From the AMA blog, just updated http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amagov/2016/01/11/update-uas-regis...
Q: Why did AMA change its position on registration? Why are they telling members to register now?
A: AMA has not changed its position. We continue to be disappointed with the registration rule and believe it is contrary to Congress’s intent within the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which is part of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. We have been working with our legal counsel and the FAA to find a solution for our members on the registration rule. To date, we have achieved several concessions from the FAA that will help ease this process for our members. However, we want to emphasize that this is not the end of our efforts to protect AMA members from this unnecessary and burdensome regulation. We are continuing to explore all legal and political options available, but these conversations may take time and a long-term solution is unlikely before the February 19 registration deadline. For this reason, we are suggesting that AMA members may wish to take advantage of free registration period, which is available until January 19.
Q: Is the AMA giving up? Why doesn’t the AMA take this matter to court?
A: We are absolutely not giving up. We are continuing to fight for our members and working to protect them from unnecessary and burdensome regulation. AMA is exploring several legal options that would address the registration rule as well. These legal strategies will take time to develop and pursue. We ask for your continued loyalty and patience as we work closely with our legal counsel to find the best path forward.
Q: I am already registered through the AMA, why do I have to register twice?
A: We understand the concern of our members and, while the FAA is open to streamlining the registration for our members, unfortunately the technical issues involved will not be resolved before February 19. Therefore, it will be necessary for current AMA members to register separately with the FAA. For future AMA members, we are working on an agreement with the FAA where new members will be able to opt-in to federal registration via AMA when they join the organization, thereby creating one simple registration.
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, are still allowed to fly and are protected by the Special Rule for Model Aircraft under the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. The federal registration box requiring agreement to only fly under 400 feet applies to individuals who are not operating within the safety guidelines of a community-based organization. We have been in discussions with the FAA about this point and the agency has indicted that it will be updating its website in the next week to make clear that this altitude restriction does not apply to AMA members.
Q: Do I need to list both my AMA number and my federal registration number on my aircraft? A: No. AMA has secured a concession from the FAA that allows AMA members to continue using their AMA numbers as the primary identification on his or her aircraft. AMA members are required to still have a hard copy or electronic copy of the federal registration certificate on them while flying.
Q: Do I have to register every aircraft?
A: No. Registration is only required for each operator. AMA members should use their same AMA number on each aircraft they are flying.
Q: Do only drones and multirotor operators need to register?
A: No. Everything over 0.55 lbs (or 250 grams) that uses a ground-control system with a communications link, such as an RC transmitter, is required to register. This includes operators who fly fixed-wing RC aircraft and helicopters, not just multirotors or drones.
Q: I only fly CL or FF, do I need to register?
A: No. If you exclusively fly FF or CL and never plan on using a model that involves a transmitter, then you do not need to register.
Q: Can I fly my large model aircraft? Turbine jets?
A: Yes. The Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which is part of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, allows AMA members to operate model aircraft over 55 lbs as long as they are operating in accordance with AMA’s Large Model Aircraft safety program. AMA members can also fly turbine jets provided the operator holds a current AMA Turbine Waiver.
Q: Am I permitted to fly first person view (FPV)? Can I fly at night?
A: Yes. AMA members are still protected by the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which is part of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. As long as AMA members continue to follow AMA’s safety guidelines for these activities, they can continue to fly. The checkbox guidelines listed on the FAA UAS registration website do not apply to individuals who belong to a community-based organization such as the AMA. Q: What happens if I don’t register by February 19?
A: According to the FAA, failure to register an unmanned aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. This could include civil penalties of up to $27,500 and criminal penalties that include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.
Q: What can I do to help? A: You can help by making your voice heard with the FAA. Specifically we are asking all AMA members to submit comments on the FAA’s interim rule on registration. The deadline to submit comments is Friday, January 15. More details can be found here