3D Robotics


Here's the reg. On a quick read, it appears that the FAA is taking a hard line on drones in commercial faming and FPV flight with googles. Only Hobby and Recreation is allowed without a COA


Regarding FPV, this doesn't sound good:

By definition, a model aircraft must be “flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.” Based on the plain language of the statute, the FAA interprets this requirement to mean that: (1) the aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator; (2) that the operator must use his or her own natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to observe the aircraft; and (3) people other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight. Under the criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an unobstructed view of the model aircraft. To ensure that the operator has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would preclude the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed to provide a “first-person view” from the model.

Footnote 2: The FAA is aware that at least one community-based organization permits “first person view” (FPV)  operations during which the hobbyist controls the aircraft while wearing goggles that display images transmitted from a camera mounted in the front of the model aircraft. While the intent of FPV is to provide a simulation of what a pilot would see from the flight deck of a manned aircraft, the goggles may obstruct an operator’s vision, thereby preventing the operator from keeping the model aircraft within his or her visual line of sight at all times.


Press release here:

For Immediate Release

June 23, 2014
Contact: Les Dorr, Jr. or Alison Duquette 
Phone: (202) 267-3883

Agency issues interpretation of  2012 Reauthorization Law, restates authority to take enforcement action against hazardous operations.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today published a Federal Register notice on its interpretation of the statutory special rules for model aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The guidance comes after recent incidents involving the reckless use of unmanned model aircraft near airports and involving large crowds of people.

Compliance with these rules for model aircraft operators has been required since the Act was signed on February 14, 2012, and the explanation provided today does not change that fact. The FAA is issuing the notice to provide clear guidance to model operators on the “do’s and don’ts” of flying safely in accordance with the Act and to answer many of the questions it has received regarding the scope and application of the rules.

“We want people who fly model aircraft for recreation to enjoy their hobby – but to enjoy it safely,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “At DOT, we often say that safety is a shared responsibility, so to help, we are providing additional information today to make sure model aircraft operators know exactly what’s expected of them.”

In the notice, the FAA restates the law’s definition of “model aircraft,” including requirements that they not interfere with manned aircraft, be flown within sight of the operator and be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes. The agency also explains that model aircraft operators flying within five miles of an airport must notify the airport operator and air traffic control tower.

The FAA reaffirms that the Act’s model aircraft provisions apply only to hobby or recreation operations and do not authorize the use of model aircraft for commercial operations. The notice gives examples of hobby or recreation flights, as well as examples of operations that would not meet that definition.

“We have a mandate to protect the American people in the air and on the ground, and the public expects us to carry out that mission,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. 

The law is clear that the FAA may take enforcement action against model aircraft operators who operate their aircraft in a manner that endangers the safety of the national airspace system. In the notice, the FAA explains that this enforcement authority is designed to protect users of the airspace as well as people and property on the ground.

The FAA will be working with its inspectors and model aircraft operators across the country to ensure they give standard information to the public on how to satisfy these statutory requirements and avoid endangering the safety of the nation’s airspace.

The FAA is also developing a plan to work with the law enforcement community to help them understand the FAA’s rules for unmanned aircraft systems, as well as the special statutory rules for model aircraft operators, so they can more effectively protect public safety.

The agency wants the public to know how and when to contact the FAA regarding safety concerns with UAS operations. You can visit the Agency’sAviation Safety Hotline website or call 1-866-835-5322, Option 4.

While today’s notice is immediately effective, the agency welcomes comments from the public which may help further inform its analysis. The comment period for the notice will close 30 days from publication in the Federal Register.  >View the notice

See Section 336 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act.

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  •  I have spent the last 24 years flying anywhere that seemed appropriate (i built and flew my first rc aircraft long before I could drive,  my dad was amazed it was possible),  I have never been AMA and never had a negative response. I hope this does not end.  If they sent to this bulletin to every local law enforcement officer as stated, local police will be called and have to act.  So sad it has come to this.

  • Its a real shame they have shut down the ag market side of this. How are we expected to grow and create this sector of our economy when there are no set rules besides needing a "COA"? Being in the midwest and involved in the agriculture business literally everyone I come in contact with is buzzing about the possibilities on the horizon for the use of UAVs. That in effect is shut down. In fact, in central Illinois there is to be a precision farming show in July but this regulation pretty much negates the whole thing. Who could the companies sell to? They surely can't fly at the event now! As someone else stated how can any company ever develop a product in house? VERY VERY disappointed in this. I was all for regulation but not this kind of a blanket smothering the industry.    

  • Moderator

    The leap to farming as a primary use was created by a bogus survey from a manufacturers lobby group that has been shown to be flawed. The idea that it was Ok'd by the FAA was created by a reporter asking a man from the FAA if he could fly a model aircraft over his own farm. The answer was yes and its a good idea to follow AMA model aircraft rules. That was then jumped on. This notice is no surprise, what was a surprise was last weeks COA clarification which effectively stops most university research projects. That is more of a worry than model aircraft stuff.

    The one to watch for now is the NPRM which should happen in November that is what as a group a push to comment should be made.

    Bring on 2021 and the introduction of rules. 


  • Government regulations are only going to increase. The number of 'bad actors' is growing rapidly -- proportional to the rapid sales growth of drones. And these bad actors are clearly endangering aviation. One way or another, this just has to be addressed.

    Youtube is loaded with 'high altitude' and 'long distance' drone flight videos. These are incredibly dangerous to aviation. And the pilots either don't care or are completely oblivious to the dangers they are creating. In fact, they appear so unaware that they post videos of themselves along with GPS coordinates on youtube. Worse yet, many of the youtube commenters post positive remarks and often ask how they can do the same thing. Terrible for the future of this hobby. 

  • @Cliff-E

    I own a Moverio. I used to own Glass but sold it to buy a second Moverio. Are you using darkest shade for daylight use? At night I remove the shade entirely and lower the brightness to lowest. 

  • Thanks Trappy and Team BlackSheep for causing this to escalate to idiocy! It would also seem that AMA membership is now a requirement to fly at all.

  • 3D Robotics

    Note that this is a solicitation for public comment. So comment! Please spread the word.

  • @Timothy

    FPV on those moverios are not as cool as it seems. I'm using one for another project and video either gets washed out beyond recognition in daylight or over powers the background in dark areas. FPV is not the best application for these when running full screen video, now OSD and AR applications are brilliant on these devices. I'm investigating AR apps, and concluded FPV via a full video overlay just is a bit confusing using them. Maybe a partial overlay, aka google glasses is better from a UI standpoint.

    Now if you're just watching movies and not worried about the area behind (maybe to the sides), these glasses are incredible with the dolby surround, etc...

  • Just search for "long distance FPV drone" on youtube. You'll see ample video evidence why the FAA is concerned and evaluating new regulations. We should all be concerned, too, if we want to protect the future of this hobby. Ignoring the problem won't make it go away. 

    There are serious safety issues if 'bad actors' continue to fly drones on such incredibly dangerous FPV missions. 

  • My thoughts on this:

    -I recently had a publicized encounter with the police about my evil drone. My thoughts on that are well established. One might assume then that I oppose any law making aimed at our hobby - I do not.  I support common sense laws that outline safe use of our hobby aircraft.

    - The FAA comes across bitter about the court ruling.

    - As far as I understand, the FAA lost against Trappy in part because it was found they cannot make regulations simply by sending out notices or advisories. There is a process that must be followed. This again seems like the same all over.

    - As I said, I am in favor of common sense rules, but it is clear this is not common sense. The FPV thing is absurd. Its obvious to me that we have a group of non-elected officials that are trying to create laws about something they have no understanding of out of spite.

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