Duane Brocious's Posts (49)

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How the FAA defines "Commercial Use"



A major concern with sUAS is what does the FAA consider "Commercial Use".

Here is a comment from a law firm:

" The FAA has consistently defined commercial operation in terms of whether the operator receives direct or indirect payment for the operation. It is not necessary that the operation be conducted for profit or even that there be any intent or ability to make a profit. The compensation is not just limited to monetary payments but includes anything of value. This broad definition of compensation has been affirmed and adopted by both the NTSB and the federal courts. Administrator v. Roundtree, 2 NTSB 1712 (1975); Administrator v. Mims, NTSB Order No. EA-3284, review denied 988 F.2d 1380; Consolidated Flower Shipments, Inc., Bay Area, 16 C.A.B. 804 (1953), aff'd. 213 F.2d 814 (2nd Cir. 1954)."


This definition applies to sUAS.

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First they ban it because "it has nothing to do with model aviation"

Now its fine if the insurance company will cover it?


From the April AMA EC minutes:

"Outdoor Autonomous Flight Operations
The committee realized with the technological advances and increased member interest, they needed to find a way to embrace the new technology and make it happen in a safe manner. The name of the document was changed to include the word ‘Outdoor’ because among other requirements, flights are limited to a chartered club flying site and approved overfly area. (Note: paragraph 7 will be kept in the document at this time, but once reviewed for insurance implications, may be changed.)

Did they see the light or dollar signs?

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The AMA insurance liason, Ilona Maine, has identified model aircraft used in manufacturer demos and sponsored pilots to be commercial uses and not covered by AMA insurance.


"You asked if a noon-time flight demo for the purposes of promoting the future sales of a RC product constitutes a "commercial purpose" as it pertains to AMA’s insurance.
The Westchester liability policy has a specific exclusion for commercial enterprises and/or business pursuit for individual members.  The policy does not provide coverage for any business entity. Whether or not noon-time demo flights fit into the business pursuit is difficult to determine and there is no “one answer fits all” response. As with any other claim, final determination would be up to a claims adjuster/insurance company based on the specifics of each individual claim. The situation is obviously a bit more transparent when a major manufacturer holds a noon-time demo utilizing their own employees as the manufacturer's insurance would apply. Generally, when we receive inquiries regarding sponsored (non-employed) pilots doing demo flights for manufacturers/distributors, we advise that they should not rely on AMA coverage. We cannot guarantee that the policy would respond and we don't want anyone to be caught by surprise in case of an accident. "


Since they consider them commercial use does that not mean they need to follow the current FAA regulations for commercial sUAS like everyone else?

Shouldn't they have to get experimental CoAs like any other commercial sUAS user?


By allowing commercial activities , although not covering them with insurance, aren't they aiding and abetting criminals?

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Excerpt from "Capitol Hill Brief" from ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association), Apr 25, 2011


"Call to Action: Support One Level of Safety ALPA Pilots Urged to Participate in the Legislative Process

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Both the House and Senate bills have provisions related to the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the NAS. The House version is of concern because it mandates a deadline for integration of UAS into the NAS and does not make accommodations for safety oversight. ALPA’s position is that no UAS should be allowed unrestricted access to public airspace unless it meets all the high standards currently required for every other airspace user. The House provision is a step backwards and does not promote One Level of Safety". "
 (Bolding mine, DB)


Actually, they are completely wrong. The House Bill does indeed have provisions for safety oversight, 2 in fact, the Miller and Shuster amendmments passed. Seems they didn't even read the Bill. Hope they fly better than they write based on this erroneous and msleading propaganda message.

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Rude response from my AMA District VP

I asked my District Website if they would post info about the AMA elections since nominations are due June 16. As an AMA member I thought it was an important issue.3689388164?profile=original






Response from Bob Brown, AMA District VP:


"The following gentleman is the one we want nothing to do with...right?"


Hope this proves I am not lying about what is going on.

Do not trust the current leadership (District VP's are the leaders),


In as much as the AMA may become the only way to fly for fun in the future, this needs to be known by everyone here who is a recreational flyer.


Full email received includes my question:


"The following gentleman is the one we want nothing to do with...right?

Bob Brown

On Apr 24, 2011, at 11:23 PM, Duane Brocious <dbcisco@hotmail.com> wrote:

> This is an enquiry e-mail from Duane Brocious (dbcisco@hotmail.com)
> Follow up on previous question; from AMA:
> Nominations Due for AMA President, Executive Vice President, and Vice Presidents in Districts III, VII, and XI
> Nominations for the offices of president, executive vice president and vice presidents in Districts III, VII, and XI are due at the Headquarters of the Academy of Model Aeronautics by June 16, 2011. Any AMA Open Member may submit a nomination.
> Can this be posted on our website.
> Thanks
> Duane

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Haven't seen this posted anywhere yet.


This is the current information and interim guidance on air traffic policies and prescribes procedures for the planning, coordination, and services involving the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the NAS.


It is in effect from March 28th 2011 until March 27th 2012.


Notwithstanding all the discussion of NPRMs, ARCs and Congess, this is The Official FAA policy for (s)UAS operations in the USA until further notice.


Complete document available HERE 



"Types and Authority

Current FAA policy for UAS operations is that no person may operate a UAS in the NAS without specific authority.

(1) Public.

(a) FAA policy restricts COAs to public operations as defined in title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1, Definitions & Abbreviations.

(b) For UAS operating as public aircraft, the authority is the COA.

(2) Civil.

(a) Civil applicants must apply for a Special Airworthiness Certificate–Experimental Category.

(b) For UAS operating as civil aircraft, the authority is special airworthiness certificates.

(3) Hobbyist.

(a) Hobbyists should follow the guidance contained in Advisory Circular (AC) 91-57.

(b) For model aircraft, the authority is AC 91-57."





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According to Federal "Report on DOT Significant Rulemaking" published April 14, 2011; the proposed SUAS rules were due in the Secretary of Transportation's Office (OST) April 14, 2011. No change in timeline was posted.

Is it possible the "milking" is over and we can put the cow out in the pasture?

Maybe Congress' FAA reauthorization Bills' amendments "inspired" them to get on with it.

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Senate names joint committe


The US Senate has named their members for the conference committe for the joint FAA Reauthorization Bill.

Contact them with what you support or do not support from each Bill (H.R. 658 & S. 223)

Recreational SUAS users need to get them to remove the Inhofe amendment from the Senate Bill. There are other amendments that will effect all SUAS/UAS, see my other blog for a list of the most obvilous ones.


The Senate conferees are:

 Maria Cantwell (D-WA),

Barbra Boxer (D-CA),

Bill Nelson (D-FL),

John Ensign (R-NV),

Jim DeMint (R-SC),

John Rockefeller (D-WV),

Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX),

Max Baucus (D-MT),

Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

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More AMA "disinformation"







In an announcemnet today Rich Hanson, AMA Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs Representative said:


"an agreement on the proposed language was a little more difficult to achieve in the House than in the Senate, and we were unable to settle on the exact verbiage before the Bill was sent to the floor for a vote."


Either he is extrememly lost or can't read the Congressional record. Perhaps he meant to say that because the Nugent amendment only protected recreational sUAS and did not give the AMA a monopoly, we had to get him to withdraw it. 


Congressman Richard Nugent (R,FL) had submitted an ammendment to make all aircraft flying within AC 91-57 and under 55 pounds exempt from regulation. Note that his amendment had no mention of any CBOs (IE: AMA) being exempt.


The Nugent amendment was a great amendment exempting 90% of hobbyists (including FPV and autonomous use). I guess we know who was behind stopping it. What I don't understand is why they can't even tell their membership the truth, I am an AMA member and tired of being lied to.

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The House and Senate now have to reconcile the two bills into one (S.223 & H.R. 658), pass it and convince the US President to sign it into law.


Amendments in either bill may not survive reconciliation.

Even Inhofe can realize his mistake (IMO) and change or remove his own amendment.


Amendments to HR 658 that will directly effect sUAS/UAS operators :


Miller (R-MI): Amendment No. 12: Directs the FAA to work with various federal agencies to integrate unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace system and would direct the Administrator to carry out safety studies to support such integration.


Shuster (R-PA): Amendment No. 24—Requires the FAA rulemaking activities conduct certain industry analyses prior to issuing regulations, and require the FAA to subject proposed regulations to certain cost-benefit studies

Amendments to HR 658 that may directly or indirectly effect some or all sUAS/UAS operators:


Graves (R-MO): Amendment No. 22: Provides an exemption for an air show in Cleveland, Ohio, from complying with certain airspace restrictions. The amendment would prohibit the FAA from imposing airspace restrictions on an air show or other aerial event located at the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio, due to an event at a stadium or other venue occurring at the same time.

Waxman (D-CA): Amendment No. 23—Expresses the sense of Congress that the FAA should work with the City of Santa Monica, consistent with FAA design guidelines, to address safety concerns at Santa Monica Airport.


Matheson (D-UT) / Pearce (R-NM): Amendment No. 30— Allows the Secretary of Transportation to release any airport, city, or county from the terms, conditions, reservations, or restrictions on deeds which the U.S. conveyed to an airport, city, county property for airport purposes, provided that the release results in furthering airport purposes.

Schiff (D-CA)[for Waters (D-CA)]: Amendment No. 31—  Expresses the sense of the Congress that the operator of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) should consult on a regular basis with representatives of the community surrounding LAX regarding LAX operations and expansion plans. Representatives of the community would include any organization with at least 20 members located with 10 miles of the airport.

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H.R. 658 FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011

No amendments regarding sUAS exmptions




The House was informed on March 22nd that all amendments to H.R. 658 needed to be submitted to the House Rules Committee by Tuesday March 29th.


Congressman Richard Nugent (R,FL) had submitted an ammendmentto make all aircraft flying within AC 91-57and under 55 pounds exempt from regulation. Note that his amendment had no mention of any CBOs (IE: AMA) being exempt.


Mr. Nugent withdrew his amendment.


Today, March 30th, the House Rules Committe ruled that, among a few other items, no more amendments can be added to the House version of the Bill.


Ther are no provisions for exempting recreational sUAS from the FAA's authority in the proposed Bill.


The Bill will now go into discussion phase and then to final vote.

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Early military UAS - 1861

UAS are over 150 years old!



Saw this siteand this one, made me wonder why it took 150 years for the public and Govts (and me) to "discover" their existence.


During the Civil War, the Federal Govt used unmanned incendiary balloons programmed to land after a 30 mile flight to set Confederate areas on fire.


Started looking up more and discovered that unmanned airplanes with primitive autonomous systems were used in WWI and FPV was used in WWII. During the 30s the US military was converting off the shelf "model airplanes" with (primitive) RC for a variety of applications from flying bombs to target drones. Amazing stuff.


Nothing new under the Sun.

We should be proud to be carrying on a tradition older than manned airplanes!

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What does the FAA consider "commercial"


Came across this from an FAA pilot exam training program:

"Question: May a recreational pilot act as pilot in command of an aircraft in furtherance of a business?
 ANSWER: No, it is not allowed.
Recreational pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft that is used in furtherance of a business. There is no exception." (Bolding mine, DB)"


Note the phrase "furtherance of a business", that includes a plethora of things such as advertising, product demonstrations and even product placement or use in a movie or TV show.


While this is referring to private vs commercial manned aircraft, this could be applied (via precedent) to differentiate commercial vs recreational as it pertains to (s)UAS uses, pilots and vehicles.

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