The FAA releases guidance for model aircraft

FAA Logo09-02-15  The FAA released a revised version of 91-57A the advisory circular for model aircraft. The language also applies to sUAS (drones).

This revision reaffirms the FAA’s position that the guidance applies to recreational users. The document contains additional language advising modelers to operate “in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization.” The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is really the only organization that fits this definition so recreational drone pilots are essentially directed to join the AMA and follow their guidelines.

This circular redefines model aircraft to include everything that flies by remote control, regardless how small. It also  advises recreational users to make contact with air traffic control before flying within 5 miles of an airport.  Under his advisory, someone flying a 1 oz micro quad 4.5 miles from an airport must first call and Air traffic Control(ATC) and inform ATC of the operator’s intention to fly. While this example may seem ridiculous I suspect the ATC and the FAA aren’t very interested in micro quads flying below the tree-line. I believe it unlikely the FAA would take enforcement action on a situation like this, however drone operators who fail to notify ATC and generate a complaint are without excuse and subject to enforcement action.

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About Bill Bongle

Bill Bongle is a 29-year police veteran and technology consultant, rising to the rank of Captain before retiring from the Green Bay Police Department in 2015. In 2015 Bill started Titletown Drones LLC, a company which provides drone related training and equipment. He specializes in assisting public safety agencies establish their drone programs. Bill has developed several drone related training courses including part 107 test prep and flight training. Bill has trained hundreds of commercial drone pilots, police officers, firefighters and government officials across the nation.