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Zacc Dukowitz

New FAA Reauthorization Act Has Big Implications for Hobbyist Drone Pilots

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The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 was signed into law less than one week ago, on Friday, October 5th, and it contains several drone-related sections.

One of the biggest changes the new Act contains is the repeal of Section 336, otherwise known as the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which means that hobbyists will be looking at some major changes to the requirements for flying a UAS.

Specifically, Section 349 of the new Act "creates a framework for the operation of recreational aircraft including operating requirements, aeronautical knowledge testing, and the qualifications for community-based organizations that support recreational aircraft activities."

So far the FAA hasn't released a great deal of information about what will actually be changed now that Section 336 has been repealed, and it's unclear if a knowledge test will actually be required for those who want to fly recreationally. For a full take on the new Act and what the implications are for hobbyists, check out our recent blog post on the topic.

What do you think of the 336 repeal? Chime in on this thread to share your thoughts.

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20 hours ago, Zacc Dukowitz said:

What do you think of the 336 repeal? Chime in on this thread to share your thoughts.

It will be big change for the traditional RC aero-modeler. These hobbyists have been safely flying radio controlled  planes, gliders and helicopters for decades and I believe that it was these pilots that section 336 was really meant to protect from unnecessary regulation.

Having to register back in December of 2015 was a big deal for these RC aero modelers but at least only the owner/pilot needed to register which was good as most have a large collection of aircraft.  Are they now going to have to register every model that they fly ?.

It will be interesting to see how the FAA implement an aeronautical knowledge and safety test for hobbyists. I see that the bill states that it can be administered by a CBO so I would imagine that the AMA would handle that at least for its members.  

Edited by Spitfire76
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Its hard not to rant abut this sort if thing because quite frankly, it sucks.

Truth has nothing to do with what's happening to the hobbyists and the commercial sUAV market.  On a side note before I start my rant, the lack of understanding at the AMA that the fate of these two constituents are inextricably linked is mind numbing.  

It doesn't matter about the things that @Spitfire76 pointed out, the safety record, history or that the AMA is a CBO.  It also doesn't matter than there have been no deaths attributed to commercial UAV use, there has been only one confirmed midair collision with minor damage, or that when you consider the "estimated" number of commercial drones flying that this is probably one of the safest professions.

The truth is always the first casualty in politics.  What this is, wait, let me adjust my tin hat, is the end of hobbyists RC and sUAS commercial operations.  And the thing that people just refuse to believe is how complicit the AMA, DJI, AirMap, and many others are in the demise of this market segment.  

In their feeble attempts to protect their members "rights" the AMA shot us all in the left foot.  The anemic response by commercial operators shot all of us in the right foot and the along with the manufacturers trying to regulated out the competition the FAA is about to shoot us in the head.  This has all been self inflicted.    

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Only communists pass laws that punish all for the crimes of no one.

The FAA needs to be disbanded and start over, feral fed monkeys are running the circus and need to be rounded up and deported.

Its not possible in polite society to describe the disgusting and vile river of crap flowing from the DC swamp.

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On 10/10/2018 at 11:27 AM, Zacc Dukowitz said:

One of the biggest changes the new Act contains is the repeal of Section 336, otherwise known as the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which means that hobbyists will be looking at some major changes to the requirements for flying a UAS.

An they will be requirements that the operator can't comply with.

From your article "Follow community-based safety guidelines and fly within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization" --- In part 61 the FAA uses "safety" as a catchall that if for no other reason they can discipline you because of their interpretation of "safe."  So what the FAA will likely do now is allow for the creation of other CBOs knowing that these organizations will only work toward the preservation of their own self interest.  This will result in a bunch of pointless court cases that the FAA will lose but nevertheless the result will be that the hobbyists aviator will cease to exist.  

I'm not sure why I write this crap, everyone on this and just about every other UAV forum have resigned themselves to go along with whatever the FAA does.  This is a REAUTHORIZATION ACT, its the mechanism the FAA uses to get the funding for the things in the bill.  It is not the law.  The FAA is still required to go through the NPRM process.  

So the issue is how to make the FAA follow their own NPRM process, clearly the AMA ha not been successful.  I have some ideas but again its kind of pointless to mention them here.  But I will point this out.

In 2015 six companies got together and spent more than a million dollars to go through the 333 process to get a waiver to fly commercially.  I don't think the FAA ever expected anyone to spend that kind of money and call their 333 exemption bluff.  The problem for the FAA was that once they did, those six companies had standing in the process of developing the regulations.  Three of the founders of those companies are good friends of mine and they were having a considerable effect on public opinion .  At first it was great, the FAA openly promoted it, using this as an example of how they were working with industry at the same time they kept raising the requirements for these companies to comply with their 333. It got to the point where they could no longer comply, so they didn't and they kept working.  What do you think happened?    

Nothing.  There wasn't anything the FAA could do, therein lies the problem.  So what was the FAA to do?  The FAA created this process, these six companies complied with it which gave them the standing and credibility to continue, and more companies appeared to be willing to pony up the dollars to get a 333 exemption.  That would have made the situation for the FAA much worse, so what they do?  What would you have done?  

The FAA diluted the gene pool.  They literally posted the original six 333 exemptions online and people almost immediately started cutting, pasting and changing the names of the innocent to apply for the exemption.  Keep in mind that each of the original companies paid more than $200K for these exemptions, I would have thought that it was their intellectual property not the FAA's.  Once that happened the original six companies had no more influence than the people who plagiarized them.

The application for the 333 exemption didn't "lead" to part 107, it "forced" the FAA to issue the NPRM and start the process of making it a rule.  So who's going to force the FAA to start the NPRM on the changes to rule 336/349?  

The AMA?  Not likely, they're too busy sucking up to the FAA holding out hope that the good-ole' boy club will protect them.  Desperation isn't pretty.  

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18 hours ago, Av8Chuck said:

The AMA?  Not likely, they're too busy sucking up to the FAA holding out hope that the good-ole' boy club will protect them.  Desperation isn't pretty.  

Rubbish, these guys have obviously got it all under control

 

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2 hours ago, Spitfire76 said:

rubbish, these guys have obviously got it all under control

The challenge for me is that I have this snarky sarcastic sense of humor that doesn’t always come across the way its intended on forums. It also makes it difficult to interpret when others are doing the same, kind of like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory.

are you being sarcastic or do you think the AMA will be effective?  

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Thanks.  I didn’t want you to think if I commented on it that I didn’t value your opinion. 

Its interesting reading this thread and then watching that video how I hope others can see for themselves why it’s necessary to have an industry trade group but also see how a trade group that spins it’s role in this process, drinks it’s own Koolaid and becomes vertically worthless.  

I only watched the first half, maybe they closed with a zinger!

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On 10/11/2018 at 11:01 AM, Spitfire76 said:

Are they now going to have to register every model that they fly ?.

It will be interesting to see how the FAA implement an aeronautical knowledge and safety test for hobbyists. I see that the bill states that it can be administered by a CBO so I would imagine that the AMA would handle that at least for its members.  

The FAA seems almost suspiciously reticent right now regarding what exactly they're going to down next regarding the 336 repeal—all I've seen is that one statement they've issued, which I quoted in the article, w/ the list of bullet points. It does say that "Register your model aircraft" will be one of the new requirements. So even though they don't specifically call out that this is a new requirement, it does look like hobbyists will have to register each individual drone they fly.

Re: the knowledge test, that wasn't even mentioned in the announcement (nothing on it in the list of bullets). So who knows? Maybe they're overwhelmed by the idea of creating / implementing that so they wanted to leave it off for now . .  . seems like whatever happens there will take a long time to be put in place, if at all, but that's just my guess.

Edited by Zacc Dukowitz

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Figured that I would add this to the thread as its an interview with Michael Huerta, Former Administrator of the FAA, regarding the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.

 

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