Best watch this if you are in the USA, AMA caves on registration

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

Views: 2188

Comment by R. D. Starwalt on January 12, 2016 at 5:23am

For those question the purpose of the AMA... do not join it. It is a personal choice.

I have been a member in the mid 1970's. You will not convince me of their 'failure' any more than I will convince you of their worth. Non-believers vs Believers. We might as well be arguing over Angels on Pinheads.

The real issue here is the FAA's blanket interpretation/definition of a sUAS; lumping them all in pretty much one basket. It took *years* of point/counter-point by many players,lawyers, and bureaucrats to get to this place. It may take *years* to unwind some of this to a reasonable level of 'oversight' on a freedom. That is why in August of 2014 the AMA filed to challenge the FAA interpretation/definition. The FAA is messing with EVERYBODY.

http://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/apparel-and-gifts/aviation-t-shirt...

Fighting bureaucratic mistakes takes time. Unfortunately hobby flyers (in the US) do not have a Constitutional Right to fly. It would be a hard sell to reclassify this as 'The Pursuit of Happiness'.

The AMA and its members didn't create this problem. Bureaucrats fueled by over-zealous media and businesses challenged by disruptive technologies got us to this place.

Geez, did any of you read Chris Anderson's book?

-=Doug

Comment by Doug Walmsley on January 12, 2016 at 7:15am

I for one will hold off registering my UAVs as I feel this is an encroachment on my rights to use airspace below 400ft in a safe manner.  I sooner would give money to a law firm on going after the FAA in a class action lawsuit then throw money into an ineffective AMA lobby group.  It's time that we hobbyists put our money where our mouths are and go after the bureaucratic monsters in Washington DC and if not content with tossing money at the problem, then I would suggest calling your congressman and raising holy hell with them.  I will be doing both as soon as I can find a good class action lawsuit to get behind.

Comment by BacklashRC on January 12, 2016 at 7:29am

Doug, you might be interested in the following link.

http://fund.dcdrone.org

Comment by Matthew on January 12, 2016 at 9:48am

I have not decided whether to register or practice civil disobedience. One violation could have significant impacts if they start enforcing it. But honestly, my only personal qualms are being on a government list and being on a public list.

I don't understand why people expected AMA to fight against registration. I hoped that they would, but the announced model does seem to benefit them as well as FAA. Don't forget to add the publicly available mailing list of every drone user (potential customer) to the list of AMA benefits.

Other forums are wishing that AMA had as much clout as NRA, but NRA is different because gun manufacturers contribute and sales are important to NRA. Sales are not that important to NRA. I am surprised that DJI and Parrot are not fighting this. Most quadrotor manufacturers are small, but those guys should have the resources to actually do something. Unfortunately, they are probably thinking more about an IPO than sales. That is what happens when you are more concerned about selling your company than your product.

Comment by Gary McCray on January 13, 2016 at 12:32pm

Hi Matthew, I agree mostly with what you are saying NRA vs AMA, but the NRA is in the position of having actual Constitutional and extensive historical support as well as American manufacturers.

Very few drones or model airplanes are actually made in America, and the foreign firms are mostly clueless about confronting our political system.

Even 3DR's Solo is actually made in Mexico.

Mostly, we are suffering from the whole "Drone" thing being relatively new and it is a lot easier to stamp out new stuff than things that have been around for a long time.

And unfortunately "Drones" have gotten a bad and frightening stigma based on our own governments use of them as stand off no life risk weapons.

Unfortunately in addition to that nonsense, existing model airplanes are getting tarred with the same brush.

The bottom line is however badly done and ill advised, it looks, sadly, now like the registration thing is a fete accompli.

This is going to take decades to work out to a reasonable system, if, ever.

In the mean time, registration is, by the AMA's own reckoning a necessary compromise at this time.

The FAA completely railroaded it through but it looks like they have, for the time being succeeded at stomping all over our hobby which is pretty much what they said they were going to do in the first place.

Comment by Gary McCray on January 13, 2016 at 1:41pm

I just went to the FAA's "drone registration page".

It is my understanding that you are supposed to be registering the drone pilot, not each individual drone, but that is certainly not the format of the registration form.

It asks you to identify the make and model of "the drone you are registering as well as the store you bought it from".

I have over a dozen of them and I made almost all of them myself, this form is completely inappropriate for the purpose.

I am sure many of you have similar circumstances, - Any thoughts?

I did fill it in and under brand put "Over a dozen home made quadcopters and fixed wing foam planes".

Under model I put "See above"

And under store purchased I said "Didn't purchase, I built them myself."

Can't wait to see how that works out.

Best,

Gary

Comment by BacklashRC on January 13, 2016 at 1:58pm

AMA membership fees go (among other things) toward promoting the aero modeling community. They have many outreach programs, work with schools and host STEM events. etc...  Even if they never lifted a finger for us in the legal arena, even if they provided no insurance, I still think that the membership fee is well worth it.

Comment by Gary McCray on January 13, 2016 at 2:50pm

Hi Backlash, agree completely.

The AMA does a whole bunch of stuff and even if they can't bring the FAA to heel (did anybody really think they could?) the individual clubs and fields, insurance, events and support make them really worth while.

They have been smacked in the face by this thing too and the FAA has gone to a lot of trouble to make it happen so fast that nobody can block them.

It is going to take time and a lot of effort to make things better and in the meantime, all that has happened is that once again the FAA has proven that they are not our friend.

Best,

Gary

Comment by R. D. Starwalt on January 13, 2016 at 3:46pm

It was somewhat painful to watch the entire video, but I did.

Mr. Gibson made it very clear, multiple times, that flying was a privilege.  He initially analogized (in a roundabout way) this registration process to obtaining a driver's license for motor vehicles.

Extra points to Gary McCray for using the 'railroad' statement. They did what they wanted to do to get someone off their back and to look like something was being done about 'the problem'. He must have brought up 'manufacturers' 4 or 5 times implying that they were all in on this to help protect their brand names.

Mr. Gibson also made it clear, multiple times, that the FAA had legal backing to do this and everything else about this issue even when '336' was invoked by audience questions.

As I said, much time will pass before sensible oversight comes back... if it ever does. Until then, registration is a requirement for flying. It remains to be seen if clubs will have to modify their by-laws and other materials to reflect compliance with the registration.

For the clubs inside the DC 'zone' it doesn't matter anyway. Mr. Gibson seemed to shift blame for the 30 mile rule to HSA (Homeland Security) and the DC Police. He said the FAA was pressured to impose the rule simply because they are 'in charge' of that space. It was a classic example of one government agency being shoved around by other government agencies for the sake of more government agencies. Madness!

I predict that within 12 months a national news story will hit where a kid under the age of 15, unregistered, is arrested for flying model plane from (fill in a retailer). I hope it is the nephew or niece of an FAA employee, member of the House, or Congress.

Gawd, I might not stop laughing for a month when I read that!

-=Doug

Comment by DG on January 13, 2016 at 3:55pm

I looked up all clubs with airfields I could find in MI, IN, OH and IL. Out of hundreds of pictures, events and such including rules, nary a mention of multirotors and I found just 3 pictures. 

By and large the people that run fields are of the traditional RC fying and they detest MR or anything with GPS and flight control systems. 

This is the main reason why AMA has a picture of a MR on their website and embrace them. The general membership, the 72 Mhz Old Guard dinosaurs despise them.

http://www.ama-d4.org/faq-ama-best-buy-free-membership-promotion/

I know someone that wanted to fly at one AMA field that limits MR's to 250 size, so he couldn't fly. 

How can anyone say the AMA is trying to stop this FAA power grab? They could and should be backing John Taylor in his ongoing lawsuit against the FAA. As far as I'm concerned the AMA is only out to protect themselves and are hoping to get some sort of exemption. Actually they now claim that is the case. It is clear by reading their press releases and listening to them talk they have no interest in fighting, but cow-towing.

The the only way to beat back the lawlessness of the FAA is through the legal system or hope the next administration cleans house and strips these overreaching shadow government "agencies" of their unelected power and taxation without representation.

Someone at RCG is making a mockery of what's going on

I'm starting my own Official Community Based Organization

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