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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  • Does the FAA or the AMA for that matter really think that the airports want a phone call every time you , me and little Johnny Smith are flying our quad in our backyard or local park. I've talked to my airport. They just say use common sense.

    Maybe that's what’s needed to ring the FAAs bell. Every time you fly, pick up the phone and let your airport know you'll be flying 50 to a couple hundred feet high a few miles from the airport. After the laughter the first two times they will begin to be annoyed.

  • Because every time the FAA moves, someone throws "freedom" in their face and bleats about their rights not to be surveilled, privacy, and general paranoia.

  • Hi BluSky1,

    I'm sending a response to the FAA which I posted on this other Blog about this issue:


    I don't expect it or any of the comments to actually change the course of events, but you have to try.

    I also think the FAA is working against us, itself and the American People with it's current tack.

    Unfortunately as is all to common with many of our political institutions, the FAA looks at themselves as being our betters and clearly they think it is their responsibility to make us do what they think is best for us.

    Still we have to take this brief 30 day opportunity to let them know what we think (they took 5 years or so, we, the entire American Public get 30 days - sounds about normal and shows what they actually think of us).

    I think the consequences of this are going to be equally dismal for the FAA itself, so maybe when the disaster they have created becomes clear perhaps they will eventually look back at the more reasoned and common sense suggestions we have made and something good can come of it.

    No - probably not, but you have to try.

  • Nobody gives you freedom

    You take it.

    Sorry after listening to the technophobic babble of the FAA for the last 5 years excuse after excuse.

    Its threats of fines, cease and desist letters but never actually creating policy or a fair rule system.

    They have earned the title of fools correctly.

    when the FAA actually does something correct I will praise them. In Europe right now they can for 2000 pounds have a small commercial drone operators permit? why in America is that not possible ?

  • Where do we comment to the faa?
  • Response to the FAA’s Notice of Interpretation


    From my side of the border It seem that since 911 your government is against (faa) and dont trust (nsa) you all of you. does not affect us that much here much still maddening seeing this happening. just my two cents.

  • Bill, that is true.  Just about all RC Hobby would stop, according to these rules.  The only thing legal would be ARF's imported from China, and hobbyists scratch building in their basement.  Hobby shop employees would not be able to do any flights, ever, because you could never firmly state if a given flight is for purely personal purposes, or if it's a requirement to be able to be employed in a hobby shop (give advice, etc.).

    Also any professional competitions and expositions would have to stop.  No more factory team pilots.

  • It occurs to be today that this "outlaws" all US based manufacturing of any RC aircraft. It's illegal to test them.

    Not that this is a valid decree though.

  • I think this attitude spills over from other areas of politics.  Lots of unhappy (and misinformed) people out there.  My Facebook page is proof of that... I love my friends but good lord, they believe anything they read off the internet (rolling eyes, haha).  As far as if it's good for the hobby or not, my feeling is a big "not at this point"...  It's a little early to be grabbing our pitchforks and going on a man hunt. If anything, we should be kissing booty and trying to prove to the FAA that we can be trusted to operate in a responsible manner just as the AMA has for many years.  This kind of banter just makes us look like thugs.

  • My fear is that BluSky1's attitude is all too common and is growing in this hobby. Do you think it will lead the hobby to a better future? Or worse? 

    Responsible voices need to be loud and clear in order to lead us where we'd rather go.  

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