The FAA Reauthorization Act was signed on October 5, 2018, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been assessing the requirements of this new law and meeting with the AMA to collaborate on how to implement the provisions. During this transitional period, the FAA has informed us that our members should continue to follow the criteria of Section 336 and AMA’s Safety Code.
One of the FAA’s top priorities is to establish remote identification guidelines to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the airspace and address security concerns. AMA maintains that under our safety programming, UAS pose no new risk to the airspace; therefore, the remote identification rules for model aircraft operations should be more flexible. As the FAA develops a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (or proposed rules) to require remote identification requirements for UAS, AMA has recommended the agency consider a one kilogram threshold for model aircraft that must comply with the new requirements. AMA’s Park Pilot program has operated without incident for over ten years, and thus proven that the smallest and least capable models do not jeopardize the airspace and should not be required to comply with remote identification. AMA members should keep in mind that the regulatory process must go through numerous stages; even though the FAA has begun the process for a proposed rule, it will most likely be several months – or years – before a final rule for remote ID is implemented.
For model aircraft above a one-kilogram threshold, we assert that the modeling community can meet the safety and security objectives of remote identification requirements by either operating at an AMA charted flying site or by utilizing a software-based solution which marks the location of the operator. Both options would allow for the most cost-effective and easiest way for the low-risk model aircraft to comply with remote identification requirements and would not require equipping aircraft with transponders or other electronic devices. The FAA would have the information it needs to safely manage the airspace while limiting the burden on the hobbyist community.
The safe integration of UAS into the national airspace is paramount, but AMA members have proven to be responsible model aircraft operators for over 80 years. By utilizing a risk-based, flexible approach, the model aviation hobby will continue to thrive for generations to come.
Thank you to all of our members for your support! Please continue to monitor modelaircraft.org/gov for the latest information or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.