The following from Rich Hanson of the AMA.

For the past three years the AMA has participated in the rulemaking process aimed at establishing federal regulations for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). We’ve worked directly with the FAA in an effort to ensure that these regulations will not have a detrimental impact on the aeromodeling community, and we are continuing to work with the regulators in an effort to safeguard the future of model aviation. The rulemaking process is very and long complex, and to date very little is known regarding the specifics of the proposed rule. However, the FAA is nearing completion of the initial phase of the rulemaking process and is expected to publish its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register in June 2011. The proposed rule will then be open for public comment.

What we do know at this point is that the Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) recommended that there be a provision in the rule to allow model aircraft operations that are conducted in accordance with an FAA-accepted set of standards to be exempt from the rule. To date, FAA leadership in the Unmanned Aircraft Program Office (UAPO) has consistently held that this has been, and continues to be, its regulatory approach to model aviation. And during the past year and a half, UAPO representatives have been actively involved in providing guidance to the AMA in its effort to develop a set of standards that—if accepted and adopted by the FAA—will serve as an alternative means of complying with the new sUAS regulation.

As we near the public-comment period, it’s extremely important that all aeromodeling enthusiasts become aware of the issues at stake and the challenges that lie ahead. This AMA webpage provides much of the background material on the sUAS rulemaking issue and will serve as a resource to the AMA membership for current and relevant information as the regulatory and standards-development process progresses.

– Rich Hanson, AMA Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs Representative

By Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.