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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  • Everyone is free to file their own comments, but if folks are stupid about it, it will do us no good.  Clearly at this time we need to support the AMA, who is trying to support us.

    If we make make "in your face" comments to the FAA like "We should be able to fly FPV anywhere we want at whatever distance we want" this will do us no good at all.

  • So you have a problem with the FAA trying to stop someone from flying a quad over an active runway at an airport because it's out of their jurisdiction?  You might feel different if you were on that aircraft.

    If we play by our own rules, the FAA should leave us alone.  If a few are stupid, the FAA needs to be able to keep the public safe.

  • But by allowing the FAA to levee fines and grounding molders is still a violation of 336(a) because no laws exist that allow them that power, doing so sets a president on which other laws can be built as I see it once they can make any law or rule for the hobby than they can do what they like
  • Here is the actual link to the FAA page where you can post comments:


    Below is what I posted.  Feel free to use parts if it will help you add your post as well.  If we all are civil and provide good arguments in support of our hobby, we can turn this around.

    As a aeromodeler and a member of the AMA, I appreciate the FAA's efforts to insure the safety of the public and protect the national air space.  That said, I can not agree with this interpretation of the law.  The FAA is attempting to extend their authority into an area that congress clearly excluded from the FAA's reach.

    Section 336(a) of the Public Law states that, ‘the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft...’, this interpretive rule specifically addresses model aircraft, effectively establishes rules that model aircraft were not previously subject to and is in direct violation of the congressional mandate in the 2012 FAA reauthorization bill.”

    In addition, the FAA's recent interpretation is overly restrictive and will do no good other than to restrict the people who are enjoying this hobby safely and following the guidelines of the AMA, or other nationwide community-based non-profit aeromodeling organizations that promote SAFE aeromodeling activities nationwide.  The AMA in particular has a long history of safety and has done a great deal of research to provide its members with clear operating procedures and best practice for all types of aeromodeling.

    I have no issues with the FAA policing the airspace and grounding and levying fines on aeromodelers who don't follow a nationwide community-based non-profit organization's guidelines and endanger the public, but I do have a big issue with the FAA restricting my rights to enjoy my hobby and fly models safely.

  • I'm going to get an opthamologist to write me a prescription for 100x power corrective lenses.  LOL... My line of sight would be at least a mile!  All kidding aside, when I was in school I took an aviation legislation class which took a hard look at the FAA, deregulation, etc...  The one of the things I took away from that class was that the biggest hurdle in the advancement of aerospace technology is the FAA.  They have placed the barrier to entry so high in the name of "safety" that small time folks wanting to enter the industry might as well forget about it.  Even if you wanted to start a small business operating out of a garage making some arbitrary component; if its used on an aircraft, the process to make it legal is so expensive you might as well forget it.  It would appear that now that there is a useful commercial purpose for RC aircraft the FAA is attempting to do the same thing to our hobby.  Next thing you know, you will need a COA on your radio control aircraft and have an annual inspection plan in place on your power plant (to be completed by a certified FAA mechanic, no less, for a minimum of $100.00 per hour).  I for one am tired of seeing the FAA make rules based on nothing more than perceived safety (oh, that MIGHT be dangerous, we better make a rule) and the need to justify there own existence.

    Licensed pilots break the rules every day and don't get caught.  The FAA can't regulate everyone... so why do they continue to pretend that they can?

    Have a look at this: http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/.  I'm curious, in the history of model aviation, how many fatalities have happened due to RC aircraft?  I could go on and on but I'll spare you all for now...  Just that this kind of blind rule making that seems to be plaguing our country makes my blood boil!  Damn the man!

  • Wow and here in Canada my local province of New Brunswick just gave $5 million to help Mccain foods check on theyre patatoes field with the help of drones. :-)  In the news I see Canada is getting richer I can see why. :-( not

    fair for your guys in the Us.

    Oh well next time your eating your Mc Donalds fries think maybe a drone help out make them better. :-)

  • Oh, Pedals2Paddles...something I just thought of...if you fly over your hobby corn for your own enjoyment and NEVER sell any of it, then your flight was safe. However, as soon as you consider the possibility of selling that corn, you're flight retroactively became dangerous! The FAA must thinks Schrodinger's cat tagged along for the ride.

  • I have shared my thoughts with the FAA... Have you?

    click here:http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA_FRDOC_0001-10841

    put "FPV" in the search window and the docket will come up.

  • Jeroen...works for me! 

  • I can a see a small part of my airframe in the corner of the FPV image in my goggles, does this pass as 'viewing the aircraft at all times'?

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