098 The FAA debacle

by FliteTest | December 16, 2015 | (5) Posted in Podcasts

Join Chris,Wayne,Mike and special guest Fred Provost as they discuss the biggest topic in the RC flight community,the Federal Aviation Administration's new small UAS Registration rule. Make sure to check out the article that Austin posted called FAA RC registration FAQ for more indepth information.



Audio Link

official press release from the FAA

FAA registration facts

the change.org petition

Flitetest FAA registration facts article

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bmosinski on December 16, 2015
Excellent discussion. Bottom line with anything the government creates is follow the money $$$. Keep the great podcasts coming!
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Fearless FPV on December 16, 2015
I really hope this gets changed... it's completely unacceptable.
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mnhs2006 on December 16, 2015
Did Congress passes this or just a regulation out of the FAA.
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PeterGregory on December 16, 2015
"Just" the FAA... Who is funded by Ways and Means Committee of Congress.
1. Call your Congressperson.
2. Write your Congressperson

AMA better step up or lose all relevance.
FAA is way over-reaching and by this account by FT After Hours has lost already, by being so ridiculous. Doesn't anyone in FAA fly RC!!!
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anonymoose on December 19, 2015
I am not going to get a FAA 'secret code', so if I order something from FT, will I go to jail for 3 years? Or should I have my kids, who are under age 13, order for me?
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PeterGregory on December 16, 2015
I got that same dumb car insurance thing from AMA. #&^$%!!!!
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PeterGregory on December 16, 2015
change.org petitions - we have to get a whole lot more people on these:

Change.org petitions
1. 503 supporters so far


2. 138 supporters, so far.

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andrewf on December 21, 2015
I can't access the links because they were truncated
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r2wjax on December 16, 2015
Who's paying for this?
Tax payers are. And the funding for the "task force"? That one that came to the conclusion we "need to register" ( in order to educate ? ) ? What do "they" take us for? Funding for their new "web based registration system"? Where did the money come from for that? Something else of interest... how much money does the FCC rake in every month? Every phone lines is taxed, interstate communications is taxed... I tried to figure it out once, but it was overwhelming. We need a Trey Gowdy looking into this...

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c.sitas on December 16, 2015
In my mind the money hungry industry did this to use .Sell millions of super cheap crap, and get millions more interested to spend millions more . It's a win ,win , for them Most of the rc crowd , on most of the forums agree. It's not the rc planes that done the damage.They mostly say it's the uneducated quad operators.Let's face it , how many complaints have you seen about some foamie flying over a big ten game ,ect.
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r2wjax on December 16, 2015
You did not mention FPV... the way I read it... they have made flying FPV illegal, or am I misinterpreting the following?

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(c)(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.
2 Such devices would limit the operator’s field of view thereby
1 For purposes of the visual line of sight requirement, “operator” means the person manipulating the model
aircraft’s controls.
2 The FAA is aware that at least one community-based organization permits “first person view” (FPV)
operations during which the hobbyist controls the aircraft while wearing goggles that display images
transmitted from a camera mounted in the front of the model aircraft. While the intent of FPV is to provide

a simulation of what a pilot would see from the flight deck of a manned aircraft, the goggles may obstruct an operator’s
vision, thereby preventing the operator from keeping the model aircraft within his or her visual line of sight at all times.
3 In construing statutory language, agencies should assume that the ordinary meaning of the language accurately
expresses the legislative purpose of Congress. Agencies are also permitted to presume that Congress was aware of the
agencies’ administrative or adjudicative interpretations of certain terms and intended to adopt those meanings. See
BedRoc Ltd. v. U.S., 541 U.S. 176, 183 (2004); see also Haig v. Agee, 453 U.S. 280, 300 (1981); Lorillard v. Pons, 434
U.S. 575, 580-81 (1978).

pages 8 and 9

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SimplyDoug on December 17, 2015
The initial registration fee is low until the FAA has established precedent for RC registration. Then the noose tightens. Gangster government in action.
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PropSpinner on December 17, 2015
For me, it's a matter of deciding if I'm going to stay in the hobby or not. If I do stay in the hobby am I only going to fly micro aircraft and indoors? I do not want to be on any government list where, if a crime is committed, I'm one of the first people that they will look for. Like in so many instances the government turns law-abiding citizens into criminals. It might take the hobby years to recover from this decision.

Does anyone want to buy some gently used aircraft over .55 pounds?
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The-One-Who-Never-Crashes on December 17, 2015
Don't succumb to their idiocy! Continue doing what you do (lawfully!).
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bigrocketnerd on December 18, 2015
I will until mandatory insurance laws kick in.
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Maingear on December 17, 2015
The age registration acquirement would have been for any age if not for FTC's COPPA law.

The primary goal of COPPA is to place parents in control over what information is collected from their young children online. The Rule was designed to protect children under age 13 while accounting for the dynamic nature of the Internet. The Rule applies to operators of commercial websites and online services (including mobile apps) directed to children under 13 that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children, and operators of general audience websites or online services with actual knowledge that they are collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13
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SimplyDoug on December 17, 2015
What used to be called Unidentified Flying Objects are now being reported as Drones.
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FlyTexas! on December 17, 2015
This is a bit anecdotal and in no way exhaustive, based on internet searches for drone incidents and green laser incidents, but it is apparent that with about 5 times as many laser incidents as drone incidents (all FAA reported) Big Brother should probably be requiring registration of green lasers.

Laser - Dallas Morning News:
The FAA is looking at a record number of strikes this year: 5,352 were reported nationwide as of Oct. 16, up from 3,894 for all of 2014. The D-FW area has seen a record 115 laser strike reports as of Oct. 16, up from about 85 for all of last year.

Drone - Washington Post:
Pilots have reported a surge in close calls with drones: nearly 700 incidents so far this year (August), according to FAA statistics, about triple the number recorded for all of 2014.
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The-One-Who-Never-Crashes on December 17, 2015
Why not just educate people? It's not that people want to do bad things; it's just that most don't know how and/or are so excited about their drone that they do foolish things.
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TurboNinjaStix on December 17, 2015
The sad part is that this has only further segregated the rc pilot community within itself. The petition I saw on change.org seems to say," Don't count us AMA members in with those dronies". In other words, it creates an "Us vs. Them" mentality between multirotor pilots and everyone else. Even my local heli group has adopted that attitude. What's more, the problem the registration is supposed to address is the prevention of ignorant or nefarious pilots from flying recklessly or illegally. But there are no protections FOR the registered pilot. Like Chris said, qhat is the benefit? If someone doesn't register, either purposely or not, commits a crime, and IF the craft is recovered, who do they go after? Or worse, a criminal obtains the number of a legitimate pilot and uses THAT on their craft, who now has the burden of proof? Utterly ridiculous. I can see some kind of transponder technology being required next. At the expense of the pilot, of course. As for the fpv racing hobby, I would suggest to just move races indoors and use "race band", thereby avoiding government involvement. No HAM license required: no FCC, indoor racing: no FAA. Put up nets: no danger to people. Perhaps a literal underground league. AMA membership optional. 😐
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anonymoose on December 17, 2015
Flite Test has a huge following, and I think you should be discouraging people from registering.

Congress passed Code Section 336 titled FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Section 336 specifically stated the “FAA may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding model aircraft if 1) flown for hobby or recreation; 2)aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based and nationwide set of safety guidelines; and 3) the aircraft does not exceed 55 lbs...”.

When the Task Force meeting convened, the FAA opened by informing all participants that the assumption moving forward was that the FAA HAD THE AUTHORITY TO REQUIRE REGISTRATION and the SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT WOULD NOT BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT, thereby shutting down AMA's argument at the beginning. AMA should have walked out of the meeting and filed an injunction to stop the FAA from moving forward with the regulations, and notify Congress of the FAA's intent.

The FAA from the outset knew they were regulating CONTRARY TO CONGRESS' INTENT to exempt hobby model aircraft.

Instead of caving in like a bunch of sheep, we need to fight back against this unlawful action.

We need to inform Congress that we are a significant industry, which generates and pays taxes, we vote, and we are one voice.

I would incourage all modellers to not register – by registering, you are legitimizing the FAA with the power to rule over us. By registering, you are entering into a contract with the FAA, and thereby opening the door for more rule making.

Do not be fooled by the 30 day free, then $5 registration fee. Next time it could be $50, then $250, then they announce that there are not enough modellers for this program, and exclude hobby flying all together. Later they may require that we register every model, every component, and require vendors to establish registration prior to selling you a servo, esc etc., putting the burden on the vendors to track sales and maintain a federally accessible database.This will put many vendor's out of business.

This action by the FAA is nothing more than to create a greater need for the FAA and increase their taxpayer funded budget.

Unfortunately, the AMA did not represent its 185,000 members by walking out of the task force meeting, instead they taught the FAA how to regulate the hobby (e.g. weight restrictions, numbers inside of our 'toy' airplanes.)

I suggest that modellers should NOT attend the AMA expo, should cancel their AMA membership (or ask for a refund if already renewed), and any lifetime members ask for a refund of their contribution, and show the AMA that we are a force, and we do not accept the AMA's failure to protect our rights. Isn't that why we joined the AMA? We relied on the AMA to protect our hobby, and we could have accomplished more without them. Did you stop to think why the AMA offered an early discount for renewal, before the FAA released their regulations? Coincidence in timing? I think not.

If the FAA registration website begins operation on 12/21/15, that means they have been working on it for a while, and the AMA has been misleading its members regarding their working with the FAA to protect our right to fly.

If no one registers, the FAA rule making will fail, just like obamacare is failing.

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Larry Laitner on December 21, 2015
Look at the FAA registration website that went live today.
To register you have to click the "register my drone" button. If you click "learn more/examples" you will see nothing but drones. It looks like they are only registering drones, perhaps due to AMA efforts. My suggestion is to not register to fly fixed wing RC airplanes since these are clearly not drones. If the FAA intended fixed wing RC airplanes to register they would not have used the word "drone" in this way. Unless they are complete idiots, of course.
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skyliner on December 18, 2015
The phrasing makes this rule invalid. On point of lift off no flying vehicle has a weight. Weight is the product of mass and acceleration due to gravity. Since flying requires to overcome the acceleration due to gravity, there is no weight upon lift off.
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bigrocketnerd on December 18, 2015
Science classes, and adequate definitions of "weight" were necessary to make the law more solid. It is covered by the all up weight PRIOR to takeoff. This still does not address a 1000 pound blimp with enough lifting gas to make the 'weight' of the craft exactly .55 lbs. For the law to be truly "safe" they should have looked up kinetic energy.
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Digital Wolf on December 18, 2015
What if i take a plane or quad with me from the Netherlands to the US and i go fly at a event like FliteFest what then? I cant register because i dont live in the US. What then?
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mrstamp80 on December 19, 2015
So just to clarify, (sarcasm) everytime i have a bad landing and break a prop, get stuck in a tree, I better call the NTSB for a full investigation. If you are gonna treat it as a aircraft, then maybe we all should call in the NTSB everytime i break a prop etc.. for an explanation of why it crashed. Sounds like thats my plan. Maybe if we flood the phones everyday to the NTSB/FAA they would rethink this real quick.

On a side note, I called the FAA uas line, and asked "If i fly with my registered drone, and my neighbor doesn't like it and somehow shoots it down with gun/bow/etc.. What is HIS penalty?"
FAA response "that would become a ground local law enforcement."
My response, "If it's now a FAA treated aircraft would that not be the same as taking down a 747?" Or life in prison?
FAA " Again that would be local ground law enforcement"
Me " So , now it's not consider to be a faa/ntsb problem"
FAA " Sir, you could e-mail me and I could find out a more definitive answer"
Seriously now it doesn't want to be treated as a faa regulated aircraft. Come on get it together. I would like to hear what the FT after hours thinks of that? Thanks
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andrewf on December 21, 2015
Even better, Gizmodo is reporting that the FAA Registry will be searchable by the PUBLIC, INCLUDING NAMES AND ADDRESSES.

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yehudah on December 21, 2015
All of this, is cause you voted for obama for 2 terms, don't make that mistake again
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KuManChu on December 22, 2015
The thought of this registration process really sickens me. I was up most of the night thinking more about it, and it angered me more and more. I thought that we lived in the land of the free and where you are innocent until proven guilty! Through this registration process, I feel like they are putting serial numbers on us as if we are inmates that have already committed crimes. With this new process my modeling RC aircraft requires more accountability than the firearms I own. Branding us and labeling us in society like this, in my mind is ridiculous! They are saying they are promoting safety, however I believe they are scaring us to learn the law with the outrageous $27,500 fines. This is not the way to establish safety or learn laws. It will scare people out of the hobby. Who wants to jump through these kind of hoops for a hobby? I am also surprised how many people (liberals) are so quick to want to be regulated like sheep and let the government or FAA take care of us! Even though the RC modeling community was growing, we are still a minority group with not much voice in the grand scheme of this country. Therefore we will be taken advantage of in this manner and I think it will continue to get worse before it ever gets better. These knee jerk reactions seem to be the way of the future.
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Freetail on December 23, 2015
I think the thought of hobby shops partnering up with the AMA/FAA won't work. Hobby shops are a business and they are more concerned with getting sales than informing the walk-in customer of the rules and regulations. And honestly, the reason most of the Phantoms being sold in Best Buys is because in some areas there is no local hobby shop. I have two in my hometown and they are usually *far* overpriced and the staff could literally care less if someone comes in to buy something. Every time I've walked in, I'm not even given so much as a "hi" or "hello"...the staff look up from whatever they seem to be reading, and give a "oh it's you" look. You'd think that with a hobby store having a lot of inventory would be eager to get product off the shelves, but apparently they don't seem to care one way or another.
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Old Ed on January 7, 2016
The following has been on the AMA website since December:

Hold Off On Registering

On Wednesday, December 16 the AMA Executive Council unanimously approved an action plan to relieve and further protect our members from unnecessary and burdensome regulations. This plan addresses the recently announced interim rule requiring federal registration of pilots who fly model aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems (UASa) weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds.

AMA has long used a similar registration system with our members, which we pointed out during the task force deliberations and in private conversations with the FAA. As you are aware, AMA’s safety program instructs all members to place his or her AMA number or name and address on or within their model aircraft, effectively accomplishing the safety and accountability objectives of the interim rule. AMA has also argued that the new registration rule runs counter to Congress’ intent in Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, otherwise known as the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft.”

The Council is considering all legal and political remedies to address this issue. We believe that resolution to the unnecessary federal registration rule for our members rests with AMA’s petition before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. This petition, filed in August 2014, asks the court to review the FAA’s interpretation of the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft.” The central issue is whether the FAA has the authority to expand the definition of aircraft to include model aircraft; thus, allowing the agency to establish new standards and operating criteria to which model aircraft operators have never been subject to in the past.

In promulgating its interim rule for registration earlier this week, the FAA repeatedly stated that model aircraft are aircraft, despite the fact that litigation is pending on this very question. The Council believes the FAA’s reliance on its interpretation of Section 336 for legal authority to compel our members to register warrants the Court’s immediate attention to AMA’s petition.

While we continue to believe that registration makes sense at some threshold and for flyers operating outside of a community-based organization or flying for commercial purposes, we also strongly believe our members are not the problem and should not have to bear the burden of additional regulations. Safety has been the cornerstone of our organization for 80 years and AMA’s members strive to be a part of the solution.

As we proceed with this process, we suggest AMA members hold off on registering their model aircraft with the FAA until advised by the AMA or until February 19, the FAA’s legal deadline for registering.

Holding off on registration will allow AMA time to fully consider all possible options. On a parallel track, it also allows AMA to complete ongoing conversations with the FAA about how best to streamline the registration process for our members.

In the near future, we will also be asking our members to make their voices heard by submitting comments to the FAA’s interim rule on registration. We will follow-up soon with more detailed information on how to do this.

Thank you for your continued support of AMA. We will provide you with more updates as they become available.

Kind regards,
The AMA Executive Council
Bob Brown, AMA President
Gary Fitch, AMA Executive Vice President
Andy Argenio, AMA Vice President, District I
Eric Williams, AMA Vice President, District II
Mark Radcliff, AMA Vice President, District III
Jay Marsh, AMA Vice President, District IV
Kris Dixon, AMA Vice President, District V
Randy Cameron, AMA Vice President, District VI
Tim Jesky, AMA Vice President, District VII
Mark Johnston, AMA Vice President, District VIII
Jim Tiller, AMA Vice President, District IX
Lawrence Tougas, AMA Vice President, District X
Chuck Bower, AMA Vice President, District XI

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Solx on February 3, 2016

bought mine at toys r us (its a toy)
can not use it indoors
does not fly over 100 feet (tree top)
it is not a drone (carries no payload does not go beyond my sight always in my control)
this is my private enjoyment of life. ( USA Constitution)
5-10 minute flight time
does not fly very fast. (i can out run it on my bicycle)
i want to take it into the wilderness. (all wilderness land is federal property not state)

and finally i am not going to register for this interferes with my harmonious enjoyment of life unobstructed. cause damage? no that is a civil law not one with criminal remedies and not a law that the federal government can judicate. if i buy into this idea then i am admitting that the USA constitution is wrong. i took an OATH to protect the constitution to my death both foreign and domestic. i may be retired and honorably discharged. that does not mean my Oath i took also retired.

in regards to photo taking, the law is very clear that an area where one is not expected to privacy. those that register their toys are supporting a change in the constitutionality of that highly adjudicated law. where the door will then become open to any form of photo taking to become illegal. (Foot in the door - metaphorically to change laws)
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Solx on February 3, 2016
as a post script:

my private opinion
i am sure someone is going to make a bumper sticker now. you can have my toys when you take it from my cold dead hand. Realy??? this is what we are coming to? not even our toys are legal?
Any decision in government takes a long time to iron out. i feel this is being done for they can not come to an consensus of what is wrong and what is correct. in legislation the term is "Preemptive Strike" most all bills of that type are tabled, meaning dead. the FAA knows it congress knows it, and now so do we. the private person trying to enjoy life. however. if the FAA is part of the Executive branch of our government they can bypass congress and make the rules up as they go along.
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Solx on February 3, 2016
post script again;

i just wanted to clarify the orders of the executive branch decisions. and that is Congress may not seek amendments to executive orders until a 6 month time period has been reached. it is at that time where Congress can argue the Constitutionality of such orders and kill or make amendments.

so according to the FAA's web site that the orders are commissioned on february 19th. then people have 6 months from that time to enlist their congress representatives to produce new bills for constitutional consideration. i would also suspect this would be a good time to start getting signatures. potential lobbyists would come from the toy industry and the electronic industries. after all the FAA is cutting into their piece of the pie.

as i listened into your podcast it has disturbed me in many respects. i only point out my opinions here. in that it sounds like my freedom of enjoyment of life is being chipped away. i worry that in the future if i get a brown paper bag from the grocery store and a few things from the hobby store and make a hot air balloon i committed a crime. would even just thinking about it also be a criminal offense to have some fun on a lazy sunday afternoon?
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098 The FAA debacle