Just promulgated by the FAA

1. PURPOSE. This advisory circular (AC) provides guidance to persons operating Unmanned Aircraft (UA) for hobby or recreation purposes meeting the statutory definition of “model aircraft” contained in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. This AC describes means by which model aircraft may be operated safely in the National Airspace System (NAS). Nothing in this AC changes the requirement to comply with the statute or any applicable regulations.

2. APPLICABILITY. This AC provides information for any person who engages in model aircraft operations using model aircraft as defined by statute. (See paragraph 6.)

3. REFERENCES. Title 49 U.S.C. § 40101; P.L. 112-95 (126 Stat. 77 et seq.).

4. RELATED MATERIAL (current editions).

 Subtitle VII of Title 49, United States Code (49 USC)

 Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR)

 Subtitle B of Public Law 112-95 (Feb. 14, 2012)

 Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)

 Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) listing: http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html

 Aeronautical Navigation Products (Charts): http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/

 Notices to Airman: https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/notices/

5. CANCELLATION. AC 91-57, Model Aircraft Operating Standards, dated June 9, 1981, is cancelled.

6. MODEL AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS. a. Terminology. (1) 49 USC § 40102 defines an aircraft as “any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air.” 14 CFR § 1.1 defines an aircraft as “a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.”

(2) Public Law 112-95 defines unmanned aircraft as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft. (3) Section 336 of P.L. 112-95 defines a model aircraft as an unmanned aircraft that is capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere, flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft, and flown only for hobby or recreational purposes.

b. Model Aircraft Hazards in the NAS. While aero-modelers generally are concerned about safety and exercise good judgment when flying model aircraft for the hobby and recreational purposes for which they are intended, they may share the airspace in which manned aircraft are operating. Unmanned aircraft, including model aircraft, may pose a hazard to manned aircraft in flight and to persons and property on the surface if not operated safely. Model aircraft operations that endanger the safety of the National Airspace System, particularly careless or reckless operations or those that interfere with or fail to give way to any manned aircraft may be subject to FAA enforcement action.

c. Determination of “Model Aircraft” Status. Whether a given unmanned aircraft operation may be considered a “model aircraft operation” is determined with reference to section 336 of Public Law 112-95:

(1) The aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;

(2) The aircraft operates in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization (CBO);

(3) The aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds, unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a CBO;

(4) The aircraft operates in a manner that does not interfere with, and gives way to, any manned aircraft; and

(5) When flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the model aircraft provides the airport operator or the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation. Model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport).

d. Public Law 112-95 recognizes the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the National Airspace System. Accordingly, model aircraft operators must comply with any Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR). TFRs are issued over specific locations due to disasters, or for reasons of national security; or when determined necessary for the management of air traffic in the vicinity of aerial demonstrations or major sporting events. Do not operate model aircraft in designated areas until the TFR is no longer in force.

Model aircraft must not operate in Prohibited Areas, Special Flight Rule Areas or, the Washington National Capital Region Flight Restricted Zone, without specific authorization. Such areas are depicted on charts available at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/. Additionally, model aircraft operators should be aware of other Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) which address operations near locations such as military or other federal facilities, certain stadiums, power plants, electric substations, dams, oil refineries, national parks, emergency, services and other industrial complexes. In addition to the previously mentioned link, information regarding published NOTAMS can be found at: https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic /publications/notices/.

The requirement to not fly within TFRs, or other circumstances where prohibited, would apply to operation of model aircraft that would otherwise comply with section 336 of Public Law 112-95.

e. Model aircraft operators should follow best practices including limiting operations to 400 feet above ground level (AGL).

f. All other operators and for additional information on Unmanned Aircraft Systems please visit: http://www.faa.gov/uas/ .

Elizabeth L. Ray Vice President, Mission Support Services Air Traffic Organization

Get your fresh copy here

http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars/index.cf...

Views: 1275

Comment by Gary McCray on September 2, 2015 at 6:04pm

I've always had a lot to say on this subject, but in this case I think that the FAA has done an unusually good job of handling this - finally.

It is actually interesting how the FAA has softened the wording related to airport proximity, 400 feet AGL and 55lbs to include alternate interpretations and possibilities.

I notice also that FPV was not mentioned anywhere although maintenance of Visual Line of Sight was which is also I believe left purposely as a somewhat gray area as opposed to their previous stance that FPV was simply banned outright.

All of this is in line with the original "use" of RC airplanes which the FAA was in no uncertain terms told to not contravene.

It has taken them a long time to come to this and  the change of leadership for this part of the FAA a year and half ago has no doubt helped.

While I don't necessarily think it is ideal for our "hobby" needs, it isn't bad and I don't honestly think we could expect more.

So though it pains me to say it - "Good job FAA."

I do expect some other voices to pop in here both for and against.

Best regards,

Gary

Comment by Andrew Rabbitt on September 2, 2015 at 6:07pm

It's worth noting that the "A" in "AC" stands for advisory

Comment by John Dennings on September 2, 2015 at 6:12pm

Sort of ironic that this new Advisory uses Public Law  112-95, section 336 definitions of model aircraft, when that document defines the term to specifically bar the FAA from regulating  said model aircraft.

And for those, the only thing it is  saying is  “should follow best practices including limiting operations to 400 feet”.

Commercially flown, or FPV/BLOS flown model aircraft do not meet that definition, btw, so this advisory is irrelevant to those. Still a mess ...

------

112-95, SEC. 336. SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including this subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft, if—

(1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;

[...]

(c) MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘‘model

aircraft’’ means an unmanned aircraft that is—

(1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;

(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating

the aircraft; and

(3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

Comment by Gary McCray on September 2, 2015 at 6:55pm

I agree John,

It basically looks like it is stating a position of being in compliance with the 336 Special rule while reiterating each of the circumstances to indicate that it can take action when it deems necessary.

A very careful job of pussyfooting around 336.

Previously the FAA was taking the position of regulating and disallowing all FPV within LOS as well as beyond it and trying to establish that even within line of sight FPV was not allowed because it interfered with actually seeing the aircraft at all times.

They may still dredge that up, but my guess is that they will simply pursue those occurrences that result in actual problems where FPV was used rather than whole sale trying to regulate it out of existence.

The fact is that for hobby use, keeping an aircraft within VLOS is really the only reasonable way to go because when it is not, you cannot guarantee it's safe clearance from anything.

So it is likely VLOS is something we are going to have to live with.

And the fact is that even for commercial use, it is going to require expensive aircraft and expensive training for those allowed to operate beyond VLOS.

Within VLOS when and how FPV can be used is still a gray area and it does not have an easy solution.

It's proliferation into even tiny quadcopters by the tens of thousands probably makes effectively regulating or banning it a virtual impossibility anyway.

The FAA is choosing its boundaries and it's battles, what happens next remains to be seen.

Best Regards,

Gary

Comment by Bubba on September 2, 2015 at 9:13pm

So with this:

d. Public Law 112-95 recognizes the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the National Airspace System. Accordingly, model aircraft operators must comply with any Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR).

Does that mean if there is a TFR in my area, I wouldn't be allowed to fly at my local club field?


Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 2, 2015 at 9:30pm

That has always been the case Bubba, the AMA issues TFR notifications.

Comment by Pedals2Paddles on September 3, 2015 at 8:32am

This is a HUGE change.  Guys, this is exactly the kind of senseless law that torpedoes an entire industry.

Model aircraft must not operate in Prohibited Areas, Special Flight Rule Areas or, the Washington National Capital Region Flight Restricted Zone, without specific authorization.

They just prohibited flying a model aircraft in the entire DC SFRA.  The DC SFRA is HUGE.  It covers a 60 mile radius around National Airport.  Literally the only place you can fly your 2lb plastic toy Phantom is one the few AMA fields.  And most of them prohibit multirotors and drones anyway.  Done, gone, over.  Prior to this, the were explicitly prohibited only in the DC FRZ, but not prohibited in the SFRA.  They've expanded it to prohibit model aircraft in the entire SFRA.

According to this, I can no longer go in my own back yard and fly my model aircraft, even while abiding my the AMA rules.  My back yard is on the outer edge of the SFRA, nearly 50 miles away from the airport.  But I can't fly my little toy in my own back yard because some bureaucrat armed with a pen vomited up some new laws.

I'm sure the AMA thinks it is a great idea though. 

Comment by Brendan Jacobs on September 3, 2015 at 9:19am

Most shocking (not shocking) development of this story is Pedals thinks it's a bad idea

Comment by Pedals2Paddles on September 3, 2015 at 9:28am

I'm sorry, did you have something to add that isn't a personal insult?  You might have a point if your comment had some logical basis, but it doesn't.  I know you don't like me because I pointed out how unreasonable and impossible the rule were that you posted about last week.  So that is probably why your making mindless personal insults now.

But just in case I'm wrong.... Please detail why you think this new blanket prohibition is a good idea and makes logical sense.  You will need to explain why flying a 2lb plastic toy, following all the AMA safety guidelines, in my own backyard, 28 miles away from National Airport, is a critical threat to national security and the NAS.  Please cite examples and facts.

Put up or shut up

Comment by John Dennings on September 3, 2015 at 11:42am

Bubba> So with this:

d. Public Law 112-95 recognizes the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the National Airspace System.

Some legal experts (I certainly am not one)  may actually disagree with this.

Gary, the fact that the AMA publishes TFRs is irrelevant from a legal standpoint. 

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