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Written by Tony Stillman
Flying Site Coordinator
Monthly AMA News Column
As seen in the April 2016 issue of
Model Aviation.

Registration and Section 336

As you know, AMA has been dealing with FAA issues on behalf of its 185,000-plus members. This effort has taken many twists and turns. Much has happened quickly and it has proven difficult to keep all members informed.
A major problem is for those members who are not on the Internet and/or do not have email capability. Because of the fast-paced movement of these FAA issues, providing timely information to these members is almost impossible! Our best way to share information with them is through Model Aviation. Although this is a great resource, you must remember that quite a bit of time is required to create, print, mail, and deliver this product to you.

Anywhere from 60 to 90 days passes from the start of creating a new issue, until it sits in your mailbox. Because of this lengthy process, news is several weeks old and possibly out of date by the time you receive it. Still, there are some things that we can relate to you that remain current when you read it.

I have a few items that I want to bring to your attention. The first one concerns FAA registration. There is much confusion about the FAA registration and what role clubs and club officers should play in monitoring or enforcing this federal requirement. The AMA policy on this is plain––we are not involved in any way in the enforcement of this registration! That means that neither AMA clubs nor members should concern themselves about someone’s registration situation.

Available for purchase.

These identification labels are available for purchase through the AMA store at Click the image above to be taken directly to the product's listing in the web store.

Our stance has always been that this is a federal issue and one that is between the individual and the federal government. Although we advise our members to follow all laws, it is up to the club to decide if it wants to require that its members be registered.

It is also possible that the landowner may require the fliers to register, so the club might have to ask for this information; however, typically this should not be a requirement. A good analogy is that of your driver’s license. Clubs don’t ask to see your driver’s license when you come to the flying site.

Some have asked, “If I don’t register, will it affect AMA membership and insurance?” No, it won’t! AMA does not ask you for that information when you become a member, nor is it asking for it now. Neither AMA membership nor AMA insurance coverage is dependent on FAA registration!

Now, about your number … “Do I have to put my FAA registration number on my model?” Yes, you do. You also are required to put your AMA number on it. AMA has always required that, so that is nothing new. We were hoping that the FAA would allow AMA members to simply use their AMA numbers, but that has not yet panned out. It might still happen, but right now, the law states that you must have the FAA number on your aircraft.

You can purchase labels from AMA, or create your own.

Video: Labeling Your Aircraft

Tony Stillman explains why labeling is important and provides tips to model owners on how to get the job done.

AMA is working to help members understand the federal law that requires all RC model fliers who operate within 5 miles of an airport to contact the airport and let them know of your activity before flying. This is not a suggestion or a request; it is the law! If you are flying in your backyard, at a park, or at a local club field, you must still let the airport know. If the place you are flying at is a club field, then AMA has been working with club officers on the notification requirements, and has fulfilled or is working on fulfilling, the notification requirements. The club notification would include the activities of the individual club members.

Included is a portion of Section 336 of the Public Law 112-95, FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. While you read through this, remember: this is the law. There are limits to what non-AMA members can do, such as being limited to 55-pound aircraft, unless they are a member of a community-based organization and follow the organization’s safety program and guidelines.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including this subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft, if—
(1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
(2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;
(3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered by a community-based organization;
(4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and
(5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport).

Note that this refers to community-based organizations––the AMA, or a similar organization. What has happened here is that Congress has created a law that allows AMA members to continue to enjoy all modeling disciplines! Our hobby is protected by this law, although the FAA is working to limit us.

It is vital for us to continue working with Congress to make sure that these protections continue when the 2016 Reauthorization Bill is up for a vote. AMA has already spent many hours with House and Senate leaders and will be spending more time there throughout the next few months.

So, take heart. AMA is working for you! This will be a long, difficult road, but we will stick with it. We need your support to continue this fight! When the call comes from AMA to ask you to write a letter or send an email, please be ready to respond. We are counting on you!

—Tony Stillman


Linked to this page specifically to view this video. All that shows on this page is a black rectangle where the video should be. Not particularly helpful. Further, this is exactly the information that should be printed in your monthly publication: not everyone has "online access".

Hi Don! You might want to try updating your browser or using a different browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox.

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