FAA Praises AMA on National Model Aviation Day


In honor of the second annual National Model Aviation Day, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says it is saluting the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) for fostering model aircraft safety.

The AMA established National Model Aviation Day in 2013 to celebrate the hobby of flying model aircraft and share it with the public, the FAA explains.

‘Safe model aircraft operations bring the joy of recreational or hobby flying to more people than ever before,” comments Michael Huerta, FAA administrator. “We commend AMA for its outstanding work. AMA’s detailed procedures promote safe model operations and serve as an excellent resource for AMA members and non-members alike.”

In January, the FAA and AMA signed an agreement for AMA to serve as a focal point for the aero-modeling community, the hobby industry and the FAA to communicate relevant and timely safety information. AMA also agreed to foster a “positive and cooperative environment” with modelers toward the FAA and any applicable regulations.

For its part, the FAA says it reviews and advises on the AMA safety program to address any issues or concerns. The agency adds that it is educating its field employees about the latest aero-modeling technologies, operating requirements and the AMA’s safety program in order to foster a reciprocal cooperative attitude toward the organization.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 contains a definition of “model aircraft” and includes requirements that they be flown within sight of the operator, be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes and do not interfere with manned aircraft. The statute also mandates that model aircraft operators flying within five miles of an airport notify the airport operator and air traffic control tower.

After the FAA released an interpretation of the act’s Special Rule for Model Aircraft, the AMA came forward in June to express its anger. In an effort to protect the aeromodeling community from overreaching and onerous regulation, the AMA said, Congress established the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which exempts this activity from regulation, provided it is conducted in accordance with and within the safety programming of a community-based organization, such as the AMA.

Bob Brown, president of the AMA, explained, “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.”

In July, the FAA listened to the AMA’s request for a 60-day comment extension of the interpretive rule. The agency established the new deadline for public comments as Sept. 23.

The AMA’s safety code can be found here, and the FAA’s interpretation of the
Special Rule for Model Aircraft is here.

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