Senate passes Bill S.223 with recreational sUAS amendment denying FAA authority!

Sponsored by OK Senator Inhofe:




(g) Special Rule for Model Aircraft.--

    (1) IN GENERAL.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned

aircraft systems into FAA plans and policies,, including this section, the Administrator shall not promulgate any

rules or regulations regarding model aircraft or aircraft being developed as model aircraft if such aircraft is--

    (A) flown strictly for recreational, sport, competition, or academic purposes;

    (B) operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a

nationwide community-based organization; and

    (C) limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection,

flight test, and operational safety program currently administered by a community-based organization.

    (2) MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED.--For purposes of this subsection, the term ``model aircraft'' means a

nonhuman-carrying (unmanned) radio-controlled aircraft capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere, navigating

the airspace and flown within visual line-of-sight of the operator for the exclusive and intended use for sport,

recreation, competition, or academic purposes."


More HERE and HERE


Why didn't the AMA let anyone knw they were secretly working to get this passed without anyone knowing?

Sounds llike sneaky sleazy politics to me. But the AMA will instantly gain upto $100 Billion in dues!

No oversight over all that new money either!

I don't trust them and I am a member!


No AMA dues - no flying.

No autonomous systems period

Limited FPV, even an AR Parrot will be illegal to use because it doesn't meet AMA rules.

AMA can change rules at will to ban all FPV! 


This can only be stopped at the House of Representatives now.

Write and call your Representative now or say good buy to all your stuff.

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  • Moderator

    Don't forget to budget for lobbying and legal representation!


  • A few years ago the AMA and Sport Flyers of America were in competition. From what I read of the court records at the time, the AMA sued them for a variety of things and eventually Sport Flyers of America went bankrupt and the originator of the SFA died from a heart attack shortly afterwards.


    As for a nationwide CBO other than the AMA, I am working on that as a contingency plan.

    $10 per years dues should cover the overhead. No magazine, no insurance, just well documented and researched safety rules to fly with.


  • Duane: I was thinking about how the proposed amendment could be changed and I was reading through this blog post to see what others thought and I can't see why a nation wide amateur UAS group could not be formed to regulate the community? Before you quoted "Sure and the the AMA will sue you out of existence like they have done to competiting organizations in the past." I was wondering if you had any details for these cases or where you found this information. I can't figure out what claim would be made by the AMA against other organizations. If we could actually form a nation wide CBO, it might be best to leave the regulations as is?
  • It says you must act with in the programming (IE: be a member) of the AMA (the only national CBO for model aircraft recognized so far) and allows that national CBO to make up their own rules.

    For example if the FAA bans recreational sUAS at airports, AMA members can fly at airports if AMA rules say it is OK. It would be as if members of the NHRA could exceed speed limits on highways but non NHRA members should be limited to 55MPH. The concept is never allowed with anything else, so why should the AMA be given free reign to do so?

    All the AMA wants to do is increase their tax free income a hundred fold, nothing more.

    The amendment could have excluded all model aircraft (who have an ever better safety record than AMA members) from regulation, but the AMA doesn't want that, they want the income that millions of new members (and their dues) would bring to their failing organization which has been losing members for the last decade.

  • Moderator

    I don't think that this law appoints AMA to be the governing body.


    For example, the act only applies where the aircraft is being operated in accordance with nation wide community guidelines.  So if you don't operate the aircraft in accordance with AMA guidelines, the FAA could make regulations in relation to that.


    Isn't the easy way around this, to form a nation wide community organisation that is an association of UAV/FPV members?

  • The FAA could easily bannish AMA clubs and "AMA rules" to only class G airspace. In fact, a Justice could easily interpret the amendment to indicate that is what is to be done so that the law can be accomplished keeping CBO's out of FAA control.

    Just like NHRA is allowed to go over the speed limit... just stay off public roads and highways.

    I don't think anyone thinks through these laws. Laws created without thought always have unintended consequences.


  • There are two kinds of Airspace that come under the jurisdiction of the FAA, Controlled and Uncontrolled.  Airspace not designated as Class A, B, C, D, or E is considered uncontrolled, Class G, airspace. ATC does not have the authority or responsibility to manage of air traffic within this airspace.




    In general, Class G airspace lies between the surface and 700/1200 feet AGL  So long as our UAVs stay below 700 AGL and outside of controlled airspace we are legal... today.


    I had some personal stuff come up so I am home early.  When I check my mail, the March Model Aviation had arrived.  The cover story is “Do FAA Regulations Mean Blue Skies or Storms Ahead?”  I guess they went to press before the amendment was introduced.  So I submitted a question about the AMA take.


    More over I think we should take a two prong approach.  1) To setup a special interest group within AMA and 2) form a NCBO for autonomous, semi-autonomous systems, or FPV flow systems.


  • Delete Comment

    Someone commented elsewhere that S.223 is OK because the "Majority Rules".

    As a point of Constitutionality, the Majority does not rule. The majority can not make rules that are unconstitutional for example.

    BTW, everyone forgets the second part  of the famous axiom. "The majorty shall rule only so long as it does not infringe on the rights of the minority."

    Sadly, very few remember the second half.

    What is strange is that the AMA is not even a majority of the recreational flyers. Seems the minority is infringing on the rights of the majority.

  • The only barrier to a successful autonomous hobbyist organization, based on the quoted language, is the VLOS provision.

  • Tried starting another blog post about but it didn't get approved:

    If s.223 (or anything like Inhofe's amendement) passes into law then the FAA could justify banning all AMA clubs from FAA controlled airports and airfields. after the AMA pulled this political stunt I wouldn't blame them.


    Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

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