MUNCIE, Ind. – Dave Mathewson, executive director of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) which is the world’s largest community-based organization, today made the following statement on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) rule for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) registration:
“AMA is disappointed with the new rule for UAS registration. As a member of the task force that helped develop recommendations for this rule, AMA argued that registration makes sense at some level and for UAS flyers operating outside the guidance of a community-based organization or flying for commercial purposes. Unfortunately, the new rule is counter to Congress’s intent in the Special Rule for Model Aircraft and makes the registration process an unnecessary burden for our more than 185,000 members who have been operating safely for decades.
“The Special Rule for Model Aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 clearly states that the FAA is prohibited from promulgating any new rules for recreational users operating within the safety guidelines of a community-based organization (CBO). Meanwhile, the FAA’s contention that model aircraft should be considered aircraft is currently the subject of pending litigation. Congress by no means intended to grant a free pass to flyers within this system. Instead, it left risk mitigation and the development of appropriate safety guidelines to organizations like AMA.
“AMA’s eighty years of experience demonstrates that this voluntary, community-based approach to managing recreational flyers is highly effective. Our members follow a comprehensive set of safety and privacy guidelines, which are constantly evolving to accommodate new technologies and new modeling disciplines.
“At the same time, AMA understands that new legions of flyers need to be educated on how to fly safely and responsibly. That’s why AMA has been working closely with the FAA and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) on the Know Before You Fly campaign. Education programs like these are one of the best ways to ensure the safety of our airspace.”
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Background on the FAA Interpretative Rule of Section 336
On June 23, 2014, the FAA released its “Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft,” (referred to as the “Interpretive Rule”), which imposed new restrictions on the use of model aircraft in direct contradiction to Section 336 and against the intent of Congress. The Interpretive Rule expands the definition of aircraft to include model aircraft, with which AMA disagrees. AMA has filed a petition to overturn the Interpretive Rule, which is still the subject of pending litigation.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics, founded in 1936, continues to be devoted to national airspace safety. It serves as the nation’s collective voice for approximately 185,000 modelers in 2,400 clubs in the United States and Puerto Rico. Headquartered in Muncie, Indiana, AMA is a membership organization representing those who fly model aircraft for recreation and educational purposes. For more information, visit www.modelaircraft.org.