FAA Registration Link
December 14, 2015
AMA and the FAA Registration Process
Today the FAA announced plans for a model aircraft registration process to begin next week. AMA was a member of the task force that helped develop recommendations for this registration rule and argued throughout the process that registration makes sense at some level but only for those operating outside the guidance of a community-based organization or flying for commercial purposes.
Unfortunately, the new FAA registration rule does not include our advice. The rule is counter to Congress’s intent in the Special Rule for Model Aircraft and makes the registration process an unnecessary burden for all of our members who have been operating safely for decades.
While we are disappointed with the new registration rule and still maintain that AMA members should be exempt from registration, the rule is being implemented over AMA objections. Therefore, we want to provide you with important information about the registration rule and how AMA members can comply with the new federal requirements:
• All aircraft that are flown using a ground control system, such as a transmitter, are required to participate. This includes fixed-wing aircraft, not just multirotors or drones.
• Any pilot flying models weighing between .55 pounds (or 250 grams) and 55 lbs is required to register.
• You will not be required to register every aircraft individually. You only need to register yourself and can affix one registration number to all your aircraft.
• You must mark all aircraft with your registration number. The number can be inside the aircraft, such as a battery hatch – but should not require tools to access.
• The FAA plans to launch the online registration website on Monday, December 21.
• There is a $5 fee to register, which is waived if you register within the first 30 days.
• You only need to register once every 3 years.
We are still working out the logistics for this process. Some details are still being discussed, including:
• We are seriously discussing with the FAA a system where your AMA number could be used as your federal registration number as well. At this point, this is only a proposal and details are not yet finalized.
• At this time, AMA members will not automatically be registered when the registration website launches next week. However, we are in conversations with the FAA about the best way to streamline the registration process for AMA members going forward.
This is an ongoing process and we will continue to provide updates on the registration rule. Stay tuned to modelaircraft.org/gov, social media and your email for the latest news on the registration process.
AMA Government Relations and Advocacy Team
December 17, 2015
Hold Off On Registering
On Wednesday, December 16 the AMA Executive Council unanimously approved an action plan to relieve and further protect our members from unnecessary and burdensome regulations. This plan addresses the recently announced interim rule requiring federal registration of pilots who fly model aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds.
AMA has long used a similar registration system with our members, which we pointed out during the task force deliberations and in private conversations with the FAA. As you are aware, AMA’s safety program instructs all members to place his or her AMA number or name and address on or within their model aircraft, effectively accomplishing the safety and accountability objectives of the interim rule. AMA has also argued that the new registration rule runs counter to Congress’ intent in Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, otherwise known as the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft.”
The Council is considering all legal and political remedies to address this issue. We believe that resolution to the unnecessary federal registration rule for our members rests with AMA’s petition before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. This petition, filed in August 2014, asks the court to review the FAA’s interpretation of the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft.” The central issue is whether the FAA has the authority to expand the definition of aircraft to include model aircraft; thus, allowing the agency to establish new standards and operating criteria to which model aircraft operators have never been subject to in the past.
In promulgating its interim rule for registration earlier this week, the FAA repeatedly stated that model aircraft are aircraft, despite the fact that litigation is pending on this very question. The Council believes the FAA’s reliance on its interpretation of Section 336 for legal authority to compel our members to register warrants the Court’s immediate attention to AMA’s petition.
While we continue to believe that registration makes sense at some threshold and for flyers operating outside of a community-based organization or flying for commercial purposes, we also strongly believe our members are not the problem and should not have to bear the burden of additional regulations. Safety has been the cornerstone of our organization for 80 years and AMA’s members strive to be a part of the solution.
As we proceed with this process, we suggest AMA members hold off on registering their model aircraft with the FAA until advised by the AMA or until February 19, the FAA’s legal deadline for registering.
Holding off on registration will allow AMA time to fully consider all possible options. On a parallel track, it also allows AMA to complete ongoing conversations with the FAA about how best to streamline the registration process for our members.
In the near future, we will also be asking our members to make their voices heard by submitting comments to the FAA’s interim rule on registration. We will follow-up soon with more detailed information on how to do this.
Thank you for your continued support of AMA. We will provide you with more updates as they become available.
The AMA Executive Council
Bob Brown, AMA President
Gary Fitch, AMA Executive Vice President
Andy Argenio, AMA Vice President, District I
Eric Williams, AMA Vice President, District II
Mark Radcliff, AMA Vice President, District III
Jay Marsh, AMA Vice President, District IV
Kris Dixon, AMA Vice President, District V
Randy Cameron, AMA Vice President, District VI
Tim Jesky, AMA Vice President, District VII
Mark Johnston, AMA Vice President, District VIII
Jim Tiller, AMA Vice President, District IX
Lawrence Tougas, AMA Vice President, District X
Chuck Bower, AMA Vice President, District XI