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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  • Nobody cares what FAA losers say.... they had a $10,000 fine thrown out of court. They are now trying to tell every fpv pilot to throw away the FPV goggles ROFL =)

    My message to the FAA about my goggles its pretty clear one.

    The FAA needs to be fired and repopulated with non idiots. Before the FAA gets dragged into the street and publicly beaten.


  • @Gary: Could you clarify what you are saying?  I'm sorry, but I don't think I follow... 

  • Moderator

    @Andrew re situational awareness. I was at a meeting in 2011 where we were shown most bodacious detect sense and avoid. Cigarette box sized vision based and tested to scientific standards. The man from the CAA was there along with more military thick braid than I ever saw whilst serving. The discussion revolved about how the manned aviation community could comply with UAS standards not the other way round. We perhaps are at the point where the cub is getting in the way of important RPAS commercial ops that the cub could never do. With my manned hat on I don't want to see an FPV aircraft in the windshield but I am very aware of what I can't see when I am driving.

  • if you cannot receive money for demonstrating aerobatics how are the guys that fly turbine jets in competition going to be sponsored by Futaba and Spectrum ?

    i think the FAA is suffering a bad case of of a cranialrectumitis

  • Many are posting generalized comments that are misleading or untrue.  The media picks up on these incorrect statements and runs with them.  Here are a few corrections:

    You CAN fly over or on an active runway legally.  You just need permission from the airport manager.  My AMA club (and others) share the active runway with full scale aircraft.

    If you are an AMA member and/or you want to fly by AMA safety guidelines you DO NOT have to be flying at a AMA field.  You can fly in a park, in a field in a parking lot, on a soccer field, over water or many other places.  AMA insurance only covers you if you are an AMA member and you follow their rules, which includes specific FPV rules. 

    AMA and FAA DOES NOT limit R/C flight altitudes to 400' and below.  They only advise not to.

  • I just submitted my comments on this. Please join me. Thank you.


  • Andrew. You are in the right, but I couldn't pass it up!

  • HeliStorm.  You almost made me second guess my spelling... lol

  • Andrew. I want a bear drone! 

  • To bad there isn't a constitutional amendment protecting our right to bear drones....  Drones don't commit runway incursion, people commit runway incursion!  The FAA will take my drone when they pry my cold dead hands off it!  Sorry, couldn't resist.  I was just thinking, I have been flying RC planes for a long time and can pinpoint many crashes of my traditional planes that occurred because I lost sight of it in the sun or something.  This has never happened while flying FPV.  In many ways, I think FPV or using an autopilot makes the hobby safer.  I suppose some might argue that we are relying on technology to fly our planes in a safe manor but in reality, every aircraft in the sky relies on technology to keep it safe.  As for "the limited situational awareness of an FPV cockpit"... try flying a cub with the original instrument panel (completely legal by FAA terms) through busy airspace.  I don't know, seems like a bit of a paradox, a bit like gun control.  I for one wouldn't stop flying even if they did make a law banning it as I'm sure many others would too.  I have plenty of private land to fly over and don't think there is a scenario that would ever get me caught.  I feel that a complete ban on all FPV would be unenforceable with exception of the few that wold do stupid stuff. 

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