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Old Feb 19, 2007, 06:22 PM
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FAA & AMA and 400 foot max altitude

I'd like to separate out the 400 foot max altitude (AGL)piece of several different discussions.

As I understand the current status the FAA has reaffirmed that model airplanes should not fly higher than 400 feet AGL. The AMA is still currently operating with the "understanding" that 400 feet only applies within 3 miles of an airport. A number of their current approved events break the FAA rule.

To some extent this has impact on AP flying.

For many model fliers hardline on 400 feet AGL will take most of the joy out of flying. Gliders, model rockets, some aerobatics, free flight, and some AP will all be impacted.

Where is this likely to end up? Is the AMA currently working with the FAA on this old unresolved issue?

R/E
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 06:35 PM
Professor of Wood
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Nampa. Idaho
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You might do best to contact the AMA about that. I do know that Model Rockets are covered under FAR-101.

Personally I think the 400 foot deck set back when the AC first came out was probably never adhered too. The AMA recognized early on that 400 feet wasn't a practical ceiling.

Aerobatic flying, Jet flying, Glider flying, Sport flying, Free flight aircraft all exceed that altitude on a daily basis. Most people that fly at flying fields recognize that they can fly as far as it's reasonable to see and stay oriented with one's plane or Helicopter.

I donít think the FAA has put out anything with respect to changing rules for Hobby Flying. That is one that I truly believe should be left alone though.

The AMA does not recognize the commercial applications we seek, and donít fall under the current UAS rules that the FAA put out.

Dan
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 06:55 PM
Not THAT Ira
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Dan,
If anything your understating.
I watch the jet guys at the local AMA field exceed 400ft on every pass all day long!
Don't get me wrong, they ARE being safe. The field is owned by the US Navy and lent to the club for fly ins. It is also in the middle of nowhere. and attempting to fly those jets always under 400ft would be MUCH more unsafe.
What gripes my cookies is that for a lot of us who WERE doing pro AP the 400ft limit is a non issue. (I know it is a critical one for your AG survey work though)
To get very pretty real estate shots I almost never had to go over 300ft and this goes for a lot of other operators as well.

To not go wandering off of R/E's topic though.
Where I can see the recent hammer drop applies to the hobby guys is the sponsored/paid rep and demo guys working for manufacturers.
They had probably best not cash there paychecks till this is cleared up.

Ira
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Real Ira
To not go wandering off of R/E's topic though.
Where I can see the recent hammer drop applies to the hobby guys is the sponsored/paid rep and demo guys working for manufacturers.
They had probably best not cash there paychecks till this is cleared up.

Ira
I don't know and I don't care actually. It sounds like sour grapes to try to say those guys are getting away with something that we can't. They are company employees getting paid to demonstrate products. I don't think the FAA sees them in the same light as us. They also fly under the AMA umbrella. They also donít take off and land in neighborhoods and business districts.

I think we are better served trying to take care of our own concerns than trying to put Hobby organizations under the microscope.

As a long time AMA member Iíve grown rather tired of the people that can't see, won't see or can't differentiate between what we are doing from what a Hobby organization is doing. We have our own fish to fry.

Lets all let the AMA and hobby guys alone already. They donít fall into the UAS class even if they are a paid company rep.

Dan
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 07:43 PM
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A 400 ft. limit is a realistic limit for operation within 3 to 5 miles if an airport and is a concession to the safety and first rights of approaching full size aircraft.

However several branches of model flying including R/C Glider classses of cross country, Thermal duration, Electric sailplane and the International F3B, F3J and F3E classes regularly launch to heights of 700 to 800 ft on normal launches. These are AMA recognized and supported classes. Also free flight Open Class power models and international F1C classes typically reach 600 ft + on launch. The imposition of a national 400 ft. ceiling limit would automatically ban these national and international classes and would even prevent US teams from practicing for International and World Championships events.
It is time to take a rational and objective look at why there needs to be an altitude restriction. I don't think any reasonable model flier would object to a 400 ft limit in the proximity to airports, but outside these limits there should not be altitude limitations.
John O'Sullivan
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 07:45 PM
I fly low, I'm in high demand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd7ost
They donít fall into the UAS class even if they are a paid company rep.

Dan
Dan,
From the way I understood it they too are no longer "legal" . They are recievieng money for flying an RC aircraft which by definition is a UAS. I have to agree with Ira. I also believe that a competition pilot that recieves sponsorship money or merchandise as compensation is also out of luck here. I think the list of people affected by this is a lot bigger then just commercial ap guys.
john
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 07:48 PM
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Wait a minute.... the newest FAA stuff says that "model airplanes" will fly under 400 feet AGL. That includes non commercial AP as well as all the aforementioned "AMA" classes. The two organizations have two sets of rules. While not a new problem, how can this continue? If I belong to AMA and meet their guidelines, including not charging for photos, I can fly AP missions at ... let's say 1,000 feet AGL?

If I don't belong to AMA I must adhere to FAA model airplane rules of 400 feet?

R/E
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 07:54 PM
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Gee, if all you guys are so mad about this FAA thing, then you should all get together and file a class action suit against the FAA. Infringing on your rights to fly AP commercially, as well as for any pursuit using a model aircraft for compensation should be plenty of cause for the action. A few dozen of you guys should be able to spread the cost out enough to do it. I say GO FOR IT because it just keeps getting better.

Maco Man
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd7ost
As a long time AMA member Iíve grown rather tired of the people that can't see, won't see or can't differentiate between what we are doing from what a Hobby organization is doing. We have our own fish to fry.

Lets all let the AMA and hobby guys alone already.
Dan
Interesting logic. I see two sets of rules concerning max altitude for "model airplanes". I'm now tallking of non-commercial AP, which is the roots of this Forum.

Which rule as a "long-time" AMA member am I to follow? All AMA legal flying is not done at AMA sanctioned fields or events.

R/E
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdman11787
Dan,
From the way I understood it they too are no longer "legal" . They are recievieng money for flying an RC aircraft which by definition is a UAS. I also believe that a competition pilot that recieves sponsorship money or merchandise as compensation is also out of luck here. I think the list of people affected by this is a lot bigger then just commercial ap guys.
john
That may be, I actually haven't seen anything from the AMA, FAA or manufacturers regarding this. But that be as it may,

There are millions of pilots flying RC planes.

A very few of them are putting camera's on and taking pictures for fun.

Of those few, there are even smaller numbers selling their pictures for profit.

I'm thinking the factory rep flyers in the country can be counted on two or three hands. They represent a small amount of advertising dollars for companies like Futaba and JR.

They might be out of work in the end but I haven't seen anything tangible on that. I respect you highly so want to state carefully that I have grave doubts that the factory Demo pilots fall under the recent FAA rulings. If I end up being wrong about that in the end I will be humble about being wrong. It would be easier to see something in writing from a reliable source about the issue.

But again, they represent a very very small group of RC Pilots and like I said in my previous post, we have bigger fish to fry.

Dan
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rud-elev
Wait a minute.... the newest FAA stuff says that "model airplanes" will fly under 400 feet AGL. That includes non commercial AP as well as all the aforementioned "AMA" classes. The two organizations have two sets of rules. While not a new problem, how can this continue? If I belong to AMA and meet their guidelines, including not charging for photos, I can fly AP missions at ... let's say 1,000 feet AGL?

If I don't belong to AMA I must adhere to FAA model airplane rules of 400 feet?

R/E

I guess everyone knew in the back of their minds that AMA pilots fly higher than 400 feet. It's been a functional (poor choice of analogies perhaps) but a "don't ask don't tell". I have seen years of happy co-existence though. I think if you wanted to pursue it to the end, it is possible that someone will drop the boom. I've learned very slowly in life that I can live with a little gray area. (As well as very little gray matter )

I need to state that these comments pertain to AMA Hobby type flying for me. I would hate to be the person that causes any AMA club to lose their sanction if some guy flew in excess of 400 feet at the club site.

How bad do you need a black and white answer?

Dan
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 08:10 PM
Not THAT Ira
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Coupeville, Wa
Joined Jan 2006
4,722 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by kd7ost
I don't know and I don't care actually. It sounds like sour grapes to try to say those guys are getting away with something that we can't. They are company employees getting paid to demonstrate products. I don't think the FAA sees them in the same light as us. They also fly under the AMA umbrella. They also donít take off and land in neighborhoods and business districts.

I think we are better served trying to take care of our own concerns than trying to put Hobby organizations under the microscope.

As a long time AMA member Iíve grown rather tired of the people that can't see, won't see or can't differentiate between what we are doing from what a Hobby organization is doing. We have our own fish to fry.

Lets all let the AMA and hobby guys alone already. They donít fall into the UAS class even if they are a paid company rep.

Dan
I didn't intend to sound like sour grapes. (guess I kind of did though)
My point is that they should be looking over their shoulder ie...taking a vested interest in what is going on here with this.
Getting a few more to see that there living may be stake here with respect to the issues involved can only help.

Ira
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 08:17 PM
Professor of Wood
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Nampa. Idaho
Joined Nov 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Real Ira
I didn't intend to sound like sour grapes. (guess I kind of did though)
My point is that they should be looking over their shoulder ie...taking a vested interest in what is going on here with this.
Getting a few more to see that there living may be stake here with respect to the issues involved can only help.

Ira
OK, got it, I evidently miss understood your comments. Oh to be able to sit with everyone in a room so it can be discussed in a better fasion.

If the Big RC companies are going to get nailed, I'm sure they know it and are already taking their own steps. They have Lawyers, CEO's and a big staff that does nothing but eat live and breathe this RC stuff.

Dan
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 08:26 PM
Not THAT Ira
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A real meeting would sure work better...only if I get to choose who CAN'T attend.
Just kidding.

I'm sure your right.
I did see your remarks on the subject in the other thread and those stickers are probably being printed as we speak.
Some may have the foresight to see the long term potential of this market though. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

Ira
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Old Feb 19, 2007, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd7ost
I would hate to be the person that causes any AMA club to lose their sanction if some guy flew in excess of 400 feet at the club site.

How bad do you need a black and white answer?

Dan
I feel the need for a "black and white answer" because of potential insurance issues in the the event that my model airplane should cause extensive damage, or bodily harm, or death.

My understanding is that AMA insurance is secondary to an individual's insurance. If the FAA says that my flight altitude as a model airplane is outside of their "suggestions", it is likely that my private insurance would not pay on it.

I don't know if the AMA is self insured or uses an insurance company, but if the new attention put on this rule causes an AMA obtained insurance company to not pay due to non complaince with an FAA recommendation... I have a serious problem.

"Don't ask, don't tell" policy is for the weak and mentally challenged.

In my estimation there needs to be one rule here and I lean towards the AMA version, but the FAA appears to not be in agreement.

Again, this is for non-commercial model avaition.

R/E
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