Rich Hanson >>

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, containing the Special Rule

for Model Aircraft, expired September 30, 2017. Congress has since extended the FAA’s authorization through two separate, continuing resolutions that expire on September 30, 2018. Progress to establish a new bill authorizing future FAA operations has been hindered by a controversial provision aimed at privatizing the Air Traffi c Control system. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, stripped the controversial provision from the bill, allowing work to begin on a new FAA reauthorization bill. As key committees and legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives worked to craft new authorization, AMA’s government relations team worked to ensure that AMA’s Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336) remained in place and intact. Opposition to the Special Rule has risen from several stakeholder groups calling for signifi cant restrictions on model aircraft operations and, in some cases, an outright repeal of Section 336. Most of the opposition stems from misinformation and a misinterpretation of Section 336. AMA’s government relations team was successful in getting a well-crafted amendment to Section 336 into H.R. 4, the House FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. Ultimately, the House passed H.R. 4, which now contains favorable language regarding Section 336. It also contains an amendment (Sandford-Davis) that defi nes who can operate under the Special Rule, establishes the criteria for becoming a CBO (community-based

organization), and tasks the FAA with establishing the means for recognizing CBOs. It also gives the FAA limited authority to promulgate rules necessary for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace that is prohibited under existing law. The House bill contains a second amendment addressing Section 336 that would signifi cantly hinder AMA’s ability to manage the aeromodeling community. Although AMA supports narrowing and redefi ning Section 336, and giving the FAA authority to integrate unmanned aircraft, we are concerned that the alternative language places a burden on the FAA, limits some model aircraft operations, and inhibits AMA’s ability to manage its community. It also creates an untenable workload for the FAA, creates further ambiguity for the recreational community, adds additional burdens for commercial and recreational operations, and could stifl e innovation. The passage of H.R. 4 now pushes the Senate to bring its own bill to the fl oor in time to meet the lawmakers’ goal of passing an FAA reauthorization bill by the August recess. AMA’s government relations team will continue to work with members of Congress and key stakeholders in safeguarding our aeromodeling interests and protecting the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. We are grateful for the support of the thousands of AMA members who contacted Congress to express their concerns and support for the Special Rule. We will need your continued support and involvement as this vital legislation moves through the lawmaking process.

06 PARK PILOT [Summer 2018] >>

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