includes receiving insurance and continuing educating through outlets such as emails and publications including Model Aviation.

      1. I though the AMA said we wouldn’t be required to be a member in order to comply with the “Rules and Regulations” Isn’t that illegal. I didn’t see any rule saying one must be a member of a CBO. It only says if one is following a CBO guideline of safety (Literature perhaps?)

        1. Hi Anonymous,

          The FAA sUAS Final Rule states under section Number III. Section C. Part 4. (III.C.4.) that: The NPRM proposed that part 107 would not apply to model aircraft that satisfy all of the criteria specified in section 336 of Public Law 112-95. Included in 336 is the bullet point that “The aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization”

          As you pointed out, the first half of that statement indicates you must comply or operate in accordance with a CBO’s safety program. But to be exempt from 107 and “satisfy all of the criteria” in 336 you need to also fulfill the second half of the statement requiring you to also operate “within the programming” of a CBO. To operate within AMA’s programming we need to be able to continually communicate, educate, and hold members accountable.

          The FAA is not requiring all hobbyists join a CBO – hobbyists can choose the alternative path and comply with Part 107.

  27. I have not registered with the FAA, and if nothing changes, I will not register as long as I am a member of the AMA. I am restricting my flying to “aircraft” that weigh under 250 grams flying weight. I still feel very let down by our particular “CBO”. If the AMA doesn’t do something about the registration “rule” to my satisfaction (get it rescinded, increase the weight limit to 2kg at the very least), then I will let my membership expire at the end of 2017. At that time, I may register under my own auspices, and self-insure unless another CBO (independent of AMA) materializes in the interim.

    I am very disheartened to learn that the AMA “absorbed” MultiGP, as they have so many other CBOs. I did discover that this was done shortly before the FAA December surprise.

    I only flew fixed wing RC until this registration debacle. I have now begun exploring the world of FPV racing. It is quite easy to build a competitive racer under 250 grams, and it is at least as much fun as LOS fixed wing. (And when you fly from the cockpit, size doesn’t matter…and small quads can handle plenty of wind.) So, I am currently not a LOSer. And if AMA doesn’t resolve this, I will no longer be an AMA LOSer. You’ve got 18 months AMA…

    1. J Harding,
      A non-hobbyist is anyone flying with an intent other than recreation/fun. On page 9 of the FAA sUAS Final Rule there are examples of “non-hobby” actions (these are only examples and are not limited to the 9 examples given in the Final Rule). Some FAA non-hobby examples that would fall under Part 107 and not section 336 (Special Rule for Model Aircraft) are: Crop inspection, research and development, roof inspection, aerial photography, wildlife evaluation, aiding certain rescue operations, etc.).

  28. I’m going to be doing what I been saying all along. Im going to fly with or without the FAA or AMA. I will say it again for all the unbelievers out there who still fear the FAA. Section 336 has, does and continues to say that ALL sUAS that are flown for COMMERCIAL PURPOSES and or OUT OF THE LINE OF SITE, MUST REGISTER WITH THE FAA. All you folks that signed and sold your soul to the FAA done so totally VOLUNTARILY and i’m sure the FAA appreciates you, your signatures and of course your money by complying with RULES and REGULATIONS that you were NEVER obligated to comply with. I’m just flying FREE as a bird because the LAW, Section 336 says i’m EXEMPT from ANY RULES AND REGULATIONS as long as i’m flying my model aircraft for hobby and/or recreational purposes, and its being flown in the line of sight and flown in a safe manner. Where ALOT of folks have been confused and are staying confused is with the term ALL sUAS, that includes airplanes, helicopters, gliders, quads and Ugh, DRONES (Very Nasty Word there, Sorry for the cuss word) But if you read very CAREFULLY and you don’t suffer too much from comprehension problems, it says ALL sUAS, which does include model airplanes, model helicopters, model sailplanes, and UGH model DRONES (D*mn, I cringe over that dirty word! Sorry again) If, now listen very carefully, IF ITS FLOWN COMMERCIALLY and/or OUT OF THE LINE OF SIGHT. If they come after and fine you and throw you in jail for abiding by the LAW, a law passed by CONGRESS that is a legislative branch of this here USA, a law that is known as Section 336, then so be it. Let them prosecute you and after they are done trying to make you a criminal for abiding by the LAW, SUE the FEATHERS out of them! The LAW is already on your side! Wake Up People! Quit sleeping already. Its time to wake up and soar like an eagle. just make sure if you drop anything from your eagle that it isn’t eagles sh*t!
    Now lets go out and fly, shall we?

    1. Anonymous,
      Part 336 (The Special Rule for Model Aircraft) is a section found in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, this section focuses on the guidelines that are to be followed for recreational flying. Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, along with Part 107 FAA sUAS Final rule (2016) both focus on commercial/civil service operations. Registration is a rule that is separate of section 333, 336, and Part 107, but it is still an FAA rule for recreational flying. We are addressing this issue including advocating to allow members to exclusively use their AMA numbers. We believe an AMA membership already meets the intent of registration. At this time though, pilots are still advised to register.

      1. I don’t see anywhere that it says I have to be a MEMBER of a CBO (Whatever the official definition of that is) to exercise that exemption. It does say however that if one FOLLOWS THE SAFETY GUIDELINES of a CBO and agrees to fly safely, one can do so as long as it’s for hobby and/or recreational purposes and being flown in the line of sight. I’m disappointed by the AMA reassuring us through all of this that it was not their desire to obligate one to be a member in order to be exempt, but also, it was also wrong and illegal to do so. But here we are, now the AMA is saying that one MUST be a member in order to be exempt and to exercise their RIGHTS under the LAW that specifically states, THERE SHALL BE NO RULES, REGULATIONS PROMULGATED regarding hobby/recreational model aircraft. This leaves a bad taste in my mouth and a sickening feeling in my heart to say the least gentlemen. This is corrupt. Instead of driving people towards membership, your instead driving them away from it because some people are not stupid enough to fall for the BS that’s coming from both sides of the AMA’s mouth. I’d really like to support the AMA, really I would. But why pay and support something that is only serving themselves and not only it’s members, but non members as well. If you really cared about model aviation as a whole, you wouldn’t be holding everyone over a barrel and raping their wallets and their lawful right to exercise their right under the law. Really disappointing to say the least………

        1. Anonymous,
          The FAA is not requiring all hobbyists join a CBO – hobbyists can choose the alternative path and comply with Part 107.

          1. Freedom to choose, right? I can choose not to JOIN a CBO but then im FORCED to comply with Part 107. Im not about to shell out a lot of money and time just to fly a MODEL AIRCRAFT as DEFINED IN SECTION 336. I shouldn’t be FORCED to join a CBO “like” AMA either to exercise my rights, under the LAW of Section 336 to fly my MODEL AIRCRAFT as DEFINED as the following three criteria:

            1) Operates in the ATMOSPHERE
            2) Safely fly in the Line Of Sight
            3) Fly my MODEL AIRCRAFT for HOBBY and/or RECREATIONAL purpose ONLY.

            I will make the AMA a deal. If the AMA will make it possible for ANYONE that wants to fly a MODEL AIRCRAFT to fly WITHOUT a MEMBERSHIP via an online or download “Safe Flying Agreement”, I would then consider joining the AMA. It would then prove to me and others that the AMA is really in it for the MODEL FLYER and the safe operation of their aircraft. The AMA’s purpose and intent,to my understanding, was to promote safe flying from its very beginning and to reduce or eliminate liabilities by offering insurance, which when it comes right down to it, is basically AMA’s selling point. Am I correct? I personally would be a lot more willing to support AMA and become a member if I wasn’t FORCED into becoming a member. AMA should be ALL about SAFETY whether one is a member or not. I just feel one shouldn’t be FORCED to be a member just to fly a MODEL AIRCRAFT out of my back yard or ANYWHERE else.

            All the AMA has to do is promote safety with the manufacturers. The manufacturers could include the Safe Flying GUIDELINES in each product they sell. The purchaser could then go online to AMA’s website, agree to fly safe, print out their agreement to fly safe, and then while there, be prompted if they would be interested in purchasing insurance and/or supporting the AMA.

            This would be a lot better way of as opposed to FORCING people to be a MEMBER.

            In turn, as far as the FAA is concerned, they could just REQUIRE a person who wants to fly MODEL AIRCRAFT to agree to fly safely by signing a Safe Flying Agreement with a CBO “like” the AMA.

            If a person is flying without a Safe Flying Agreement, THEN, and only then, should the person be fined and held liable for any and all damages caused because of their negligence.

            This being FORCED by “choice’ just really leaves a bad impression in a MODELERS mind.

            I think the AMA and the FAA would go ALOT farther with people if they could accomplish this. Its a win/win for EVERYONE involved without FORCING anyone to do something they are very reluctant to do. I know peoples faith would be restored in the AMA, myself included.

            By NOT doing something like this I believe the AMA is going to suffer greatly. Not good!

            This is a HOBBY, it should be fun. That’s why people have hobbies to begin with. To take their minds off of the worlds problems. Not bring the worlds problems into their hobbies.

            Now, in the next 14-18 months…….Go do the RIGHT thing, will you?

            1. Anonymous,
              The AMA does offer free membership to youth, but free membership to everyone is not a sustainable business practice. Congress defined the role as a CBO to “provide its members a comprehensive set of safety guidelines that underscores safe aeromodeling operations within the National Airspace System and the protection and safety of the general public on the ground; develops and maintains mutually supportive programming with educational institutions, government entities and other aviation associations; and acts as a liaison with government agencies as an advocate for its members.” The roles mentioned in the definition provided by Congress, along with insurance, magazines, etc. all have a cost associated with them.

              The AMA does work with manufacturers and retailers to promote education and safe flying. AMA cofounded the Know Before You Fly campaign, which is promoted through many large retailers such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and many more. These retailers are placing our educational information on shelves and at the point of sale. We have worked with dozens of these types of companies, many who are still in planning stages or on an alpha release. Unfortunately many of these actions go unnoticed. While we may not win every battle, we have far more victories in protecting the hobby for an organization that is 190,000 strong. I hope this sheds some light on a few of our efforts.
              Please check out our Know Before You Fly supporters page at:

  29. just speours looking through these comments and reading the FAA and Public Laws. There is STILL direct conflict in the FAA’s interpretation as well as the AMA.

    Two statements from the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Frequently Asked Questions/Help https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs/#ffr

    Under Flying for Fun, Section 2, Option #1. Fly in accordance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Public Law 112-95 Section 336). Under this rule, operators must:

    g. Register the aircraft (UAS over 0.55 lbs. and less than 55 lbs. can be registered online at registermyuas.faa.gov; UAS 55 lbs. or greater must be registered through the FAA’s paper-based process)

    Then, under the same section, 3. Does the new Small UAS Rule (part 107) apply to recreational UAS operations?
    Part 107 does not apply to UAS flown strictly for fun (hobby or recreational purposes) as long as these unmanned aircraft are flown in accordance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336 of P.L. 112-95).


    1. Paul,
      Part 107 can apply to recreational UAS operators who do not meet ALL the criteria in section 336 of P.L. 112-95. Registration is still an FAA requirement.

      1. Agreed, but Part 107 does not apply if you meet all the requirements of section 336, so registration of anything is not required. This is in direct conflict with other FAQs (which are not law).

  30. The FAA FAQs still require registration of the UAS if used in a recreation environment even if following section 336 completely. We will have to see if they delete these “requirements” after Aug 29.

    1. Paul,
      The FAA requires recreational modelers to register, and does not believe this is a violation of 336. I would not expect the the FAA to change their stance on registration at the effective date of Part 107. You can read more about FAA’s interpretation of 336 at https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/model_aircraft_spec_rule.pdf.

      We are working on the registration issue with the FAA, and have a petition with the US Court of Appeals challenging the FAA’s Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft .

      1. This really tics me off. We go to congress to plead our case. They enact a law to protect us. But the law is written with some legal vagueness that allows the bureaucrats to act is a way that defies the spirit of the law. So are we able to go back to congress and ask them to correct their mistake, NOOOOOOO, we have to go to court and spend our dues on legal fees to, maybe, correct their mistake. There’s something wrong here.

        Rant Over!

  31. So with the recent articles on VLOS and Sec 336, how is the AMA responding to this? According to statements made by your team, we can fly FPV with a spotter.

    But according to the current interpretation of Sec 336 by the FAA, which is I believe part of the regulation soon, the only way to legally fly VLOS (a requirement of Sec 336) is to be able to see your vehicle unaided (except glasses), which precludes the use of goggles. (Oddly enough, how are monitors handled, as I am a monitor pilot. Based off the interpretation that is a gray area as I could still claim VLOS).

    But either way, we are supposed to follow ALL 336 rules. AMA programming says we are good to fly FPV with a spotter, but FAA interpretation does not. This is very confusing and conflicting obviously. It now claims that if you are a hobbyist and fly FPV (with goggles, not screens), that we are technically part 107 operators.

    Also, all the recent issues with now the requirements for FPV racers to need part 107 is of course confusing the entire community as well.

    I am curious how the AMA is addressing this and if there are any time frames on getting answers for this.


    1. Our members can fly FPV under document 550. The FAA has even coordinated with us to help shepherd FPV racing events across the country. We should have clarification from the FAA soon about the information provided to the Forbes author. We have been in communication with the FAA including a face-to-face meeting with FAA’s UAS Senior Advisor. More information will be available as soon as we receive it.

Comments are closed.