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AMA responds to June 2014 FAA Interpretive

Discussion in 'News' started by Buk, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. Visioneer

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    A brief read suggests the FAA is attempting to establish that section 336 of the 2012 law doesn't really mean what it says, i.e, "yes we see that but our other regulations trump it". From time to time some folks have taken shots at the AMA but this is one reason why we need them. A national organization with many members stands a better chance of influencing RC aircraft policy than the handful of RC practioners who will actually contact the FAA (who will likely ignore them) or their elected representatives.

    AMA's notice to AMA members:

    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.


    References to documents quoted above - same as those previously posted.

    FAA Interpretive Rule at http://02b954f.netsolhost.com/docs/mode ... c_rule.pdf

    FAA Press RElease at http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/ ... wsId=16474

    AMA Response at http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/FAAI ... veRule.pdf
     
  2. SilentAV8R

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    This is what the FAA jumped on to pull this stunt:

     
  3. varmint

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    Wow, that AMA response just earned them a new member. They're not only looking out for hobbyist's rights, they're doing it promptly.
     
  4. Visioneer

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    Here's AMA's follow-up ... with a more detailed account of their concerns and a request that concerned individuals provide their comments to the FAA. I suspect a well reasoned, civil response has a better chance of being noticed than one which is not. In any event, it's likely that the volume of comments will bear as much weight as their content (however "form" letters carry little weight - use your own words). Now is the time to let the FAA how many of us are watching.

    DEADLINE TO COMMENT: On or before July 25, 2014

    AMA's Areas of Concern Regarding the FAA Interpretive Rule for Model Aircraft

    On Tuesday, June 24th AMA issued a member alert expressing concern over some provisions in the FAA's interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress in the FAA modernization and Reform Act of 2012. In that alert, we let members know that we would be following up with today's alert that explains AMA's concerns in greater detail.

    We need you to take action now and respond by July 25, 2014 to the FAA Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft that was released June 23, 2014. The Academy has reviewed the rule and is extremely disappointed and troubled be the approach the FAA has chosen to take in regards to this issue. FAA's Interpretive Rule

    To help you respond to the FAA, we have outlined AMA's major concerns in the bullets below. A more in-depth explanation of our concerns can be found at AMA's Concerns (https://www.modelaircraft.org/files/AMA ... ule614.pdf)

    Throughout the rule the FAA takes great latitude in determining Congress' intentions and in placing tightly worded restrictions through its "plain-language" interpretation of the text.
    The FAA uses the plain language doctrine to create a regulatory prohibition of the use of a specific type of technology.
    FAA's overreaching interpretation of the language in the Public Law is evident in the rule's interpretation of the requirement that model aircraft be "flown strictly for hobby or recreational use."
    Although the FAA acknowledges that manned aviation flights that are incidental to a business are not considered commercial under the regulations, the rule states that model aircraft flights flown incidental to a business are not hobby or recreation related.
    The rule overlooks the law's clear intention to encompass the supporting aeromodeling industry under the provision of the Special Rule, "aircraft being developed as a model aircraft." The rule's strict interpretation of hobby versus business puts in question the activities of the principals and employees of the billion dollar industry that supplies and supports the hobby.
    The Public Law states that when model aircraft are, "flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft (must) provide(s) the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation. However the rule indicates that approval of the airport operator is required. Although it is understood that making notification to the airport and/or ATC will open a dialog as to whether the planned activity is safe to proceed, there is no intent in the law that this be a request for permission on the part of the model aircraft pilot.
    The Interpretive Rule establishes new restrictions and prohibitions to which model aircraft have never been subject. This is counter to the Public Law which reads, "The Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft,..." if established criteria are met.
    The Interpretive Rule attempts to negate the entire Public Law by stating, "Other rules in part 91, or other parts of the regulations, may apply to model aircraft operations, depending on the particular circumstances of the operation. This in and of itself makes model aircraft enthusiasts accountable to the entire litany of regulations found in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, something that was never intended by Congress and until now never required by the FAA.

    How to Respond to the FAA.

    All AMA members, family and friends need to take action now to let the FAA know that this rule significantly impacts the entire aeromodeling community and that this community is resolute and committed to protecting the hobby.

    There are four methods to submit a comment. Emailing your comment is the fastest and most convenient method. All comments must include the docket number FAA-2014-0396. Tips for submitting your comments (http://www.regulations.gov/docs/Tips_Fo ... mments.pdf).

    Email: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

    Mail: Send Comments to Docket Operations, M-30; US Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Hand Delivery: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Fax: (202) 493-2251.


    Again, the deadline to comment is July 25, 2014
     
  5. Visioneer

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    From the AMA today:

    FAA grants comment extension at the request of AMA

    At the request of the AMA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a 60-day extension for the public comment period (Docket No. FAA-2014-0396) for FAA's Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
    The 60-day extension establishes the new deadline for comments as September 23, 2014.

    In the United States Department of Transportation/FAA notice due to publish in the Federal Register on July 25, 2014, the FAA noted the following:

    "On July 16, 2014, the Academy of Model Aeronautics submitted a request to extend the comment period by 60 days, citing the need to "educate the aeromodeling community, clarify the issues, and respond to questions regarding the impact that the interpretive rule has on various aspects of the modeling activity." The FAA agrees that additional time for the submission of comments would be helpful, and therefore has decided to extend the comment period until September 23, 2014. The FAA expects that the additional time for comments will allow the affected community to prepare meaningful comments which will help the FAA to determine what clarifications to the interpretation may be necessary."

    Your Action is needed now

    The administrative rulemaking notice and comment process is the means by which the FAA can address these concerns and make any definitive changes to the rule. Your comments need to be detailed, meaningful, and constructive.

    We are asking all of our members and everyone who has an interest in the future of model aviation to participate in this process.


    Again, here's a link to comment:
    http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDeta ... -2014-0396

    It could hardly be simpler

    You can do so anonymously if you like (though such is probably less effective).
     
  6. Phil H

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    As a commercial licensed pilot, I understand the need for regulation. I encourage the FAA to create operational classes like type and category found in other aircraft regulations. Models or smaller quadcopters that have the capability to shoot video should require a commercial rating. Appropriate testing to include practical knowledge, flight proficiency, safety and laws should be included. I have no problem with a small transponder installed in the craft that at the very least notifies pilots in aircraft and tower operators that there is a drone in the area and where it is located would be very beneficial. If you just want to fly your quad as a model, simple common sense regulations can be easily created. Right now the FAA is under extreme pressure. Some caused by idiots operating their crafts in a dangerous way. Other pressure coming from ill-informed citizens that perceive doom and gloom and spy cameras invading their privacy. There are some people that drive cars dangerously, speeding, under the influence and other reckless behavior. But, we don't outlaw cars, we simply police the bad drivers and try to make it safe for those who follow the law and respect others safety. This is not that hard of a decision. In the meantime, there are many of us who want to fly their copters using commonsense and safe operation. I am also a professional videographer and simply find this new form of shooting video to be an easy to use, and an economically feasible aerial photographic platform.
    Phil H.
     
  7. CRankin

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    I think you and I are probably going to have to agree to disagree on this subject.

    As a citizen who lives in a free country, I do not understand the incessant need for useless, outdated, desperate, ill-informed government agencies to unnecessarily intrude in people's lives and potential livelihoods, especially when most flights occur under 400 feet.

    Bzzzt, wrong. Why add all the unnecessary regulation around something that's not a threat? Over-regulation has the potential to kill off a fledgling industry. Let's not let some nonsense "safety considerations" over something that has yet to happen scare us. The FAA's role doesn't include Karnac the Magnificent or Henny Penny; it seems like both are running the agency these days.

    This would kill the hobby. It's not only unnecessary, but it's also a waste of time and money for unnecessary training. I can bet that this is something that most won't bother to comply with. Who has time to waste here?

    What would the additional cost of this transponder be? What additional weight would it add? How would it impact flight times for drones? Again, this seems like a lot of worry and needless concern over something that might happen some day. Decades of model aircraft flying through the air without a single recorded mid-air collision causing human death would seem to indicate that all this "huffing" and "puffing" by the FAA is a waste of time and taxpayer money.

    Again, no need for regulation. We've done fine so far without the FAA or any other useless government agency slithering its way into our hobby.
     
  8. jadebox

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    Self-regulation is the answer. It's worked in the past and it will continue to work in the future. If you haven't joined the AMA, now is the time to do so. Not only will it support their effort to prevent the FAA from going too far, increases in AMA membership will be a sign that self-regulation is working.

    A few years ago the FAA revised the general rules regarding small unmanned rockets allowing rocketry hobbyists, like myself, more autonomy. This change was based on our demonstrated safety record and our effective self-regulation programs.

    BTW, there's no distinction made for commercial versus hobbyist use of unmanned rockets in FAR 101. That makes sense because it makes no difference in safety or anything else of interest to the FAA.

    The FAA in the past has been careful to give recreational use of airspace as much consideration as commercial. For example, when we launch large rockets, the FAA will sometimes require other air traffic to be routed away from the launch area. The irony is that, in this case, they are restricting commercial use of the airspace more than recreational. FAA rules should cover what you can and can't do, not why you are doing it.

    -- Roger