In this FAA UAS risk analysis they state unambiguosly that AC 91-57 MUST be complied with for model aircraft (recreational UAVs). So much for all that "it is a request not a law" arguement. Apparently the AMA rules have been telling people to break the law for the last 30 years.
Read page 115 of this 2008 FAA document.
"Unmanned aircraft flown for hobby purposes or
recreation. Model aircraft must comply with
Advisory Circular (AC) 91-57, Model Aircraft
Operating Standards, published in 1981"
One of the bullet points from the FAA powerpoint when creating the ARC for UAVs was to;
"Determine whether model aircraft should be allowed to continue under self-regulation."
Why would they consider that? Maybe because our track record for not even coming close to their "guidance" has proven that we can't be trusted to self govern. Whether the AC has the power of law or not, everyone was aware of what the FAA was asking for, then completely ignored them for 30 years. Now everyone is crying that they are going to have rules imposed. As for the AMA being given power over model aviation, theAMA has been the biggest promoter of ignoring the FAA in the last 30 years. I think the FAA would be insane to put them in charge of anything at all.
"In 1981, in recognition of the safety issues raised by the operation of model aircraft,
the FAA published Advisory Circular (AC) 91-57, Model Aircraft Operating Standards for
the purpose of providing guidance to persons interested in flying model aircraft as a hobby
or for recreational use. This guidance encourages good judgment on the part of operators so
that persons on the ground or other aircraft in flight will not be endangered. The AC
contains among other things, guidance for site selection. Users are advised to avoid noise
sensitive areas such as parks, schools, hospitals, and churches. Hobbyists are advised not to
fly in the vicinity of spectators until they are confident that the model aircraft has been flight
tested and proven airworthy. Model aircraft should be flown below 400 feet above the
surface to avoid other aircraft in flight. The FAA expects that hobbyists will operate these
recreational model aircraft within visual line-of-sight. While the AC 91-57 was developed
for model aircraft, some operators have used the AC as the basis for commercial flight
Pete, I disagree with you completely and I think you might be one of those who think that until the new regs are out we can do anything we want, and seeks any excuse to get away with it.
BTW, Pete, If I can commit murderand get awy with it is that OK?
Not getting caught does not imply it is legal nor the right thing to do.
I have always urged compliance with the AC.
It is my opinion that the FAA does not now hold the AMA in high regard and that the AMA is trying to turn the new regualtions into a cash cow for the AMA and screwing everyone else in the process.
With regard to the regulations and AC 91-57, rather than inferring stuff from docs where it's mentioned peripherally, you should be looking at Interim Operational Approval Guidance 08-01, which is the current written FAA policy regarding UAV operations in national airspace (NAS). Although it is not regulatory per se, the FAA field offices will treat it as such, and will bust operations based on 14 CFR part 91 section 3 and 14 CFR part 91 section 13 (aircraft certification and reckless operation, respectively.) Even if you don't have a certificate, the FAA can still impose substantial civil penalties.
Now, in practical terms, there isn't going to be an FAA inspector hiding behind the bushes to see if you're flying at 450 feet; enforcement usually comes down on high-profile or flagrant violators, or in the wake of an accident or incident. Waivers to regulations and policies are also fairly regularly given, when an operator or event organizer has proven that the circumstances of the waiver will not diminish safety. This often occurs for AMA events; usually the mitigation is a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to alert pilots of some unusual activity. Don;t assume because you see large, or fast, or high aircraft, that the people involved are ignoring the FAA, they may just not be talking about the paperwork they've done.
Here's the docs I cited:
What are your goals with regard to the AMA?
What is at stake with the current discussions between the AMA and FAA?
I'm not jumping on this bandwagon, I'm afraid. The point eludes me.