On Monday, June 23rd, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released an Interpretive Rule in which it presented FAA’s interpretation of the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft” established by Congress in the FAA modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The Academy has reviewed the rule and is extremely disappointed and troubled by the approach the FAA has chosen to take in regards to this issue
In its Press Release the FAA stated it was, “issuing the notice to provide clear guidance to model operators on the “do’s and don’ts” of flying safely in accordance with the Act and to answer many of the questions it has received regarding the scope and application of the rules.” It also stated, “(this) guidance comes after recent incidents involving the reckless use of unmanned model aircraft near airports and involving large crowds of people.” It’s important to note that very few of these cases have been factually documented and not a single incident was shown to involve a member of the AMA or to be connected in any way to modeling operations conducted under the auspices of the special rule.
In AMA’s response to the rule it was pointed out that, “The FAA interpretive rule effectively negates Congress’ intentions, and is contrary to the law. Section 336(a) of the Public Law states that, ‘the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft…’, this interpretive rule specifically addresses model aircraft, effectively establishes rules that model aircraft were not previously subject to and is in direct violation of the congressional mandate in the 2012 FAA reauthorization bill.”
AMA has voiced its opposition to FAA’s action and will pursue all available recourse to dissuade enactment of this rule. It’s important that every AMA member becomes involved in the effort.
The first step is to respond to the public comment period established in the notice. Look for a follow-up email from AMA with information on how to respond to the FAA notice. This is your opportunity to express your views and to comment on various aspects of the Interpretive Rule. It’s important for the Administration to know that this rule significantly impacts the entire aeromodeling community and that this community is resolute and committed to protecting the hobby. In this case silence IS NOT golden.
Please alert your friends, family members and fellow modelers regarding this issue.