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Old 06-24-2014, 05:14 PM   #1
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Default FAA Interpretation of Special Rule for Model Aircraft

The FAA has released it's interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress in the 2012 FAA reauthorization act. As expected, their interpretation is not in our best interests.

You can read it here.

While on the surface it may appear that it only affects FPV pilots, read it carefully and you'll see all aspects of our hobby have the potential to be affected. For example, anyone receiving compensation for doing a demo flight would not be considered a hobbyist.

There will be those that say well, the FAA has no real inforcement arm so I'll just do as I please will be correct until there's an incident or investigation and if considered a "professional" and not a "hobbyist" I would expect a different standard will be applied.

The AMA is reviewing the document and preparing it's response. All of us who have a interest should be doing the same.

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Old 06-24-2014, 05:32 PM   #2
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The Amateur vs Professional Sport industry has been rife with this 'financial interest' aspect for decades ...

A comment was made before about Cash Prizes in Comp's .. well that I cannot believe would be prevented as the person is not EMPLOYED to act in the Comp.
Sponsorship and / or payment for Demo's ... that will usually be down to how it's registered / tax returns made etc. Bit like Gifts to Politicians ?

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Old 06-24-2014, 06:46 PM   #3
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This is not going to sit well with the FPV crowd. They tend to be rebels anyway as we have seen.

I think I need a signature.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:54 PM   #4
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It's the 5 mile rule that bugs me. Both clubs I'm at are within 5 miles of an airport...

"...zzzzz....Tower, this is Xmech2k with my little foam 64mm edf F-35, ready for takeoff at rwy 28, request special zoom-climb takeoff...." "Roger XMech2k, this is the tower. Winds 6 at 290, altimeter two niner niner two, cleared for takeoff. Special zoom climb take off approved..." " Roger, Xmech 2k taking off!..."

All kidding aside, the FAA really nuked us with this one, not even mentioning pre-existing model fields within that 5 mile limit, leaving us to assume the worst. I guess I bug the tower repeatedly. The FAA's rule means they'll have to get our calls, though I suppose they could just be jerks and deny us flight privileges every time we call. I feel like I should hurry and sell all my RC stuff before the the resale value goes to zilch...

Not to mention their interpretation of FPV. ALL model aircraft will be operated in the operators visual line of sight, with corrective lenses being the only aid. Basically, NO fpv. I suppose to remain within the law, one could fpv buddy box and the 'operator' is the guy without the goggles, who just gives control to the guy with the goggles at all times... Fortunately, I'm not an FPV'er, so that's one less bomb for me today.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:03 PM   #5
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Interpretation for FPV could be taken in a very strict manner:

If you are touching the sticks making control inputs to the aircraft you have to be using your eyes, not FPV. You can only do FPV as a passenger, not a pilot.

The wording of the FAA document allows that interpretation.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by xmech2k View Post
It's the 5 mile rule that bugs me. Both clubs I'm at are within 5 miles of an airport...

"...zzzzz....Tower, this is Xmech2k with my little foam 64mm edf F-35, ready for takeoff at rwy 28, request special zoom-climb takeoff...." "Roger XMech2k, this is the tower. Winds 6 at 290, altimeter two niner niner two, cleared for takeoff. Special zoom climb take off approved..." " Roger, Xmech 2k taking off!..."

All kidding aside, the FAA really nuked us with this one, not even mentioning pre-existing model fields within that 5 mile limit, leaving us to assume the worst. I guess I bug the tower repeatedly. The FAA's rule means they'll have to get our calls, though I suppose they could just be jerks and deny us flight privileges every time we call. I feel like I should hurry and sell all my RC stuff before the the resale value goes to zilch...

Not to mention their interpretation of FPV. ALL model aircraft will be operated in the operators visual line of sight, with corrective lenses being the only aid. Basically, NO fpv. I suppose to remain within the law, one could fpv buddy box and the 'operator' is the guy without the goggles, who just gives control to the guy with the goggles at all times... Fortunately, I'm not an FPV'er, so that's one less bomb for me today.
Isn't there already an AMA recommendation of 3 miles from an Airfield ? That you contact them and inform of activity ? Wouldn't the FAA just be taking that and clarifying in Legal standing ?

Personally - I think that representations will be made - hopefully by the FPV crowd getting together and reasoning it out with the FAA etc. instead of the broken up ranting that tends to go on at present. If reasonable presentation made - the case can be won to get FPV recognised and permitted. But it needs good, reasonable effort on their part.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by xmech2k View Post
It's the 5 mile rule that bugs me. Both clubs I'm at are within 5 miles of an airport...

"...zzzzz....Tower, this is Xmech2k with my little foam 64mm edf F-35, ready for takeoff at rwy 28, request special zoom-climb takeoff...." "Roger XMech2k, this is the tower. Winds 6 at 290, altimeter two niner niner two, cleared for takeoff. Special zoom climb take off approved..." " Roger, Xmech 2k taking off!..."

All kidding aside, the FAA really nuked us with this one, not even mentioning pre-existing model fields within that 5 mile limit, leaving us to assume the worst. I guess I bug the tower repeatedly. The FAA's rule means they'll have to get our calls, though I suppose they could just be jerks and deny us flight privileges every time we call. I feel like I should hurry and sell all my RC stuff before the the resale value goes to zilch...

Not to mention their interpretation of FPV. ALL model aircraft will be operated in the operators visual line of sight, with corrective lenses being the only aid. Basically, NO fpv. I suppose to remain within the law, one could fpv buddy box and the 'operator' is the guy without the goggles, who just gives control to the guy with the goggles at all times... Fortunately, I'm not an FPV'er, so that's one less bomb for me today.
It doesnt say your banned from flying within 5 miles. It just says notify the operator or tower.

However, the club will have to abide by the airport operators decision as to how hi you can fly. They could also make you stop, but I doubt that would happen unless the club had been causing problems previously.

We just contacted our local airport tower because our sailplane field is just at the edge of 5 miles depending on where you measure from. The tower operator was very nice and understanding and had no issues with us. However, they could not say exactly where the 5 miles is to be measured from. They are going to check with the local FAA office and get back to us.

Talk to the airport operator. Im sure you can work something out.

I think I need a signature.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:31 PM   #8
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Actually, the ruling against the FPV guys comes from the new Federal Law that told the FAA to back off on hobby RC use.

Unfortunately, congress defined hobby RC flying as 'eye-balls-only line of site' - no goggles, telescopes, binoculars, tv screens etc, etc.

Im sure they didnt intend to ban FPV, but thats how its working out.

I think I need a signature.
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:07 PM   #9
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I would worry - when the feds take a dump it's like a cow with the runs, the s--t keeps spreading out. I believe the old rule was if one was planning on exceeded 400' altitude within 3 miles of an aerodrome they must notify the ATCT. The little park I sneak off to fly when no other groups are there (i.e. soccer, baseball, whatever) is adjacent to an airport, and it is the airport where I work Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting. No problems so far.

Interesting, a Rocket club has use of a farm field which even though it is across the river and many statute miles away the rocket club must post a NOTAM for our airport when they fly since their rockets are cleared to 16,000 feet!
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Larry3215 View Post
It doesnt say your banned from flying within 5 miles. It just says notify the operator or tower.

However, the club will have to abide by the airport operators decision as to how hi you can fly. They could also make you stop, but I doubt that would happen unless the club had been causing problems previously.

We just contacted our local airport tower because our sailplane field is just at the edge of 5 miles depending on where you measure from. The tower operator was very nice and understanding and had no issues with us. However, they could not say exactly where the 5 miles is to be measured from. They are going to check with the local FAA office and get back to us.

Talk to the airport operator. Im sure you can work something out.
I hear ya. At one of the fields I'm a member at we already have a nice agreement where we can call the airport 3 miles away for permission to go above 400', and they are very cooperative. Reading this proposal makes it sound like we'd have to call them for every takeoff. They failed to mention pre-existing hobby RC flying fields within that 5 mile radius, so since it's the government, I assume the worst until I know otherwise. They could care less about the past safety record, the hard work and money put into creating and maintaining those fields. Might as well pave them over and build more shopping malls of small businesses that can't stay in business because of government policies, too. (No, I'm not miffed at the government right now... ) Plus, I'd be concerned that many airports out there, given the option, will just say no, and even make it a 'don't bother calling because we'll just say no anyway' blanket policy, to keep from having to deal with it, and protect themselves from liability. Given the choice, why would they bother? I've yet to check a map and see just how far away from San Diego you'd have to go to find something outside the 5 mile radius of an airport. Oh, does that include hospital heliports and the like?...

I understand there has to be safety, but come on. Pretty soon, we may as well sell all our stuff and just sit around at home and get fat sitting on the sofa watching only the government approved stuff on tv....
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:26 AM   #11
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Ok. Reading it more closely, looks like I may be over reacting. It's the fpv guys in the soup here.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:46 AM   #12
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Is that as the crow flies? From Airport property? Edge of the runway? How is this calculated ? We're in the Class B airspace near DFW:

http://www.mapquest.com/directions#e...af5803b53033de

We're not anywhere near the approach or departures vectors.

The Nanny state? Here it comes !
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by dahawk View Post
Is that as the crow flies? From Airport property? Edge of the runway? How is this calculated ? We're in the Class B airspace near DFW:

http://www.mapquest.com/directions#e...af5803b53033de

We're not anywhere near the approach or departures vectors.

The Nanny state? Here it comes !
Another good question left out by the FAA. Yes. We should begin a campaign against recreational general aviation. I'll bet it's killed way more people than rc.
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:27 AM   #14
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Double post. Oops!
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:34 AM   #15
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I don't fly above 400, but my airport is 3miles away. The restrictions should be towards fpv, not all rc flight. I keep my planes in close range, no where near any planes coming in. As for getting paid, I see nothing wrong with it. It happens with rc cars, drivers are sponsored. When you get into the big cars, 1/8 and larger, they are extremely dangerous, yet no rules are set against them. Even my car, it goes 80mph, and that could cause damage if you aren't careful. What difference does it make if you get paid for it, like competition money.
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:39 AM   #16
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I will let you all know when we hear back from our local airport people.

In the mean time, Id suggest that anyone close to an airport call them up and ask how the 5 mile thing is measured and let us know what you hear.

We may get different answers, but hopefully this will prod someone up the line to make an official decision.

I think I need a signature.
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:45 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by thepiper92 View Post
I don't fly above 400, but my airport is 3miles away. The restrictions should be towards fpv, not all rc flight. I keep my planes in close range, no where near any planes coming in. As for getting paid, I see nothing wrong with it. It happens with rc cars, drivers are sponsored. When you get into the big cars, 1/8 and larger, they are extremely dangerous, yet no rules are set against them. Even my car, it goes 80mph, and that could cause damage if you aren't careful. What difference does it make if you get paid for it, like competition money.
I think its a question of hobby or business activity. Hobbyists are generally allowed to be stupid if they choose while businesses are regulated in almost all areas.

If you are doing something for profit, you are held to a higher standard by most government agencies. They also want their taxes paid and licenses taken out etc.

One of the FAA mandates is to regulate commercial aviation. If you fly RC for profit, you are a commercial opperation and fall into their regulatory area. Thats per congress latest law.

Write your congressman if you dont like it - but I bet he will be thinking of taxes more than your bottom line

I think I need a signature.
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:23 PM   #18
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The AMA's reply to FAA's interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress in the 2012 FAA reauthorization act.

http://goo.gl/oMv2DU

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but rather to skid in sideways totally worn out shouting, Holy Crap... what a ride.
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:24 PM   #19
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Now that I've had a chance to calm down, I see why I got all wound up yesterday. It was the way I learned about this. I subscribe to an aviation maintenance journal, and in their morning news email yesterday was the headline "FAA RESTRICTS DRONES AND MODEL AIRCRAFT WITHIN 5 MILES OF AIRPORTS". Try waking up to that when all your flying places are within that area! Turns out as far as I can tell for AMA fields, things are status quo.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:13 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by xmech2k View Post
Now that I've had a chance to calm down, I see why I got all wound up yesterday. It was the way I learned about this. I subscribe to an aviation maintenance journal, and in their morning news email yesterday was the headline "FAA RESTRICTS DRONES AND MODEL AIRCRAFT WITHIN 5 MILES OF AIRPORTS". Try waking up to that when all your flying places are within that area! Turns out as far as I can tell for AMA fields, things are status quo.
You should not feel bad at all ... as too many jumped quickly before studying the full text.
And don't forget that some people do not actually read the text and docs linked to - they jump on the bandwagon of friends / those they like or because they just like to be contrary to someone they don't like !

It's the Human stage.

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Old 06-25-2014, 04:40 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by simibill View Post
The AMA's reply to FAA's interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress in the 2012 FAA reauthorization act.

http://goo.gl/oMv2DU
I am with Dave on this one. FAA is really in violation of the law. My favorite quote...

“AMA cannot support this rule.” said AMA Executive Director Dave Mathewson. “It is at best ill-conceived and at worst intentionally punitive and retaliatory. The Academy strongly requests the FAA reconsider this action. The AMA will pursue all available recourse to dissuadeenactment of this rule."
Link to AMA doc...

http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/F...retiveRule.pdf

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Old 06-25-2014, 07:16 PM   #22
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Typical government trying to screw the little guys that vote them into the position WE put them into in the first place. I thought it was the right to life ,liberty and the persuit of happiness.
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:09 PM   #23
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No one votes for the FAA employees.... they are political appointees or hired by political appointees.

Once they get in their jobs they have to justify their jobs even existing every year and the way for a regulatory person to do that is to screw the people they are supposed to serve.
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:22 PM   #24
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Welcome to the world those of us still in general aviation struggle through as a way of life. Many have abandoned ship in recent years as it has become too expensive and too much hassle. Much of it has to do with that grand gaggle of bureaucrats known as the FAA.

The general perception of almost every recreational flyer I know is that, the sooner the feds get us annoying little guys out of their hair, the better.

Many modelers have been foolish to test the limits by intruding into the space of the big boys, within regulatory range of bureaucratic meddling. Remember...these guys have nothing to do except regulate and control. If you ask for it, you are likely to get it.

I have a suggestion that will self-regulate the distance issue. Poke out one eye of every RC flyer. I am blind in one eye, and I can assure you...it makes me keep all my models well within a modest range that is not likely to raise the ire of anyone.
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:52 AM   #25
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I have a suggestion that will self-regulate the distance issue. Poke out one eye of every RC flyer. I am blind in one eye, and I can assure you...it makes me keep all my models well within a modest range that is not likely to raise the ire of anyone.[/QUOTE]

I'm good. I'll keep 2 for now.
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