The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has sent letters of opposition to the New York City Council, which is proposing legislation to restrict unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flights in New York City.
At least one of the bills under consideration would completely ground the educational hobby of flying model aircraft within the city, AMA says.
“In restricting where model aircraft can fly, your legislation would destroy a decades-old, family-oriented and community-based recreational activity. More significantly, it will have a detrimental effect on the enthusiasm of New York City’s youth in their pursuit of aerospace, aviation, technology, engineering and similar careers,” Eric Williams, vice president of the organization, wrote to Councilmember Dan Garodnick.
Currently, AMA says, more than a dozen AMA-chartered flying clubs currently operate in and around New York City, including the Staten Island Radio Control Modelers, the Radio Control Society of Marine Park and the Pennsylvania Avenue Radio Control Society, which flies at Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field, New York City’s first municipal airport.
“These safe, well-run and longstanding clubs would be grounded under your overly broad and restrictive legislation. Likewise, a child flying a toy helicopter in his or her own backyard would be considered a criminal under your bill,” Williams continued.
He also wrote to Councilmember Paul Vallone, who has also proposed UAV legislation.
“Your legislation runs counter to the intent of the U.S. Congress, which made clear in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that model aircraft should be exempt from regulation,” Williams wrote to both Councilmembers Vallone and Garodnick.
“As the United States’ community-based model aviation organization, and in the interests of safe recreational and educational UAV operations, AMA stands ready to work with New York City and all parties on recreational UAV educational programs and safety training.
“We do, however, oppose overly broad and restrictive legislation that curtails constructive model aviation in New York City as it is now practiced. Closing the door on the historical and continued contributions of model aviation as a positive recreational activity and an educational stepping stone for our youth would be regrettable,” Williams concluded in the letters.