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May 13, 2018, 10:23 AM
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Discussion

State of the law in the US?


I haven't been following this disaster for a while, but it look like a lot is going on.

Looks like the only good thing is part 107 passed, so if you want to fly sUAS as a business you're good provided you register each one separately, don't fly at night, over 400', or in any controlled airspace (without filling out a form, providing a justification, and waiting 90 days for approval... they should institute that requirement for full-sized aircraft in the air and see what happens)

It appears the AMA now claims that only members of their clubs flying at their fields/events are allowed to fly under the Special Rule. I seem to recall they were denying this up and down before.

The Commercial Drone people want the Special Rule gone and transponders on all our models. F--- you very much DJI, Amazon, Google.

If I'm reading the current proposals correctly, they keep the form of the Special Rule but gut it of content -- 400' hard ceiling (going to be tough on the soaring people), no operating in any controlled airspace without prior authorization, all FAA advisory circulars become mandatory, the FAA can make any additional rules it feels like, and while you don't need to get a license like part 107 you still need to pass the test.

Looks like flying is (if you believe the AMA) or is going to be illegal for the vast majority of us not flying in clubs real soon. They don't have nearly the enforcement capacity. There's less than 600,000 full-scale pilots and most of them follow the rules most of the time. There's over 900,000 _registered_ sUAS users under the Special Rule, and innumerable unregistered users, and except the club-only fliers, they'll be breaking the rules nearly every time they fly.

The usual method to enforce rules when you can't catch everyone is to rule by terror. Expect to see a few $250,000 fines and jail sentences handed out to someone unlucky enough to be caught when the FAA feels it wants to make an example out of someone.

Anything I've missed?
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May 13, 2018, 11:56 AM
A man with too many toys
Since we are currently in the Congressional cycle none of the above is law. There are always last minute changes when they combine the House and Senate bills.

I don't think a recreational test will happen.

I expect that 400' will not be a hard limit for recreational flying. Mainly because 99% of us have no idea how high we are flying. My sailplanes have very small fuselages and additional electronics won't fit. Everyone will say "It looks like about 390' to me".

.
May 13, 2018, 03:45 PM
It's A Great Time To Be Flying
MrEFlyer's Avatar
Actually 400' is higher than most of us fly. I have had a sailplane over 1600' and it was pretty hard to see its seven foot wingspan at that. Large planes can be seen above 400' but with so many park-flyers it seems ridiculous that they want to make these laws for recreational flying.
May 13, 2018, 05:46 PM
A man with too many toys
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrEFlyer
Actually 400' is higher than most of us fly. I have had a sailplane over 1600' and it was pretty hard to see its seven foot wingspan at that. Large planes can be seen above 400' but with so many park-flyers it seems ridiculous that they want to make these laws for recreational flying.
OK we just fly as normal and someone from the FAA will let us know if we are flying too high. So why have such a law if it's not really needed?

.
May 13, 2018, 06:14 PM
It's A Great Time To Be Flying
MrEFlyer's Avatar
I'm also quite sure we all know the FAA is not going to have someone stationed at every possible flying site across the country. FAA is not the enemy here. The law being dreamed up can never be monitored. What will be the point of it after all?
May 13, 2018, 06:16 PM
Registered User
You can thank the AMA for further aggravating the FAA with their nonsense about the 400' limit.

Nowhere in this word salad does the AMA say that by going above 400' you are venturing into where manned aircraft fly and
could possibly be entering controlled airspace.

"Q: Am I permitted to fly above 400 feet? What if I had to check a box saying otherwise on the federal registration website?"

"A: Yes. AMA members who abide by the AMA Safety Code, which permits flights above 400 feet under appropriate circumstances,
and are protected by the Special Rule for Model Aircraft under the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. Checking the box on
the federal registration webpage signifies an understanding of the 400 foot guideline. This is an important safety principle that all
UAS operators need to be aware of, and is the same guideline established in AC 91-57 published in 1981. However, the placement
of this guideline on the FAA website is intended as an educational piece and more specifically intended for those operating outside
of AMA’s safety program. You can read a letter from the FAA that recognizes our community-based safety program and flight over
400 feet by clicking here"

All the average member sees is: "Am I permitted to fly above 400 feet?" --- "Yes."
May 13, 2018, 10:48 PM
Registered User
Just pulled up the House bill as passed. Looks like the AMA got their "Join us or suck it" amendment into the bill; if it passes the Senate as-is you have to be a member of a "community-based organization" to take advantage of the Special Rule (now Section 343).

(incidentally the wording is terrible. As written you could interpret it as disallowing all model aircraft rules except registration and except BLOS operation by CBO members. This obviously isn't what is meant, though it would be great if it was; as long as you were operating outside the auspices of a CBO you could do whatever you wanted)

Other than that, they added a new section 344 which directs the FAA to come up with a new regulatory program for us plebs, but there's nothing preventing it from being as limiting as 107 except on the issue of the age of the operator.
May 13, 2018, 11:33 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler
Just pulled up the House bill as passed. Looks like the AMA got their "Join us or suck it" amendment into the bill
This amendment also passed:
May 14, 2018, 12:58 AM
Internet Pilot
fATAL's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler
Just pulled up the House bill as passed. Looks like the AMA got their "Join us or suck it" amendment into the bill; if it passes the Senate as-is you have to be a member of a "community-based organization" to take advantage of the Special Rule (now Section 343).

(incidentally the wording is terrible. As written you could interpret it as disallowing all model aircraft rules except registration and except BLOS operation by CBO members. This obviously isn't what is meant, though it would be great if it was; as long as you were operating outside the auspices of a CBO you could do whatever you wanted)

Other than that, they added a new section 344 which directs the FAA to come up with a new regulatory program for us plebs, but there's nothing preventing it from being as limiting as 107 except on the issue of the age of the operator.
Then We have to PUSH the Drone Race Leagues to make a CBO and piggy back the largest other group ....
May 14, 2018, 05:22 AM
A man with too many toys
Drone racers don't fly over 400' so why do they need to be a CBO

.
May 14, 2018, 06:18 PM
Internet Pilot
fATAL's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC Man
Drone racers don't fly over 400' so why do they need to be a CBO

.
Because they are the only other large group that is organized. Who cares about altitude! Its about countering the CBO requirement if the AMA gets its way. Make another CBO with minimal requirements.
May 14, 2018, 06:37 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFBC
This amendment also passed:
The bill drafting is even worse than I thought. Section 45509(b) conflicts directly with Section 343. The sentence "in accordance with or within the programming of a community-based set of safety guidelines" doesn't even make any sense; safety guidelines don't have programming.

I hope they clean this mess up before final passage.
May 14, 2018, 06:47 PM
BFMAC Founding Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler
The bill drafting is even worse than I thought. Section 45509(b) conflicts directly with Section 343. The sentence "in accordance with or within the programming of a community-based set of safety guidelines" doesn't even make any sense; safety guidelines don't have programming.

I hope they clean this mess up before final passage.
If you're an 'AMA or no way' sort, it is worse. I'm not, so the ''or" is the keyword for me.
May 14, 2018, 06:51 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by abel pranger
If you're an 'AMA or no way' sort, it is worse. I'm not, so the ''or" is the keyword for me.
I meant worse in the sense that it's self-contradictory and written poorly, not worse in the sense of the content. There's one section that says models MAY NOT be regulated EXCEPT under this set of conditions, notwithstanding everything else. Then there's another section which says models MAY be regulated except under this DIFFERENT set of conditions. That's the sort of thing that leads to court battles.

As for AMA, I've been saying for years that the AMA just wants to force everyone into joining, and AMA apologists have been swearing up and down that isn't so; now they've proven me right, even if they haven't succeeded.
May 14, 2018, 06:59 PM
BFMAC Founding Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler
I meant worse in the sense that it's self-contradictory and written poorly, not worse in the sense of the content. There's one section that says models MAY NOT be regulated EXCEPT under this set of conditions, notwithstanding everything else. Then there's another section which says models MAY be regulated except under this DIFFERENT set of conditions. That's the sort of thing that leads to court battles.

As for AMA, I've been saying for years that the AMA just wants to force everyone into joining, and AMA apologists have been swearing up and down that isn't so; now they've proven me right, even if they haven't succeeded.
Got it, and pretty much in agreement with you with that clarification.


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