AMA Government Affairs Update 4/1/2020

Due to COVID-19, the Government Affairs team is working remotely to continue our advocacy efforts. The safety of our staff, members, and community is AMA’s top priority and unfortunately, COVID-19 has affected certain ongoing projects. The FAA has temporarily put Safety Risk Management (SRM) panels on hold until further notice. However, we are continuing altitude limitation conversations with the FAA’s Air Traffic Operations, Flight Standards, and UAS Integration Offices. Before the COVID-19 stay-at-home guidance was issued, two SRM panels were successfully conducted and both clubs were able to show that safety risks could be mitigated to an acceptable level up to their requested altitudes. We are working with the FAA to update the priority list for AMA clubs in controlled airspace that would like to go through the SRM process. In our discussions with the FAA, we are also exploring options for a waiver process for fixed sites in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace.

AMA continues the fight against the FAA’s remote ID proposal. We have been meeting with multiple industry leaders, such as EAA, Google, and AOPA, to come together as one voice and discuss a sensible, inclusive approach to the remote ID rulemaking. On March 12, the FAA released a Request for Information (RFI) to seek input regarding Low Altitude Manned Aviator Participation in UAS Remote Identification. The RFI calls on operators of manned aircraft who operate at low altitudes to comment how their operations would be impacted by remote ID and to see how they can receive and use the network or broadcast UAS remote ID information. They also want to engage low altitude manned aviators and others who are interested in exploring how UAS Remote ID can improve safety and reduce collision risk between UAS and manned aircraft at low altitudes. AMA will continue working with our allies to bring the best possible outcome regarding remote ID.

In addition, we are reviewing an executive order that has been drafted by the Trump administration which would ban the federal government’s use of foreign made UAS, including model aircraft. The executive order would bar federal government departments and agencies from procuring, repairing or servicing a UAS manufactured “in whole or in part” by any company from a foreign country viewed to be “engaged in a long-term pattern or serious instances of conduct significantly adverse to the national security of the United States or its allies.” The government would also seek to stop anyone with a federal contract, agreement, or grant from using a foreign-made UAS and stop people from flying them on or over federally-managed or owned lands. This order could impact AMA members operating on military property, National Parks, Army Corps of Engineer lands, and EPA managed sites. AMA is trying to work with the White House and Office of Management and Budget to shape the draft language before the executive order is signed by the president. We will share any updates regarding this executive order when we learn more.

Kind Regards,
AMA Government Affairs