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As I was sitting here trying to do some research on UAVs I came across the FAA website and started reading for answers to my questions. Questions like why are we being affected? We do not fly autonomously controlled aircraft! Our radio equipment does not have the range to pilot our aircraft more than a mile or maybe two on a perfect day. Then I remembered that at the Joe Nall AMA meeting it was announced that we have finally made some headway in the fight. The proposed rules hopefully will simply separate us from commercial UAV equipment by the simply phrase ” line of sight”. As long as the aircraft remains in the pilots line of sight it will be considered a hobby aircraft. This will fit into the “Know Before You Fly” campaign perfectly!

The FAA website Unmanned Aircraft Systems states that Model Aircraft Operations are as follows and quoted below:


“The FAA has partnered with several industry associations to promote Know Before You Fly, a campaign to educate the public about using unmanned aircraft safely and responsibly. Individuals flying for hobby or recreation are strongly encouraged to follow safety guidelines, which include:

  • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
  • Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
  • Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
  • Don’t fly near people or stadiums
  • Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
  • Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft

The statutory parameters of a model aircraft operation are outlined in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012) (PDF). Individuals who fly within the scope of these parameters do not require permission to operate their UAS; any flight outside these parameters (including any non-hobby, non-recreational operation) requires FAA authorization. For example, using a UAS to take photos for your personal use is recreational; using the same device to take photographs or videos for compensation or sale to another individual would be considered a non-recreational operation.”

Things are definitely looking up for us modelers! Please send comments and questions