Last month, AMA President Rich Hanson wrote an op-ed in The Hill about the two ways for recreational drone enthusiasts to legally fly. The default drone law for these pilots to follow is the FAA’s Part 107 regulation, which requires a remote pilot certificate. The only exception to this rule is for those who fully participate in and follow the safety guidelines of a community-based organization such as AMA (this is known as Section 336 or the Special Rule for Model Aircraft). Anyone who is not following one of these two paths is breaking the law and should be held accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, many recreational drone pilots today don’t understand this.
A recent article by Marco Margaritoff in The Drive highlights a similar problem that commercial UAS pilots are facing from unlicensed competition. Many law-abiding commercial pilots obtain their remote pilot certificates. However, the certified pilots are often discouraged when unlicensed drone businesses go unpunished for breaking the rules.
That’s why AMA strongly believes that regulations alone are not enough to ensure safety – greater enforcement and education is needed.
AMA is working with Congress and the UAS industry to ensure that recreational pilots are educated, trained and held accountable. The FAA needs to do the same for those that fly under Part 107 and penalize the operators that disregard the law. If Congress wants to increase the safety of our skies, they should task the FAA with increasing enforcement so that those who violate Part 107 are held accountable for their actions.