Last month the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it would require owners of model aircraft to register with the agency by February 19. AMA participated in the task force designed to provide recommendations to the FAA on the registration of small recreational unmanned aircraft, and we urged the FAA to exempt AMA members from registration. AMA also recommended the FAA consider several factors, not just weight, when determining which model aircraft would need to be registered.
Instead of exempting our community, the FAA created an unnecessary burden for our more than 188,000 members who have been flying safely for decades. As you know, AMA members already abide by a voluntary registration system that fulfills the safety and accountability objectives of the federal registration system. We made this point very clear to the FAA and other task force members.
We are exploring all options to alleviate this burden on our members and we are actively engaged in talks with the FAA. For now, the requirement is federal regulation and therefore we must advise all of our members to comply by the February 19 deadline.
We have an existing petition with the US Court of Appeals regarding FAA’s 2014 interpretation of the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft” and we will continue our advocacy work in Washington D.C. Recently, our leadership brought representatives from the FAA to one of our flying fields to witness AMA’s safety protocols, observe club camaraderie and mentoring, and speak with AMA members firsthand about their concerns. In addition, this week AMA staff and the Executive Council will arrive at Capitol Hill to speak to members of Congress and their staffs about the importance of protecting model aviation for future generations.
We will continue to work on behalf of our members, but since a solution to the registration requirement is unlikely by February 19, members should register at www.faa.gov/uas/registration . Once registered pilots will receive a Federal registration number that is to be placed on or within aircraft over 250 grams (0.55 lbs.). Members are encouraged to continue placing their AMA numbers on their aircraft as well. Members only have to register once, they do not have to register each unique aircraft. The FAA requires registration regardless if you fly a multirotor, helicopter, fixed wing, or any other type of radio control model aircraft that uses a ground control system with a communication link, such as a transmitter. You can read more in our Frequently Asked Questions at www.modelaircraft.org/gov.
Thank you for your continued support. Together, we can ensure the future of our hobby.