Q: Why did AMA change its position on registration? Why are they telling members to register now?
A: AMA has not changed its position. We continue to be disappointed with the registration rule and believe it is contrary to Congress’s intent within the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which is part of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. We have been working with our legal counsel and the FAA to find a solution for our members on the registration rule. To date, the FAA has agreed in principle to several items that will help ease this process for our members.
However, we want to emphasize that this is not the end of our efforts to protect AMA members from this overreaching regulation. We are continuing to explore all legal and political options available, but these conversations may take time and a definitive solution is unlikely before the February 19 registration deadline. For this reason, we are suggesting that AMA members may wish to take advantage of free registration period, which is available until January 19.
Q: Is the AMA giving up? Why doesn’t the AMA take this matter to court?
A: AMA is by no means giving up. We are resolute in our commitment and will continue to advocate on behalf of our members.. We are continuing to fight for the aeromodelling community and working to protect modelers from unnecessary and burdensome regulation. AMA is exploring several legal options that would address the registration rule as well. These legal strategies will take time to develop and pursue. We ask for your continued loyalty and patience as we work closely with our legal counsel to find the best path forward.
Q: I am already registered through the AMA, why do I have to register twice?
A: We understand the concern of our members and, while the FAA is open to streamlining the registration for our members, unfortunately the technical issues involved will not be resolved before February 19. Therefore, it will be necessary for current AMA members to register separately with the FAA. For future AMA members, we are working on an agreement with the FAA where for new members federal registration will automatically be fulfilled when they join the AMA, thereby creating one simple registration.
Q: Am I permitted to fly above 400 feet? What if I had to check a box saying otherwise on the federal registration website?
A: Yes. AMA members who abide by the AMA Safety Code, which permits flights above 400 feet under appropriate circumstances, and are protected by the Special Rule for Model Aircraft under the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. Checking the box on the federal registration webpage signifies an understanding of the 400 foot guideline. This is an important safety principle that all UAS operators need to be aware of, and is the same guideline established in AC 91-57 published in 1981. However, the placement of this guideline on the FAA website is intended as an educational piece and more specifically intended for those operating outside of AMA’s safey program. We have been in discussions with the FAA about this point and the agency has indicted that it will be updating its website in the next week to make clear that this altitude guideline is not intended to supplant the guidance and safety procedures established in AMA’s safety program.
Q: Do I need to list both my AMA number and my federal registration number on my aircraft?
A: No. AMA members are allowed to continue using their AMA number as the identification number on their aircraft. However, until the AMA registration process is finalized, members are required to have a hard copy or electronic copy of the federal registration certificate on their person while flying.
Q: Do I have to register every aircraft?
A: No. Recreational users are only required to register once. AMA members should use their same AMA number on each aircraft they fly.
Q: Do only drones and multirotor operators need to register?
A: No. Everything that uses a ground-control system with a communications link, such as an RC transmitter that is over 0.55 lbs (or 250 grams) and under 55 lbs. is required to register. This includes operators who fly fixed-wing RC aircraft and helicopters, not just multirotors or drones.
Q: I only fly CL or FF, do I need to register?
A: No. If you exclusively fly FF or CL and never plan on using a model that involves a transmitter, then you do not need to register.
Q: Can I fly my large model aircraft? Turbine jets?
A: Yes. The Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which is part of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, allows AMA members to operate model aircraft over 55 lbs as long as they are operating in accordance with AMA’s Large Model Aircraft safety program. AMA members can also fly turbine jets provided the operator holds a current AMA Turbine Waiver.
Q: Am I permitted to fly first person view (FPV)? Can I fly at night?
A: Yes. AMA members are still protected by the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which is part of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. As long as AMA members continue to follow AMA’s safety guidelines for these activities, they can continue to fly. The guidelines listed on the FAA UAS website do not negate the modeling activities and related safety procedures established in AMA’s community-based safety program.
Q: What happens if I don’t register by February 19?
A: According to the FAA, failure to register an unmanned aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions.
Q: What can I do to help?
A: You can help by making your voice heard with the FAA. Specifically we are asking all AMA members to submit comments on the FAA’s interim rule on registration. The deadline to submit comments is Friday, January 15. More details can be found here.
Q: I do not want to give my credit card information over the internet or have a computer? What should I do?
A: Live phone support from the FAA is available from 7 am to 5 pm Eastern, seven days a week. Phone assistance is available at (844) 244-3565.