AMA Exempt from Earning a Remote Pilot’s Certificate (Part 107)

Effective August 29, 2016 the FAA requires sUAS pilots preforming commercial operations, or those not operating within the programing of a community-based organization, to earn a remote pilot’s certificate and to operate within the provisions of Part 107. To earn this certificate, pilots must take a test at an FAA testing center before conducting flight. The cost for this test is approximately $150.

While this new federal rule applies to many sUAS operators, AMA members flying under our safety program for recreational operations are exempt. Part 107 does not alter the recreational rules for hobbyists who operate under and comply with Section 336, the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. AMA members not conducting commercial operations are exempt from Part 107 and the remote pilot certificate requirement. It should also be noted that AMA member who choose to obtain a Remote Pilot’s Certificate can still operate in accordance with and within AMA’s safety program when flying their sUAS (model aircraft) for recreational and hobby purposes.

While AMA members operating strictly for hobby and recreational purposes are not subject to Part 107, the FAA still requires hobbyists to comply with the registration requirement in Part 48 at This is an issue we are working to resolve. You can read answers to frequently asked questions at

You can learn more about FAA’s Part 107 at



  1. I think AMA RC Model flyers as a hobby and recreational. Should not be part of commercial Drone thing now. Model airplane flying has been on safely for longer than this DRONE fly as of today.

  2. AMA, based on your post above, you make it seem that if we are not a member of AMA, we need to obtain a remote certificate (part 107). What if one is following the safety guidelines/programming of a CBO other than AMA? Do we still need to obtain this certificate or are we in full compliance with section 336? I researched the requirements regarding part 107 and section 336 and there is no mention that we as hobbyist need to be a member. Can you clarify? Thank you.

    1. Yes, you can operate within the safety programming of another CBO and be exempt from Part 107. Participation in AMA’s community-based safety program requires membership in the AMA in that…

      Individuals operating within AMA’s Safety program must:

      1) Explicitly affirm that they have read, understand and intend to operate within AMA’s safety guidelines as a condition of membership.
      2) Maintain an appropriate level of financial responsibility to afford third party restitution in the event of injury or property damage. (To insure this is met, AMA provides $500k to $2.5 mil in liability coverage for each member as a member benefit. This coverage is secondary to any personal liability coverage such as a homeowners policy.)
      3) Interactively participate in AMA’s safety program by providing contact information through which the AMA can distribute relevant safety information such as FAA TFR notices, and by which members can provide input and feedback to the AMA on safety related issues.

      You can read Congress’ definition of CBO at

        1. You continue to be purposefully obtuse in refusing to understand that while the FAA may not require membership in a particular, or any, CBO, the CBO is not prevented in any sense from requiring membership.

          Perhaps you could ask your JAG friend if it is legally permitted for a membership organization to restrict access to its programs, etc. to its members only or if they must also provide that same benefits to the non-members in the general public.

  3. To be more specific, the FAA states you must comply fully with FAR 101, which now references section 336. If you cannot fully comply, you will fall under FAR 107, even flying for recreation as interpreted by the FAA:

    §101.41 Applicability.

    This subpart prescribes rules governing the operation of a model aircraft (or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft) that meets all of the following conditions as set forth in section 336 of Public Law 112-95:

    (a) The aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;

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

    (c) The aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization;

    (d) The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and

    (e) 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.

    1. I don’t see anything different in §101.41 from section 336. Part 107 is commercial as I read it.

    2. Taken from part 107 summary:

      Part 107 does not apply to model aircraft that satisfy all of
      the criteria specified in section 336 of Public Law 112-95.

      The rule codifies the FAA’s enforcement authority in part
      101 by prohibiting model aircraft operators from endangering
      the safety of the NAS

      1. The title of FAR 107 is Small Unmanned Aircraft. FAR 107.1 states:

        1 Applicability.

        (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, this part applies to the registration, airman certification, and operation of civil small unmanned aircraft systems within the United States.

        (b) This part does not apply to the following:

        (1) Air carrier operations;

        (2) Any aircraft subject to the provisions of part 101 of this chapter; or

        (3) Any operation that a remote pilot in command elects to conduct pursuant to an exemption issued under section 333 of Public Law 112-95, unless otherwise specified in the exemption.

        If you cannot FULLY comply with Part 101 then you are under Part 107. No where in the title or aplicability of either does the word commercial or “for hire” appear. If you can FULLY comply then great! You are under FAR 101.

        When was the last time you flew recreationally and did not notify the closest airport (heliport, seaplane base) within 5 miles? if you flew and did not notify you are in violation of both AMA and FAR 101. FAR 107 gives you the knowledge and testing to fly inside that 5 mile ring within uncontrolled airspace without the notification to the airport. You would still need an ATC clearance if there is a control tower.

        1. You said “if you flew and did not notify you are in violation of both AMA and FAR 101”. I can see a violation of FAR 101 but AMA? Last I checked, AMA is an organization with no authority.

  4. This means that we can fly FPV still following the guidelines 550 560 and 570. People are saying because this not in sec 336 that we have to get 107 if we plan to fly FPV. from my understanding if we follow AMA guidelines we can fly FPV per the regulations.

    c) MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘‘model
    aircraft’’ means an unmanned aircraft that is—
    (1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
    H. R. 658—68
    ****(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating
    the aircraft; and****
    (3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

      1. Ben,
        We have been in talks with the FAA regarding FPV. We should be communicating with our members soon, reassuring those who fly FPV that they can do so by following the AMA Safety Code and Document 550.

        1. The FAA Interpretation of the Special Rule on Model Aircraft, contained in the Federal Register, clearly said that clearly and explicitly stated that FPV does not satisfy the visual line of sight requirement in the law.

          Is the AMA now telling members that despite that language, we can fly FPV legally under part 101?

  5. The idea of getting a certificate to fly a model airplane if you’re not a member of some formal organization is anathema to our ideal of freedom in America. The FAA way over-stepped its bounds on this, and the AMA should have aggressively stopped it immediately using a Federal lawsuit if necessary. The AMA has tried to remain “friendly” with the FAA, and that has hurt us. The AMA staff continually pats itself on the back for imagined progress. The FAA cannot enforce this, and the few actions the FAA has taken against modelers have mostly been in New York City and Washington D.C. The rest of the country is mostly unaffected. If you want to fly a model, fly it. If you fly it safely and responsibly your chances of ever being approached by a member of the FAA are about zip. The vast majority of the populace have never met anyone from the FAA nor know the location of any FAA office in their state. With some luck this whole thing will self-implode just like Obamacare is doing. Commercial drones are a totally different beast, but I’m hoping for a natural death of restrictions on hobby model airplane flying. It will just take time. I’m sure the typical FAA Inspector doesn’t have the time nor desire to deal with hobby model activities.

    1. Herb,

      On 10 July 2016, I sent an email to the FAA UAS Integration Office asking this question:

      “Yes or no, does the FAA interpret PL112-95 Section 336 paragraph (a)(2), ‘the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;’ to mean that to be considered a ‘model aircraft’ under the law, the operator must be a member of a community-based organization?”

      On 12 July 2016, the FAA UAS Integration Office responded:

      “The FAA does not interpret PL 112-95 Section 336 (a) (2) as requiring membership in a CBO, nor does the FAA list any CBOs. You must only follow the guidelines of a CBO.”

      1. See my comment above regarding your ongoing refusal to understand the difference between the FAA and the CBO requiring membership. You seem to think that the FAA not requiring membership means that the CBO cannot require membership to be “within its programming”.

    2. The FAA probably can’t deal effectively with model activity; however, they have deputized the local law enforcement organizations, and these folks may be able to do something. The way it stands, the LEOs are supposed to gather information and relay it to the FAA, but they might get more input, such as arrests, if we don’t play everything by the book.

      I, personally, agree with you that we should hope for a natural death to model restriction. Don’t plan on it any time soon, however. The press have done an awfully good job demonizing our hobby. It will take a load of positive PR from organizations like the AMA and local clubs to overcome this. Technological hobbies have fallen out of favor in our consumer-oriented society. Ask the average ham radio operator about this.

      Interestingly, there have been very few negative encounters between commercial operators and the public. The examples have been widely publicized (i.e. the photo mission during the ski racing in the Olympics a couple of years ago). Based on this relative paucity of incidents, one can only wonder why commercial rules exist. Clearly, the operator would not wish to jeopardize a $6-20,000 flying high definition imaging platform on a “lark”. I suspect other factors are involved.

      1. Local law enforcement has always been the first people to contact someone who is suspected of a violation of the FAA regulations. This is for nam carrying aircraft and now sUAS aircraft.

        The press has not demonized our hobby. The people that have bought these high tech toys and operated them in a irresponsible manner are the ones that have caused the problem. These people have no interest in model aviation. They are not AMA members, nor care to be a member. They have nothing invested other than money. They do what they do because they can, they feel entitled.

        Why a commercial rule? That is simple. When money exchanges hands and an aircraft is involved, the FAA considers this a commercial operation. In the past, radio controlled aircraft as we know it had no commercial value. This has all changed with multi rotor aircraft as camera platforms.

    3. I don’t know if links are allowed but I thought this was interesting for others to see specifically on part 107.

      This video is about part 107. I am quoting the poster who posted this in another forum: “the person talking is an FAA official and talks a little about recreational hobbyists. Around the 42:50 minute mark, he mentions that the AMA is not the only national recognized organization that has a safety code that you have to follow. All you are required to do is follow the safety guideline of a CBO. No mention that you must be a member”

      Based on this, it seems that the requirement to satisfy part of section 336 is to follow the guidelines of any CBO. There was no mention of membership to any CBO.

      So, in that case, if you follow every single line of 336, there is no need for part 107 certificate.

  6. 107 is for Commercial flying of UAS, if you have AMA or not. AMA is for hobbyist activities whether you fly commercially or not. One has nothing to do with the other. This is just an attempt for AMA to drum up their membership and the insurance that comes with it.

    You don’t need any membership to fly as a hobbyist. AMA membership is supposed to exempt you from the regulations for hobby flight that the FAA puts forth, even though the FAA seems to be trying to work their way around this.

    1. Jason,
      The FAA states that “there are two ways for recreational or hobby UAS fliers to operate in the National Airspace System in accordance with the law and/or FAA regulations. Each of the two options has specific requirements that the UAS operator must follow. The decision as to which option to follow is up to the individual operator.”
      Option #1. Fly in accordance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Public Law 112-95 Section 336).
      Option #2. Fly in accordance with the FAA’s Small UAS Rule (Part 107).

      1. PL 112-95 Sec 336 will become FAA Part 101.

        The FAA will not say you must be a AMA member. You just must follow a set of guidelines from a CBO.

        1. True. But a CBO is absolutely permitted to restrict access to programs and benefits to its members.

          1. Which is why they are permitted to not allow me to fly at their fields and use their insurance, etc. etc. I don’t think a safety code is a program or a benefit. Will the AMA support me (by providing a lawyer,etc) in a legal fight if I am accused of reckless and careless flying if I believe I am conducting operations within the safety code and a Cary carrying member?

          2. However, it is worth noting that the Conference Committee Comments on the Special Rule for Model aircraft clearly says that in the mind of Congress a CBO is among other things an organization the “provides its members with a safety program” and which advocates “for its members”.

  7. Hello, Lots of pilots here complaining about how the laws are restrictive. I have a meeting shortly with the local prosecuting attorney due to gross negligence of the club in criminal trespassing, noise ordinance violation, and wreckless operation of a aircraft with the local club. Planes have crashed into the neighboors car, knocked leaves off my trees, decibel levels can be regularly recorded over 90 DB, and were 10 calls in to the police who won’t provide me with any pilot information. How do i file a complaint with nothing but a very clear photograph? I dont understand how you can ask for no oversight while putting normal lives at risk and annoyance.

  8. I am in agreement that those who want to operate for commercial purposes and/or for those who want to operate outside the bounds of the AMA rulings ( you know who they are ) need some evaluation of their knowledge regarding aviation, aviation safety, and piloting skills before they are set free. Members of the AMA are not to be blamed for the new rulings that are now transpiring. The renegade fliers ( especially of drones ) and the proliferation of them with readily available equipment have pushed matters to the brink. Furthermore, the continual technological advancements and sophistication of drones have also made it such that an evaluation of operating knowledge and skills is a must for the proper and SAFE operation of such aircraft ( drones ).

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