No hiding behind AC 91-57 anymore


The FAA just cancelled AC 91-57 the one that many folks used to justify commercial aerial photography from unmanned aircraft in the USA. 

Now look to the “full special” interpretation for Model Aircraft for your guidance.

Patrick said this at the time about that.

Folks in the U.S. UAS community (which now including paper airplane aficionados too) were surprised and dismayed by the FAA’s “full special” interpretation for Model Aircraft. The community is completely flabbergasted by the lack of response from the regular gaggle of advocacy groups. UAS freedom(s) just took a major hit in the U.S. and folks are asking where the hell is the leadership? We are usually treated to quick responses (canned goods) heralding any announcement from the FAA (no matter how trivial or nonsensical they may be), as enlightened and a giant step in the right direction. We can guess who got the special dispensation/backroom deal neutering.

Shocked and awed –

The community is collectively wondering what’s up with the subdued response? Where is the mobilization of the membership(s)? Adding to the dismay is the notion that this edict could have possibly caught advocacy groups off guard? It has many feeling like we just suffered a regulatory tsunami without warning and no disaster plan!

* To everyone’s integration credit… The FAA did state repeatedly that the hobby would look the same after regulation was announced. However, in this instance it would appear that reality and the FAA have parted company again.

If you want to join the Hollywood set these are the requirements for your platforms 

We commissioned our art department at sUAS News to create this simple graphic to explain the system over there ;-)


E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • The FAA has just about always been a series of fiefdoms sometimes issuing contradictory memos. Until they cracked down on it the game was getting field approvals on certified aircraft in more lax areas. They're also known to issue formal interpretations separate from one another like the known icing opinion that kicked up a lot of fuss. The best analogy I can offer is the Federal court system where cases get bounced up higher and higher until the Supremes make an interpretation. This isn't unusual with any Federal agency. Most people have just never been aware of the chaos that it is.

  • >  In related news. AC 91-57 has been uncancelled.

    Advisory with no legal binding gets cancelled then un-cancelled ...

    It's difficult to laugh for a taxpayer, but I am trying ...

  • Gary, 

    Since you have your private cert you know then that a huge amount of the work is not flying the plane. It's understanding airspace, the regs and expectations. That's the part that is too often missing with UAVs. Watched a guy flying a phantom at the park the other day completely oblivious to the fact he was doing it right under the base leg of the local class D airspace. The separation between him and planes wasn't that great. All it would take is some student dragging it in or a VOR approach at minimums. BTW, I don't know where you got the 20K number for a private. I'm in the SF bay area and it's nowhere near that. Maybe if you're enamored with new rentals and the latest and greatest avionics. I didn't spend half that for private and IFR less than ten years ago

  • Wait for the gavel to fall or take charge and make it fall in your favor. It's your choice.

  • In related news. AC 91-57 has been uncancelled.  Carry on.

    AC 91-57 Cancelled in Error
  • I would love to see an intelligent conversation begin on what we can do to self regulate. What needs to be done to get things under control in a reasonable way.

    We need an immediate surge of concern from our community and we need an entity powerful enough to do battle in the real world.

    We need people to seek funding from companies in the drone industry to support the fight. With the right background to let them know we really mean business. People that are not afraid to do battle for our hobby.

    The UAV community needs to put their money where there mouth is and get the ball rolling like a steam roller. We need to do it right NOW.

    Every one that flies a drone needs to put up at least $50 because they believe they have rights! RIGHT NOW!

    The right people need to be approached to get the job done. There are people out there fighting for your rights right now.

    EMPOWER THEM! They will get the job done. They believe in you and will fight for you.

    It takes money to keep your rights. If you wont put up $50 right now to keep them. You don't deserve them anyway. The model rocket guy's did it. The model airplane guy's do it. What makes you think drones don't need it?

    Put down the baby bottle and training diapers.

    The people you need are easy to find. They are all around you and you are ignoring them. Because you don't think you need them. Some of them don't even know you need them. Some of them are in the AMA right now.

    It's time to go shopping folks!

    You need to choose well or you need someone you can trust to choose well for you.

    You NEED to do it RIGHT NOW.

    You need a voice in the real world not just noise on a forum. That will not work. You need positive media coverage. You need to let the world know you care about what happens to you! You need to let them know you care about them!

    The world out there does not know you intend to stay! The world out there right now knows your a bunch of loose cannons! You need to let them know you mean business and your serious about controlling yourself.

    They need to KNOW your not a bunch of idiots and you really mean to take care of your business.


  • My .02

    I don't think it would be totally unreasonable to use a system similar to the way guns or cars are registered.  Using multiple serial numbers on the drone parts, particularly the APM, could add a little accountability.  If a drone causes some damage, they could be tracked, at least to the original buyer, who would have the ultimate responsibility for the drone.  That would require the sellers of drones to register the buyers at the point of sale with the gov., but would still be a lot less rigg-a-ma-roll than the current situation.  Even most of the home-builders would be using a off-the-shelf APM, and then would also be trackable/accountable.

    As for commercial operators, I also don't think some sort of license would be uncalled for, as it could also allow them to operate larger craft or closer to people etc.  Though I doubt the efficacy of requiring a PPL, as others have mentioned, some sort of written test could work.

  • RocketMan, I am totally on-board with what you are saying and can't help but agree. Having been involved in modeling now for several decades I also have a feel for the issue at hand.  That issue is primarily: What was once a hobby that required time and dedication (primarily speaking of planes, quads and helicopters), is now an "unwrap and launch" type operation.  There is very little prep time, and the learning curve is... well there isn't one for many people.  They just move the sticks and things happen.  When the hobby (any hobby) becomes that simple, then there is very little investiture in reading rules and regulations.  Therein is the chief problem.  It takes longer to learn the rules and regs than unwrap and launch.  I am for convenience as much as the other guy -- I use a dishwasher, etc. but with the demographics of the user group rapidly changing it seems the uphill battle is educating the participants.  That lack of education is what is going to ultimately bring down the hobby/industry in the eyes of the FAA.  In large part, that is why the AMA was able to last as long as they have -- self moderation applied to the vast, vast majority of fliers.  Today I would argue it is quite the opposite.

    A game without rules is no game -- if one doesn't understand the rules, perhaps they shouldn't play the game.

  • Ok last post and I'll let it go. Thor you bring up a good point but those of us with experience with the FAA tried to inform the hobbyist what the right thing to do was. I have a great deal of experience with this from the model rocketry end of the scale. We won that battle. By forming the TRA and the NAR and self regulating with peer review and certifications.

    I knew right off the bat the AMA was not going to be able to handle model aircraft and UAV aircraft as well. We needed a special entity of our own.

    From my point of view the UAV hobbyist either did not have the vision or lacked experienced help and did not want it. From the point of view of my past experience the hobbyist thought they had the right to use the hobby as they saw fit. Regardless what the government might think about it.

    If model rocketry had taken that stance there would be no high power rocketry allowed today in the United States.

    Model rocketry took on the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms)  when Ammonium Perchlorate was added to the list of controlled substances and won the right to keep their hobby alive. (and that was no small feat)

    All sports and hobbies that may have an impact on the public need legal representation. Something the UAV hobbyist ignored and hoped would go away.

    And finally when presented with the "right thing to do" it was not recognized as necessary.

    We live in a society governed. There is no way to avoid it and there is no such thing as less government.

    You surely can rant all you want about the governing body but by now you should know the only way to change that is to overthrow the government.

    So you really have 2 choices and only one of them is viable. That one being work with the government. Unless you think you can overthrow it which I doubt that.

    The problem is that the government didn't think it was going to be this much of a problem and the hobbyist didn't think it would be much of a problem.

    It's now a pretty big problem.

    The solution was offered early on but only a few saw the writing on the wall before it was too late.

    Now the choices are work the system the way it is supposed to work or let it work you.

    Crying foul and harassing the FAA and such is a waste of time and this should be obvious. "We the people" have to do the foot work to keep our liberties. This goes for anything we really care about.

    Without legal representation the government will do what it thinks is for the good of those WITH REPRESENTATION. That's how this country functions. Without it you get a court appointed attorney basically and that does not work in the defendants favor 99% of the time.

    I know most people don't care to work the system. It takes WORK and money to do that. I hear cry's of injustice everyday! That fall on deaf ears without representation.

    When was the last time the people really made a difference? Vietnam was the last time and that took a hell of a lot of people and time.

    So if you can't mount an effective stand without legal representation you need an army of followers.

    Did I mention the general public is not UAV friendly?

    Anyway it really seems the general idea the the people run the country of the United States and in reality it is just not that way. We elect the people we want to run the government and they lie about the big issues they intend to support and everyone buy's it. That's about as far as it goes.

    But in the real world what get's represented and backed by the people that care enough about something gets the grease.

    For instance you can take the government to court and you can win. The TRA took the BAFT to court and they did.

    Another thing by the way is there was not much publicity or attention drawn by the TRA about that fact. Which was also wise. Why? Because big rockets are not exactly the safest things to play with. UAV's are not exactly popular or atomic weapons for that matter.

    Anyway the drone flying population is such a small percentage of the population and everyone doing it seems to think everyone will be doing it and that is far too much hype. Because that is just not going to be true near term.

    Talking loud and making demands and proclaiming this and that is going to end up counterproductive very soon.

    You still may not be convinced you need to do something for your hobby or have representation.

    Well I do feel I have presented the truth and the facts about how our government works. You can work the system or let it work you the choice really is yours! I know what I will do that's all I have control of in reality and I know what those limitations really are. Because I really can't do anything I want and I know it. I also know why.

    Liberty is not free. You still have to fight for it if you want it.

    And in today's world you can fight and win your liberties BUT you have to know the "trick" to do it. That "trick" is to use the system in place as it is.

    This community is not strong enough to form another Peace and Love revolution. That will have to wait for some other more important ideal.

    So get with the system or become a casualty of it. You really really do have a choice but you have to make it and you have to fight for it.

    It seems to me the fight has gone from most citizens of the United States and everyone wants to complain and as usual that noise is just background radiation The sound floor is plenty high but as long as the politicians can hear themselves it will be business as usual.

    The smart people make the system work for them the rest are just sheep going ba ba ba.

    I hope the people of the United States wake up one day and decide the country once again belongs to them.

    For now I know the only way to get things done is to work the system or let it work me.

    Are you a wolf or a sheep? I'm always stalking my prey and I know "the right thing to do" to get it.

    The real question is if you can see above the clouds of confusion and get yours. Because it's supposed to be confusing that's how the government works. The more confusing the better.

    Can you focus on a target amoungust the confusion? If you can't you need the help of someone who can. That will cost you some money but enough people willing to pay someone to represent them can succeed.

    I'm nither for or against government I know it's a requirement. I know how the system I live in works. I'm not suffering from some delusion of my influence or the influence of my peers. I know how to get things done I know what is likely out of my hands and I deal with it best I can. 

    Is anyone going to hear what I'm saying? Most likely not because the people don't want to hear it. I can not do anything about that.

    But this is the reality of the United States. The people that have liberty know how to fight for it.

    Lean how to fight for your liberty or loose it. Perhaps some day things will change but I would not hold my breath in the mean time. Besides that if and when things do change it might not be for the better? Ever consider that?

    Work with what you have hope for the better and prepare for the worst. This is what we have not what might be or what we had yesterday. It's what we really do with it today that matters.

    Or do you really care and are you going to let others decide what your liberties are?

    You can be part of the problem or you can find your solution. It's really up to you. All this posturing is worthless without representation. 

    Other than that I guess razor blades are cheap.

This reply was deleted.