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Mr.RC-Cam

FAA Publishes Interpretation of Special Rule for Model Aircraft

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The FAA is doing their best to kill the FPV hobby in the USA. Based on their latest interpretation of the model aircraft rules, using FPV goggles to pilot a model aircraft is illegal effective June-23-2014. The FAA insists that the pilot must have unobstructed view of the model aircraft during flight.

Beginning June-25-2014, the public has 30 days to provide their comments on this disturbing gov action.

Here's the FAA's own words that specifically precludes Goggles:

By definition, a model aircraft must be “flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.” P.L. 112-95, section 336©(2).1 Based on the plain language of the statute, the FAA interprets this requirement to mean that: (1) the aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator; (2) that the operator must use his or her own natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to observe the aircraft; and (3) people other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight. Under the criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an unobstructed view of the model aircraft. To ensure that the operator has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would preclude the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed to provide a “first-person view” from the model.

Here's the official document (released June 23 2014):

http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/media/model_aircraft_spec_rule.pdf

And their press release about this (released June 23 2014):

http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=16474

Please help save our hobby and submit your comments to the FAA:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2014-0396

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Yes, sadly there were signs that the provocative YouTube videos (from a variety of stupid pilots), plus the recent legal defeat, would push the FAA over the edge. And that is what appears to have happened in this situation.

Hopefully the AMA and supportive community action can soften the blow and get the FAA to loosen their over reaching rule interpretations. But so far the publics comment count at the FAA site is a disappointment and there is very little time remaining for those that care to provide their rebuttals. Regardless of how this pans out, as hobbyists we should continue do our best to educate those that are causing problems due to their ignorance and shame the rest to move on to something else that they can ruin.

Just another example that some Americans like to post about every mundane thing in their lives, but don't take the time to make themselves heard where it matters:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2014/07/10/drone-users-largely-silent-regarding-faa-rules-that-may-limit-flights/

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Its not just the bad boys that cause regulation but they do speed it up, when anything gets big someone will call for it to be regulated. Normally that means you pay in the form of licences, tests or whatever and it becomes elite.

Terry

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We've all been anticipating the new FAA regulations (for the testing and licensing of commercial drones) that are suppose to be in place by 2015. But that's not what the latest FAA incident is about. They didn't release any new regulations. Instead, they decided to reinterpret some of the existing guidelines handed to them in 2012 (FAA Reauthorization Act).

It's like the FAA opened a cheap bag of potato chips, saw one that kind of looked like Jesus, and then told the world that divine power gave profound new meaning to the words printed on the bag.

OK, not exactly like that. But pretty close. :)

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Things in law are never clear, thats why lawyers make so much money.

Terry

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FAA Grants 60 day Comment Extension at the Request of AMA (new deadline is Sep 23 2014)
Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2078994#ixzz38VOubMmO

The public comment count is now close to 30K entries. Given the FAA's small staff it will probably be a challenge for them to read and digest it all (which probably means they won't read every public comment). Plus I wonder if the high response count is a record breaker for them. And I wonder if they will ever admit their recent actions were a milestone fail and restore their broken relationship with the AMA. It all feels like a bad 1980's daytime soap opera.

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It will be interesting to see how things end after all the shouting has stopped. The main problem as I see it is that these aircraft are not safe to be flown in public areas.

Terry

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Geez, I didn't see this coming:

http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars/index.cfm/go/document.information/documentid/22425

Here's a direct link to the AC 91-57 Model Aircraft Standards Advisory cancellation request:

http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/Cancellation_Memo_AC_91-57.pdf

In case you are not up to speed, AC 91-57 is a safety advisory document for USA R/C modelers. It was released back in 1981 and it has been an important document to AMA members. Long story short, today the FAA has proposed to cancel the advisory. It appears that they feel it has been superseded by new rules. That is to say, the same new rules that they interpreted to not allow us to do things we are legally allowed to do.

Here is a copy of the AC 91-57 advisory:

http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/91-57.pdf

I keep hoping to see a ray of sunshine from the FAA, but things seem to be getting worse. I wonder what the AMA is thinking about this new memo; I suspect the AMA's legal counsel has been busy today! BTW, I hate to talk politics on the forum since this site is really intended for technical discussion. But the FAA's recent behavior has been hard to ignore.

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I keep hoping to see a ray of sunshine from the FAA, but things seem to be getting worse

Well Im expecting all FPV to be banned at model level and it only to be allowed under licence.

Terry

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Hmm. The FAA announced that they canceled the cancellation of AC 91-57. For now.

http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amagov/2014/10/14/ac-91-57-cancelled-in-error/

From the AMA site:

"FAA does plan to cancel AC 91-57 in order to reconcile the outdated AC with current sUAS policy and the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft” provided by Congress as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. However, this will occur at a later date and will be accompanied by additional information and an explanation as to the reason for the cancellation."

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The FAA is a bunch of ninnies. In 2006 they fatally injured the burgeoning cottage industry of "Aerial Photography from RC Aircraft" with their and 10 years later this may be a coup de gras.

I've long since given up being either hopeful or offended by this. I'll wait til the dust settles and see where we end up.

:(

--Bill

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FAA released their NPRM last week regarding sUAS. A press release from the AMA: http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amagov/2015/02/19/faa-releases-notice-of-proposed-rulemaking-nprm/

It seems to be much friendlier to hobby activities than expected. At the other extreme, the proposed regs have a serious impact to the Amazon style of commercial package delivery. In the middle, commercial photography is allowed (but requires a basic registration process).

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Thanks, Thomas. Good that AMA is birddogging this instead of hiding their head in the sand.

Don't mean to sound bitter-- lets stay HAPPY and POSITIVE on this. I'm glad they sound friendlier. I like pitbulls with wagging tails...

Sorry. I do havbe a colb and it's sleeting...

:)

--Bill

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