As the New Year begins, the AMA Government Relations team would like to take a moment to update you on our work during the last few months of 2017 to represent and protect our hobby at the federal, local and state level.
Federal Government Relations
Over the past few months, the team made multiple trips to Washington, D.C. for meetings with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as well as lawmakers on Capitol Hill, about the importance of preserving Section 336, also known as the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. These meetings included discussions with the FAA on VIP NOTAM/Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) waivers, as well as the Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) on the remote identification and tracking of UAS. In addition, the team met with the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) to discuss recommendations for state and local governments on safely incorporating UAS into our nation’s airspace.
Importantly, AMA also participated in Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST) meetings, a public-private committee committed to ensuring the safe operation of UAS. We also helped lead the Drone Sightings Working Group within this committee, which recently released a final report on the FAA’s drone sightings data earlier this month. This report found that only a small percentage of pilot reports of drones pose a safety risk while the vast majority are simply sightings. These findings are consistent with AMA’s own analysis of the FAA’s drone data.
In addition, the team attended the launch of a new White House pilot program to integrate UAS into the airspace. This program will include five to twelve local communities and organizations to test a new drone program. AMA is applying to participate in the program, which will help local authorities and the UAS industry coordinate with the FAA and keep our skies safe for all.
Finally, an op-ed by Rich Hanson was published in The Hill in early January, which discusses the difference between pilots flying under Section 336 and Part 107. The piece encourages Congress to help recreational drone pilots understand how to comply with Part 107 and to task the FAA with increasing enforcement to help hold Part 107 violators accountable for their actions.
State and Local Government Relations
At the local level, we continued to monitor state and local legislation that could negatively affect our hobby. We worked with local lawmakers throughout Kansas, North Carolina, Washington, Missouri and California to combat potentially harmful legislation. Opinion pieces from local AMA members were also published in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman in Alaska, as well as the Omaha World-Herald in Nebraska.
Lastly, the team presented or participated at the Drone World Expo in San Jose, California, the National League of Cities Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Air Traffic Controllers Association Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Conference & Exposition in Los Angeles, California.
AMA is successful because of members like you! As always, thank you for you all you’ve done advocate for our hobby in 2017. We look forward to a successful 2018.
AMA Government Relations Team