2016 Congress Update

As we approach the July 15th deadline for FAA reauthorization, we wanted to provide a brief update on what’s happening in Congress. Right now, it looks like the House and Senate have agreed to an FAA extension with several policy provisions added.

Though it is unknown what these policy provisions will specifically include or how long the extension will last, we are monitoring the situation very closely as Congress will likely vote on the final bill next week.

We will share more updates as soon as they become available. Thank you for your continued support of AMA.



  1. I have seen several reports from a variety of drone related sources that the extension is likely to contain much, if not all, of the Senate’s version of the drone wording. This would be a very bad development for us.

  2. The exponential increase of quadcopters on the market has ruined the radio control hobby. For decades, RC has been a gentleman’s sport as evidenced by the exemplary safety record and the spirit of cooperation. Drones have changed all that. We are now facing unprecedented government intrusion into our hobby and our privacy is at risk. The FAA is determined to have all our names in a publicly searchable database. I have flown pattern for years and am now seriously considering downsizing my planes to a maximum of 8.8 ounces to skirt the registration requirement. I will miss my large .60 size planes but I will chalk it up to one more pleasure taken away by our federal government. The writing is on the wall folks. If you fly a model that weighs more than 250 grams, you WILL have to register with the FAA and the AMA will be powerless to stop it.

    1. FAA registration has already taken place..and the AMA was powerless to stop it. So that’s a done deal. Of course many many people did not register..and the FAA is powerless to police it.

  3. I don’t care. Let them come and get me, arrest me, throw me in jail and put my family on welfare. I have not done anything wrong and I do not plan on doing anything wrong… I just got through spending 2000 on a model aircraft and I intend on using it regardless of what they say. Now, if they want to repay me the thousands I’ve spent so far, then may be I will hear them out. But until then, they can shove it up their regulated a$$.

    1. $2000 on model aircraft? Shame on you Ron you could of spent that money and actually put it towards learning how to fly a real plane. I just don’t get you people with thousands of dollars of toys you play with and pretend to be “pilots” what a wast of time.

      1. I don’t understand why you feel the need to come here and troll? What difference does it make to your life if we want to spend out money on “toy” airplanes. We do it because it is fun, it is a hobby. Up to this point, we haven’t had much government regulation and haven’t had a problem deconflicting airspace, there HASN’t been blood in the airspace, and as of yet, there has been ZERO confirmed drone/fullsize plane collisions. The last “confirmed” drone strike (which wasn’t even in the US) ended up being a balloon.

        Without ANY formal pilot training, I was able to ace the pilot and navigator portions of the AFOQT (Air Force Officer Qualification Test,) just by the experience of flying RC. I did better than all of my friends who held private pilot licenses. I guess those “toys” are good for something.

        It’s also telling that many fullsize pilots who also fly RC will tell you that landing a RC plane is much more difficult than a fullsize plane.

        When was the last time you hovered your Cessna 152 with the tail 3 inches from the ground? Oh, that’s right, never gonna happen, the plane is NOT capable of going ballistic, yet many piston and electric propeller RC models can easily do this.

        I also race RC cars, yet I have a license, have raced full size vehicles. Why, because I can. One car I have nears 50 MPH and is 1/18 scale (brushless Xray M-18), so scale speed is 900 MPH. When was the last time a full sized car could match that? My bet is that it reaches 50 MPH actual before all but Top Fuel dragsters.

  4. Thanks so much for censoring my comment..Let me try this again.. I don’t care. Let them come and get me, arrest me, throw me in jail and put my family on welfare. I have not done anything wrong and I do not plan on doing anything wrong… I just got through spending 2000 on a model aircraft and I intend on using it regardless of what they say. Now, if they want to repay me the thousands I’ve spent so far, then may be I will hear them out. But until then, they can shove it up their regulated butt.

    1. Ron,

      Due to the large amount of spam, each comment must go through an approval process. Your comment was not censored and was promptly approved by our admins as noted above in your duplicate comment. Sorry for any confusion. You can read more about our blog policy at https://amablog.modelaircraft.org/ama-blog-policy/.

    2. Ron,

      Yeah…just what we all need is more anarchy. “I just got through spending 2000 on a model aircraft and I intend on using it regardless of what they say.” Just register with the FAA and fly your “$2000 model airplane” according to the rules like the rest of us are going to do. People are making way to much out of these changes to the FAA rules and they are probably not going to affect the vast majority of AMA members. The AMA will continue to work with the FAA and also individual AMA members and AMA clubs to try to resolve any difficulties that come up. And I’m pretty sure that they will be successful.


    In the end, hobby flying is a side issue for the FAA. Enforcing commercial UAS activities will add enough work load for them. They don’t care about hobby flying activities in the big scheme of things. Neither RC clubs nor individual fliers should try to enforce FAA registration. That’s solely the job of the FAA, and they won’t be able to do it. If the masses fight back the FAA will be powerless. I’ve been flying models and full scale aircraft for decades, and this is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever seen the FAA do. With some time and luck I’m hoping the registration rules for hobbyists die and fade away. A friend of mine always shouts “Remember, we don’t have to be just sheep!” He’s right.

  6. As a community, one of our talking points has been (paraphrased) that “We don’t need federal regulation, we’ve been following the rules all along.” Unfortunately, I don’t think it helps that narrative when the first time we have a rule we don’t like, members are calling for disobeying it. Might lead regulators to ask “What other rules are you not obeying because you don’t like them?” Thus, we may be inadvertently making the case that we do need regulation (and more attention) as we seem to think that we get to decide what rules are valid and what ones are not — last time I checked, the FAA is empowered with that authority — not us.

    1. Last time I checked Frank, Congress makes laws, NOT the FAA! Congress made LAW under Section 336 that there shall be no RULES or REGULATIONS made concerning model aircraft that is flown for hobby and/or recreational purposes. So tell me then, what’s up with the registering with the FAA? Totally ILLEGAL sir!

      1. Anonymous,
        The following is a direct quote from the FAA in regards to your comment. I have also posted a link to the FAA Federal Registry Rule along with the page numbers associated with this question.

        “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. This action simply provides a burden relieving alternative that sUAS owners may use for aircraft registration. Model aircraft operated under section 336 as well as other small unmanned aircraft are not required to use the provisions of part 48. Owners of such aircraft have the option to comply with the existing requirements in part 47 that govern aircraft registration or may opt to use the new streamlined, web-based system in part 48.”

        Page 78633 and 78634 https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-12-16/pdf/2015-31750.pdf

        1. That is the FAA’s opinion of the law. They maintain that they “chose” not to enforce the registration provision until now. However, the modeling community’s opinion is that the FAA’s de-facto regulation by not having been enforced for however many years was that model aircraft did not have to be registered. Therefore, requiring model aircraft to now be registered is a new regulation only for model aircraft contrary to Section 336. The only resolution is through the courts and I do not know the status of any of the several cases that have been filed.

          1. Earle,
            You are correct in that the courts will most likely be the final say with the issue of FAA registration. The AMA does have a petition filed with the US Court of Appeals. This petition has been delayed by the FAA on numerous occasions. However,it is worth noting that talks between the FAA and AMA are to resume this September in regards to allowing AMA members to use their AMA numbers in place of FAA registration.

        2. Well, I will say this AGAIN! Congress makes the LAWS! The FAA answers to Congress, not the other way around. The fact of the matter is, the FAA made a “Rule and Regulation” requiring registration AFTER Congress already PASSED the law saying they, the FAA, CAN NOT promulgate ANY rules and regulations for model aircraft that are flown for hobby and/or recreational purposes!
          The ONLY authority the FAA has is to REQUIRE ANYONE who flies ANY size aircraft whether it be an airplane, helicopter, sail plane, quad or drone, whether it’s a model or full size, that is NOT flown for hobby/recreational purposes, but instead, being flown for Commercial purposes or flown out of the line of sight, to register with the FAA!!! THIS IS THEIR ONLY AUTHORITY AS FAR AS REGISTERING WITH THE FAA IS CONCERNED!!! Any good lawyer would quickly point this fact out in a court of LAW. So, it’s like I said a thousand times already to folks, just go fly and fly SAFELY and use COMMON SENSE. if they arrest you and fine you, then you can go and sue the heck out of them then because they totally violated your rights under the LAW. People need to understand the FAA can “interpret” the LAW any way it chooses. But their “interpretation” is just that, an INTERPRETATION! They can use scare tactics like threatening to fine and throw you in jail all they want. It doesn’t change what is on the books. What is in the books is what is LAW. Law is NOT interpreting to ones own satisfaction. Law is what is written on paper and signed by several members of Congress. Everywhere you look on FAA website, it is obvious they are POWERLESS to break this law of Section 336 that protects model aviation that are flown for RECREATIONAL and HOBBYIST PURPOSES! AMA should be knowing better to keep saying you are required to still register with the FAA. This simply is NOT true. Bear in mind, if you feel compelled to register with the FAA even though you are flying for RECREATIONAL and HOBBY purposes, you are VOLUNTARILY doing so! I will NOT register with the FAA because they are in fact, ILLEGALLY implying that you must do so. Be careful what your signing, especially if it’s under VOLUNTARY circumstances!……………

  7. So, what about the maintenanance requirements under part 91, in accordance with part 43? Am I going to be asked to perform annuals and 100-hr inspections on miniature aircraft?

    1. Thor,

      In June 2014 the FAA announced their Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. We have a number of concerns with this interpretation including the issues you raise.

      Part of our concern is the amount of ambiguity in the language which could subject our models to the same rules and regulations as full-scale aircraft. Depending on the situation, models may have to comply with rules requiring two-way communication devices, seatbelts, and transponders. This is clearly not realistic.

      To resolve this, we have a petition with the US Court of Appeals.

      There are FAA advisories and requirements we should follow such as 91-13 (careless and reckless) and 91-57A (addressing topics of airport notification and flight restrictions). We believe FAA is primarily concerned about these types of safety regulations and not necessarily complying with maintenance schedules and other requirements clearly only applicable to full-scale aircraft.

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