Category Archives: Club News

New F.A.A Requirement

FAA Makes Major Drone ID Marking Change

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) posted a rule in the Federal Register requiring small drone owners to display the FAA-issued registration number on an outside surface of the aircraft. Owners and operators may no longer place or write registration numbers in an interior compartment. The rule is effective on February 25. The markings must be in place for any flight after that date.

When the FAA first required registration of small drones in 2015, the agency mandated that the registration marking be readily accessible and maintained in readable condition. The rule granted some flexibility by permitting the marking to be placed in an enclosed compartment, such as a battery case, if it could be accessed without the use of tools.

Subsequently, law enforcement officials and the FAA’s interagency security partners have expressed concerns about the risk a concealed explosive device might pose to first responders upon opening a compartment to find a drone’s registration number. The FAA believes this action will enhance safety and security by allowing a person to view the unique identifier directly without handling the drone.

This interim final rule does not change the original acceptable methods of external marking, nor does it specify a particular external surface on which the registration number must be placed. The requirement is that it can be seen upon visual inspection of the aircraft’s exterior.

The FAA has issued this requirement as an Interim Final Rule—a rule that takes effect while also inviting public comment. The FAA issues interim final rules when delaying implementation of the rule would be impractical, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. In this case, the agency has determined the importance of mitigating the risk to first responders outweighs the minimal inconvenience this change may impose on small drone owners, and justifies implementation without a prior public comment period.

The FAA will consider comments from the public on this Interim Final Rule, and will then review any submissions to determine if the provisions of the ultimate Final Rule should be changed. The 30-day comment period will end on March 15, 2019. To submit comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for “RIN 2120-AL32.”

As Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao promised last month, the FAA also posted proposed new rules to let drones fly routinely at night and over people, and to further integrate them safely into the nation’s airspace. The comment period for these proposals is now open and ends on April 15.

FAA Requirement Reinstated.

Unfortunately the FAA requirement to register has been reinstated and the bill has been signed into law by the President of the United States. For any questions you may have use the link provided below to the AMA website which has a questions and answer forum. Please note this means that in order to fly at the field you will need both AMA and FAA registration or you will not be permitted to fly.

http://www.modelaircraft.org/aboutama/faa-uas-faq.aspx

FAA Registration Requirement Struck Down

On Friday, May 19 the federal appeals court struck down the FAA’s registration requirement for recreational model aircraft. You can read the opinion here.

The Court ruling is effective immediately. As such, if you have not registered with the FAA, you are no longer required under the law to do so. For those of you who have already registered with the FAA, you may be wondering what this means for you. We are currently working to obtain answers from the FAA and will share more information as it becomes available.

Please keep in mind that this is a fluid situation and there is always the possibility of a renewed push in Congress to compel federal registration for model aircraft. If that happens, rest assured that AMA will continue to advocate for your interests and keep you well informed every step of the way. We have repeatedly argued that federal registration for our community is duplicative and unnecessary, as our members already register their model aircraft with AMA. In addition, our 80-year history of safe and responsible flying demonstrates that we’re not the problem. We shouldn’t be burdened by overly broad regulations.

The ruling also bodes well for our pending court challenge to the FAA’s interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (also known as the Interpretative Rule). That petition, which AMA filed in 2014, is currently before the same Court that today rejected the FAA’s registration rule and affirmed the strength of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, otherwise known as Section 336. This gives us hope for our continued fight against the Interpretive Rule.

We understand that these policy and legal developments are sometimes dizzying and complicated, and they are rarely resolved quickly. We’re nearly three years into our challenge to the Interpretive Rule, for example. We truly appreciate your sticking with us while we press on in the fight to protect your right to fly, free from unnecessary and burdensome restrictions.

Sincerely,
AMA Government Affairs