Congress drafting legislation for model aircraft

The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate this week released proposed legislation for FAA reauthorization. We are pleased to share that both bills preserve the Special Rule for Model Aircraft and even contain some of the new provisions AMA has been advocating for to further protect our hobby.  And while the Special Rule remains in both bills, there are areas of concern that we will continue to address with Congress.

As you may know, the Special Rule for Model Aircraft was passed in 2012 and allows community-based organizations (CBO) like AMA to continue managing our community of hobbyists without unnecessary government regulation.

As we shared on our blog yesterday, the House version of FAA reauthorization provides a clear definition of a CBO and tasks the FAA with developing a process for recognizing CBOs, both items we asked the House to include. In addition, the bill expands the protections of the Special Rule to allow model aircraft to be used as a teaching tool for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as aeronautics.  Throughout the weekend and into early next week, we will continue to petition refinements to the bill.

The Senate version of the FAA reauthorization bill will require a little more effort, and we are working with the Senate to improve it.  We believe it is important the Senate adopt language similar to the House to define CBOs and create a path to identify CBOs.  However, we are glad that the Senate included the Special Rule for Model Aircraft and created carveouts for CBOs. The Senate bill also directs the FAA to prioritize education efforts such as the Know Before You Fly campaign, an effort which AMA helped create in 2014.

We will continue our work with the House and Senate. We are still early in the legislative process, but things can move quickly. At some point, we may need your help advocating to members of Congress to support these changes. In the meantime, we will keep you updated on how the legislative process progresses.

Please continue to monitor and your email for the latest information. And as always, thank you for your support of AMA.